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The reason you should avoid giving juices to your children – Mirna Sabbagh, nutritionist, dietitian, and IBCLC at myPediaclinic, voted best pediatric clinic in Dubai

Juices are very popular among children and parents believe it’s a healthy option in comparison to other drinks. Mirna Sabbagh, nutritionist, Dietitian and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) at myPediaclinic (Voted best pediatric clinic in Dubai) discusses why having whole fruits is better than having fruit juice, in addition to tips on choosing the best juice if need be. Towards the end of the post, you can watch Mirna’s interview on Al-Arabiya discussing nutritional value of different fruits.

Is having juice similar to having a fruit?

To make one cup of orange juice at home, you would need 2 oranges or perhaps 3 oranges. What this means is a cup of juice (240 ml) has double or triple the calories than one fruit (60 kcal per fruit). However, the bigger and more importance difference is that fruit juice does not have the fibers found in fruits.

What is the value of the fiber in fruits that is not found in fruit juice?

Fiber is one of the most important elements of nutrition. Every person needs around 25 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is what makes us feel full. A long time ago, none would have consume any food without fiber. However with the food technology all we eat is now low in fibers and is highly processed which is why we eat double or triple the amounts the past generations ate. You can think of this like, what would make you fuller 1/2 a cup of rice, or 3 cups of broccoli? They both have the same calories but 3 cups of broccoli would make you feel much fuller due to the fibers.

Not only do fibers make us feel full, but we also need them to hold on to the sugar in our stomachs so it can be absorbed normally. When we eat foods that are void of fibers, the food gets absorbed too quickly making us feel hungry 30 minutes later, and causing a rise and dip in blood glucose levels. Children love juice because its so condensed in sugar, but you will often notice that most children get too hyper after have fruit juice or any easily digested sugar. Finally, fibers are needed in our body for optimal blood cholestrol bodies.

Fibers are the main reason fruits and better than fruit juices.

Are some fruit juices better than others?

Absolutely not, juices at the supermarket come in a wide array of ingredients. Some will only contain juiced fruits. Others will contain so much added white sugar that was never in the fruit, and others will contain no fruit at all and it will only be fruit flavors. When shopping at the supermarket, look for labels thats say “Fruit Juice” and not “Fruit Drink” also always look for “No added sugar”. Do not be tricked when you read “Natural sugar” because the white table sugar is considered natural, but is definitely not healthy.

Also when ordering fruit juice at a restaurant, ask for no added sugar.

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Find below Mirna Sabbagh, nutritionist, Dietitian and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) at myPediaclinic (Voted best pediatric clinic in Dubai)  discuss this topic on Sabah Al Arabiya on Al-Arabiya channel.

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