Juice drinks: your questions answered

I remember as a child how exciting it was to get a bright, sticky orange drink. It was a treat and even better if it came with a straw. Nowadays bright, sugary drinks are the ‘norm’. You’ll find a bottle of pop in most houses and diluted squash is the regular drink given to many kids.

As part of the Childhood Obesity Campaign safefood is encouraging parents to give more water and less sugary drinks. This is because research has shown a clear link between drinking sugary drinks and excess weight in children.

a boy drinking a big bottle of waterThis week we launched a chart showing the results of a label survey into the sugar levels in 200ml servings of many popular sugary drinks. It’s really easy to read and I’d encourage parents to take a look at our #drinkographic. I’ll guarantee you’ll get a few surprises.

We have already had a lot of questions from parents about the chart. Here are the top ones:

Does pure fruit juice really contain nearly as much sugar as many fizzy drinks?

Yes it does, but there is a big difference; pure fruit juices contain lots of vitamins but fizzy drinks don’t provide any nourishment beyond the sugar. What’s more a small glass of pure fruit juice will give you one of your ‘five a day’ of fruit and veg.

Are ‘juice drinks’ the same as ‘pure fruit juice’

No. Juice drinks tend to contain small amounts of fruit juice that then have water and sugar added. They should be regarded as an occasional drink and taken with a meal.

I thought that diluted squashes were a better option for my kids? The survey shows some of them have up to 5 cubes of sugar in them even after dilution with water?

There is a lot of variety in the sugar content of these drinks so parents need to be aware by reading the label. Dilute them well and replace some diluted squashes with water every day.

Many parents tell us ‘that’s all fine and well but how do I get the family to change?’ Some practical ideas are:

  • If your family loves soft drinks or other sweetened drinks, reduce them gradually.
  • Start by adding plenty of water to cordials and squashes. Add extra water each time to squashes and cordials to reduce your child’s taste for sweetness.
  • Try to keep sweetened drinks for the weekend.
  • Make water freely available between meals. Water is tastier when it’s cold
  • Put a jug of water in the fridge - Add a slice of lime, lemon or orange to give it flavour and colour.



Posted: 06/12/2013 12:30:55 by Marian O’Reilly
Filed under: Childhood obesity, Drinks, Infographics, Juices, Sugar

About Me

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Marian O’Reilly
Hi, my name is Marian O’Reilly and I’m the Chief Specialist in Nutrition at safefood. My job is varied ranging from nutrition research, working on mass media campaigns to dealing with public queries on healthy eating. I live in Co. Cork with my husband and our one year son. I’m a lover of the outdoors and in my spare time will be found out walking.