Many health-conscious parents pride themselves on feeding their children fruit drinks that contain no added sugar. But a new study may leave these moms and dads with a bitter taste in their mouth. Researchers reporting in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics (2005; 115 , e223–29) say that even all-natural fruit juices appear to raise a child’s risk of obesity in the future.
While superior to sweetened beverages, fruit juice is considered an inferior source of vitamins, fiber and other nutrients compared to plain old fruit. That’s why the new U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that parents feed their kids whole fruits rather than fruit juices—even if the latter are “fortified” with vitamins.
“Reducing sweet-drink consumption might be one strategy to manage the weight of preschool children,” concluded the authors of the Pediatrics study.