Call to banish fruit juice from recommended five a day

Call to banish fruit juice from recommended five a day

Action on Sugar found many children's juices contain at least six teaspoons of sugar - more than cola - and come in cartons larger than recommended. Official advice currently says a 150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice counts towards your five a dayOther juice drinks, such as squash and sweetened juice, do not.

A smoothie containing all the edible pulped fruit or vegetable may count as more than one five-a-day portion, but this depends on the quantity of fruits or vegetables or juice used, as well as how the smoothie has been made.

Action on Sugar says the guidelines are baffling. But Public Health England says the advice is sound and that consuming five or more portions a day helps reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.

Nutritionist Kawther Hashem said: "Parents do not always understand the difference between a juice drink and a fruit juice. And most cartons come in 200ml or more.

"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."

She said juice should be an occasional treat, not an everyday drink. This is something that has been echoed by government adviser and Oxford professor Susan Jebb. She is concerned about parents using fruit juice as "routine rehydration" for their children.

"Water is the best way to get the fluid that we need in the diet," she says.

Sugars are released from fruit when it is juiced or blended, and these sugars can cause damage to teeth and contribute to weight gain. Added sugars shouldn't make up more than 10% of the energy (calorie intake) you get from food and drink each day - or about 12 teaspoons - according to government guidelines. It's not clear how much children should have.

The World Health Organization recently issued guidelines suggesting that cutting the amount of sugar we eat from the current recommended limit of 10% of daily energy intake to 5% would be beneficial. The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) said fruit juice consumption in the UK equated to an average of just 45ml per person per day - accounting for 1% of the calories in the average British diet.

"Given government figures show that the vast majority of adults and children are not getting their recommended five fruit and veg a day it is unfortunate this survey omits to mention the established health benefits of fruit juice, such as vitamin C," BSDA director-general Gavin Partington said.

Dr Alison Tedstone, of Public Health England, said: "Fruit juice is a useful contribution towards our five a day, however, because the process of juicing releases sugars from the fruit we recommend that you try to limit your fruit juice to 150ml a day, including that from smoothies and only consume these and other sugary drinks with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay."

By Michelle Roberts,


BBC News, Tuesday 11th November 2014

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