School Lunches: It’s Time To Squeeze Out the Fruit Juice.
Sending the kids back to school means it’s time to start packing those lunch boxes again! And when you do, keep in mind that what your children drink can also greatly affect oral health just as much as what they eat.
The scientific evidence is overwhelming that sugar is one of the most damaging dietary factors that cause tooth decay, and that soft drinks are still the largest source of sugar in many children’s diets.
But there are other culprits such as fruit juice even the ones with no added processed sugar. Both pure and concentrated fruit juices can promote tooth decay because of all the types of sugars it contains.
Recently some 200 popular kids products have been surveyed, including fruit juice, juice drinks and smoothies and more than 25 per cent showed to contain more or the same amount of sugar as Coca Cola – A 12-ounce can of regular Coke contains 39 grams of total sugar, which is about 9 1/3 teaspoons of sugar!
Before purchasing products it’s best to read the content labels to make sure that you are not loading your kids up with unnecessary hidden sugars.
Common Names For Sugar – According to Health and Human Services (HHS), added sugars show up on food and drink labels under the following names:
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Brown sugar
- Cane sugar or cane crystals
- Corn sweetener, corn syrup or corn syrup solids
- Crystal dextrose
- Evaporated cane juice
- Fructose sweetener
- Fruit juice concentrates
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Liquid fructose
- Malt syrup
- Maple syrup
- Raw sugar
- White sugar
Other types of sugar you might commonly see on ingredient lists are:
- Fructose – a sugar derived from fruit and vegetables
- Lactose – lactose is milk sugar
- Maltose – is sugar that comes from grain.
Less Common Names For Sugar – According to the not-for profit Food Label Movement; there are almost 100 different names for sugar and sugar alcohols on ingredient lists. Some of the less apparent sugar names are:
- Concentrated fruit juice
- Corn sweetener
- Evaporated cane juice
- Florida crystals
- Malted barley
- Raisin syrup
- Ribose rice syrup
- Rice malt, orrice syrup solids
Five Of The Most Dangerous Artificial Sweetener Are:
- Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste Blue)
- Sucralose (Splenda)
- Acesulfame K (ACE K, Sunette, Equal Spoonful, Sweet One, Sweet ‘n Safe)
- Saccharin (Sweet ‘N Low, Sweet Twin)
- Xylitol, Sorbitol.
Determining Added Sugar Content
On nutrition facts labels, ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. The relative position of sugar – by any of its names – in an ingredients list identifies whether a product contains a lot of sugar or just a small amount. Products that list sugar sources near the top of the ingredient list or have several types of added sugar throughout the list have high-added sugar content.
Here are the recently released new recommendations for children’s natural juice consumption, based on the latest research from around the world – here are some guidelines set out by age:
- Children ages 7yrs and up – no more than 1 cup of pure juice per day.
- Children ages 4-6yrs – no more than ¾ of a cup of pure juice per day.
- Toddler’s ages 1-3yrs – limit to ½ a cup of pure juice per day.
- Babies under age 1, or children of any age with abnormal weight gain – no fruit juice at all.
Again, these guidelines only apply to 100 percent pure and natural fruit juice with no added processed sugar.
So what drink should you pack in your child’s lunchbox or fill their bottles with? Pure filtered water is the best beverage of all. However if your child wants a treat then try giving them full cream, plain, unsweetened milk, almond milk, rice milk or coconut water, all good choices for school-aged kids.
If you have any questions about nutrition and oral health, be sure to ask your dentist.
Because it’s time to think differently about your dental health…