Five a Day does not include Juice

FOOD AND FITNESS MATTERS WITH TARA

Healthy eating includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Stop the juice abuse

Stop the juice abuse

The Dole 5 A Day Program was created to promote the consumption of a minimum five servings of fruits and vegetables a day for school -aged children. This take home information has been available on the island for schools since 1998, and has enrolled and educated over 4000 students on the need to eat fruits and vegetables daily.

So what about juice? Well the children are taught about serving sizes, colours for vitamin content, vitamins A&C, and fibre, and they get to answer that question for themselves.

Where is fibre found? Insoluble fibre is found in the skins, seeds, and stalks of fruits and vegetables. This type of fibre is not broken down by the body and as such plays an important role in cleaning the internal system. Fibre also lowers risk and maybe helpful for the treatment off many illnesses like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gastrointestinal illness’ and more. Fibre requirements are easily met if the necessary amounts of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grain servings, are eaten each day. As for juice there is very little if any fibre as the skins, seeds and stalks are removed to provide only the liquid portion or juice. This is also assuming that we are talking about 100% real fruit juice and not types from concentrate or drinks made from a fraction of real juice.

Are all juices equal? No. Check the label. Fruit flavour in a juice doesn’t mean fruit nutrition. The label “100% fruit juice” is the key to getting fruit nutrition. Beverages labelled fruit drink, fruit cocktail, or fruitade may contain added sugars, which often replace fruit nutrition. These added sugars might also increase the calories. As well added colours may pose problems for sensitive individuals especially children. Also pasteurization of fresh juices is suggested for those people who are immunologically challenged, pregnant, and/or infants.

What about the fortification of juices? Another healthful choice is beverages that have added nutrition. Often these beverages have the same amount of particular vitamins as juices. At the same time these nutrition-enhanced fruit beverages may not contain other important vitamins and minerals, so include them as part of you fruit juice routine, not as a substitute.

The key is to check the label to get the product you’re looking for. Calcium fortified juices are also better for lessening gum erosion. It is still important, especially for children, that juice consumption is kept until the time of day that teeth can be brushed. Sugar left on teeth is proven to cause a promotion for tooth decay, so always brush after you drink juice.

Juice should make up a maximum of one serving of fruit and vegetable each day. The other servings should be solid fibre containing forms. As well hydration requirements can be fulfilled with water, milk, or dairy substitutes. Drink juice that offers the most nutritional benefit versus just coloured-sugar-water with fancy characters that appeal to your children. Stop the juice abuse and promote dental health through better nutrition principals.

Tara welcomes questions in relation to nutrition and exercise, to be answered in the weekly column ‘Food and Fitness Matters’. If you have a question please email it to [email protected]

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