Researchers from the University of Liverpool and colleagues from Action on Sugar have assessed the sugar content of over 200 fruit drinks marketed at children and have found them to be "unacceptably high."
Almost half the products assessed contained 19g or the equivalent to five teaspoons of sugar which is a child’s entire daily recommended maximum sugar intake. To be honest, even the maximum recommended amount seems to be too much.
The researches assessed the sugar content of 200ml UK branded and supermarket own label beverages labeled as - fruit juice drinks, 100% natural juices, and smoothies marketed specifically to children.
Maximum sugar intake in one drink
'Free' sugars were measured using the labels on the packaging. The sugars taken into account were the likes of glucose, fructose, sucrose, and table sugar, which are added by the manufacturer, and naturally occurring sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates, but not the naturally occurring sugars found in whole fruits and vegetables, which the body metabolises differently and which act to curb energy intake.
The results highlighted wide variations in the amount of free sugars between different types of drink and within the same type of product.
Almost half the products assessed contained at least a child's entire daily recommended maximum sugar intake of 19g or five teaspoons, show the findings.
These come ahead of the publication of the UK government's childhood obesity strategy.
Smoothies are worst offenders…
With an increase in public awareness regarding the detrimental effects of sugar sweetened drinks on children’s teeth and waistlines has encouraged many parents to opt for seemingly healthier fruit juice and smoothie alternatives.
Unfortunately, according to the research, these parents have been mislead !
The content of sugar in fruit drinks, including natural fruit juices and smoothies tested, is unacceptably high. Surprisingly smoothies are amongst the worst offenders.
The product labels contained a reference of the intake which is line with European law, BUT this figure applies to an active average sized grown woman ! So it is absolutely inappropriate for children.
Unnecessary amounts of sugar
As a result of the findings, the researchers make several recommendations:
Professor Capewell from the researcher’s team stated that: "Manufacturers should stop adding unnecessary amounts of sugars, and therefore calories, to their fruit drink/juice/smoothie products. Our kids are being harmed for the sake of industry profits. If companies can't slash sugar voluntarily, the government should step in with statutory regulations."
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !