September 17, 2007
Juice Must Have a Great PR Person
Posted by Christine Hurt

How can you be anti-juice?  Commercials with cute kids singing songs about their juice, which looks jummy and sweet through the TV.  But is juice all that great?  Yesterday, the NYT had an article entitled Sugar Finds Its Way Back to the School Cafeteria.  The gist of the article is that Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Co and Cadbury Schweppes were very "shrewd" in voluntarily agreeing to only supply water, low-fat milk and juice to elementary and middle schools and additionally other drinks with less than 66 calories per 8 ounces, light juices and diet sodas to high schools.  The reporter wants us to be outraged that this will open the door to drinks like Gatorade, Propel and Vitaminwater that are "enhanced" with vitamins our kids don't even need!  And of course we all know that (gasp) Coke owns Vitaminwater!!

Why not be outraged about juice?  First of all, (gasp) who owns the juice companies?  Coke owns Minute-Maid, Pepsi owns Tropicana, and Cadbury Schweppes owns Mott's.  Ah, shrewd.  Second, juice is very high-calorie.  If all this whoopla is about preventing obesity in children, then shouldn't we really be worried about calories?  According to the Minute-Maid website, an 11.5 ounce can of grape juice has 180 calories.  That's more than the 140 calories in a can of Coke.  And what nutrients do children get?  100% of Vitamin C.  And that's about it, plus 40 grams of sugar.  Compared to Propel (15 calories per 12 ounces, 3 grams of sugar, 15% of Vitamins C and E, 40% of Niacin and B6), I'd rather my kids drink Propel (which also now comes with calcium).  Vitaminwater has a few more calories (8 ounces has 55 calories, 13 sugars, 40% Vitamin C, 20% of various B vitamins), but it still seems better than juice.  Every pediatrician we've ever known has warned against giving kids, especially older than toddlers, juice.  Many parents I know water down juice, and Mott's has just figured this out and will now sell diluted juice that's part water/part juice

The funniest part of the article was a principal basically saying "jsut put in working cold water fountains."  Our kids go to a school where every student has a water bottle and fills it up with water throughout the day, even at lunch.  Look Ma, no calories!

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