Weight Gain For Children – It’s All in the Juice Box

There is no such thing as “hidden calories.” Just look at the nutrition label and you will see in seconds the number of calories, carbs, sugar, protein and fat. The Juice Boxes: 100% Natural Juice and Filled with Calorie and Sugar and can add hundreds of calories a day that are not needed and easily replaced with zero calorie and zero sugar alternatives.

Natural” Fruits Juices are NOT Natural:

Orange juice, grape juice or apple juice whether you squeeze it or Tropicana or Motts squeezes it are not “natural.” Quarts of orange juice or apples do not grow on trees nor do boxes of grape juice grow on vines. It’s the fruit itself that is”natural” and healthy. Squeezing and manipulating the fruit only removes the protective fibers making absorption from the stomach even faster. What you end up with is a highly palatable, convenient and inexpensive drink that has hundreds of extra calories. Coincident with the rise in childhood obesity was the movement of fruit juices from purely breakfast drinks to all day drinks. Children pick up a box of juice as they might pick up and drink a glass of water.

Fruit juice has become the drink of choice for many young children replacing milk and water.

Juice boxes are everywhere-at home, schools, daycare and of course, the vending machines. Juice is being aggressively marketed as a ‘wholesome drink for growing bodies’. It’s the new milk. Packaged in small easy to hold boxes with their own straw they can be carried everywhere. With labels saying how healthy they are and with tastes designed to entice, no wonder there is such a problem. Drinking fruit juices, especially the citrus ones cause rapid rises and falls in blood sugar and need for more and more sugar. Fruit juice contains no fiber and kids that drink them regularly rarely drink water. Not all fruit juices are 100% juice. Some contain high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners as well as artificial colors and preservatives. Most juice boxes have 100 calories and 20 grams of sugar. A child drinking just one juice box a day, similar to soft drinks or sports drinks, will gain 10 lb. in a year if it represents excess calories. Almost no children reduce calories during the day to make up for the added calories of the juice. They quickly become a source of extra calories that were never needed in the first place.

There are “NO Hidden Calories in Beverages:

Calories in drinks are not hidden they’re listed right on the Nutrition Facts label, but many people don’t realize just how many calories beverages can contribute to their daily intake. As you can see in the example below, calories from drinks can really add up. However, the good news is that there area a lot of zero calorie or near zero calorie alternatives. Check the list below to estimate how many calories your children and teens are adding from these drinks:

Calories in 12 and 20 oz. of Sugary Beverages

Type of Beverage

Fruit punch ———– 192 —– 320

100% apple juice — 192 ——300

100% orange juice – 168 —–280

Lemonade – ———–168 —–280

Regular lemon/lime soda – 148 —247

Regular cola – ——————136 —227

Sweetened lemon iced tea – 135– 225

Regular ginger ale ———— 124 –207

Sports drink – ——————–99 —-165

Fitness water- ——————18—— 36

Unsweetened iced tea – ——-2 ——–3

Diet soda (with aspartame)— 0*——– 0*

Carbonated water (unsweetened)- 0—- 0

Water ————————————— 0 —-0

*Some diet soft drinks can contain a small number of calories that are not listed on the nutrition facts label.

( USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference)

Consequence of a single 100-130 calorie drink every day for a year:

Remember that 100 calories a day of any food or beverage adds 10 lbs. weight gain over a year. Combine the calories with all of the sugar in a tasty beverage and you have a disaster to adults, children and teen’s waist line: An extra 100 calories a day translates into a 2 inch increase in waist diameter. Each 2 inches increases obesity related complications by 17%

Normal child and teen weight gain:

With over 33% of children and teens overweight, and 14% actually obese, the extra calories in some of these drinks becomes crucial in reducing childhood obesity. If you look at the tables showing the normal growth and height of children from 6 to 16 years of age, you will see that it is normal of a child to gain about 10 lbs. a year.Adding just a single juice box, a day doubles the weight gain to 20 lb. a year.

No additional weight gain may be the goal:

The concept for many families is not always to look for weight loss in growing children, just an end to extra weight gain may be good enough for some. For others, one needs to simply bring down the yearly weight gain to zero. Very few children and teens actually need to reduce their weight by significant numbers.

The ideal plan is to let normal growth and development result in the overweight child achieving normal weight in a year or two and the normal weight overeating child to remain normal.