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JUICE IS NOT A HEALTH FOOD

Informercials for a juice machine make ridiculous claims that the machine provides juice that is more healthful than fruit or vegetables. The spokesperson has a right to free speech, but much that he claims is nonsense. Juicers that discard pulp remove much of the fiber, along with vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. If you like juice, use a blender to make "smoothies" that do not throw away any of the fruits or vegetables.

Diabetics should not drink fruit juices as they contain the same concentration of sugar as Coca Cola and other soft drinks and raise blood sugar as high to cause the same amount of cellular damage. All sugared drinks contain between 6 and 10 percent sugar because that's the concentration of sugar in a drink that tastes best. When sugar concentration is less or more than that, a drink tastes awful. Frozen drinks may contain 15 percent sugar because extreme cold dulls taste buds. Melted ice cream tastes awful because it's too sweet as a liquid.

The Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics states that fruit juices offer no particular health benefits and are certainly less healthful than fruit. The Committee states that:

*Fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit for infants younger than 6 months and therefore should not be introduced into their diet.

* fruit juice offers no nutritional benefits over whole fruit for older infants and children.

*Excessive juice consumption may be associated with malnutrition (overnutrition and undernutrition), diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal distention, and tooth decay.

*Infants should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable covered cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. Infants should not be given juice at bedtime.

*Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 oz/day for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 oz or 2 servings per day.

*Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits to meet their recommended daily fruit intake.

Pediatrics 107:1210-1213, 2001

Checked 5/3/07

June 1st, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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