Ever since Dr. Oz’s show on the arsenic content in apple juice, everybody’s talking about the dangers of this sweet fruit juice. But it’s not the trace amount of arsenic that we should be worried about — it’s the sugar and calories.
Did you know a glass of apple juice — or orange or grape juice — contains more sugar and calories than a similar serving of Coke? A glass of juice a day won’t keep your doctor or dentist away. Too much juice can increase your child’s risk of obesity and diabetes, as well as rot their teeth.
Kids drink about one third of all the apple juice in this country and, lo and behold, one in three kids are either overweight or obese. And guess what? Fat kids become fat adults, with all its consequences, including premature death — anywhere from three to 20 years early — diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and cancer. It's no surprise that nutritionists recommend children only drink four ounces of juice a day.
While we’ve made great strides in curbing another scourge to society — cigarette smoking — obesity rates continue to grow at an alarming rate. Given current trends, the latest studies predict that half of Americans will be obese by 2030, resulting in $500 billion in healthcare costs (and lost productivity). If we are going to make any headway in preventing this disease, we must target the country’s youngest and increasingly heaviest citizens — children. The earlier we catch a weight problem, the easier it will be for our child to change and the less damage the weight will cause on his or her body.
Sometimes it seems that parents are clueless about their kids’ weight problems. If we are going to solve this problem, we must recognize that obesity is a chronic disease that will negatively affect your kids’ lives! There’s nothing cute about baby fat and it doesn’t necessarily just disappear as they get older.
One survey by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City shows that more parents would find it “very important” to seek medical care for a child with diabetes symptoms (81%), asthma (80%) or a learning disability (74%), but when it comes to their kid’s weight, only 54% of parents feel the same way! And, nearly all parents would seek medical help for an illness that would limit their child’s life expectance (94%) or impact their future healthcare costs (94%).
Parents shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for this blasé attitude towards their kids’ weight — pediatricians also bare some responsibility. In another survey, parents of children who were either overweight or obese were asked whether their doctor ever told them that their child was overweight. Only 22% reported they had been told.
Docs: parents may be more motivated to follow healthy eating and lifestyle advice if they knew their kids were overweight. What are you waiting for? After all, this is a life and death situation; this is not the time to hold back.
Parents: like anything else, moderation is key. There’s nothing wrong with four ounces of juice a day. The problem is with the toddler who bathes her teeth in 12 ounces or more of the sugary substance. Try substituting water or low-fat milk.
The miniscule amounts of arsenic is not the problem with apple juice. But if it takes obsessing over arsenic for parents to reduce their kids’ consumption, then Dr. Oz did a good thing.