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Sugar warning for smoothies and juices

Wednesday, 13 April 2016  |  Editor

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Sugar and children's health

A survey released by campaigning group Action on Sugar has revealed how smoothies and fruit juices aimed at children are packed with sugar and are doing more harm than good for children’s health.

The study conducted last year showed how over a quarter of the fruit drinks tested contained more sugar than a can of Coca-Cola – a whopping 5 teaspoons per 200ml glassful!

With childhood tooth decay, obesity and diabetes on the increase in the UK, the current advice to include fruit juices and smoothies as part of the ‘5 a day’ fruit and vegetable intake is being slammed as misguided and unhelpful.

Action on Sugar is urging parents to give children water to drink and whole fruit to eat rather than relying on concentrated juices and smoothies, and is also campaigning for manufacturers to stop aiming these drinks at children and stop including unnecessary additional sugars in their formulations.

Kawther Hashem, nutritionist at Action on Sugar said “It is highly concerning that many parents are still buying fruit juices and juice drinks for their children thinking they are choosing healthy products; children should be given as little juice as possible. What is more concerning are the products with added sugar and glucose-fructose syrup. We call on all manufacturers to stop adding more sugars to already sweet juices, particularly in children’s products.”

A far healthier option is to make smoothies at home and combine whole fruit with milk, nut milk or water and ground almonds or flaxseeds.  The protein and fibre in the nuts and seeds helps slow the release of fruit sugars into the bloodstream thereby avoiding any nasty spikes in sugar levels.

Freshly pressed juices can be made using 1 or 2 pieces of fruit and a selection of green vegetables, then drunk alongside a meal or balanced snack; again, this avoids unhealthy sudden rises in blood sugar levels.