In late November of 2011, a study by the Consumer's Union revealed that at least five popular types of store-bought apple and grape juice contained levels of arsenic higher than that which is legally allowed in water supplies. Twelve varieties exceeded the maximum lead content for bottled water. Only 31 varieties were tested from 19 popular brands. As arsenic and lead content is not regulated in juice, this report has prompted most parents to start leaving juice on the shelf, but is it necessary? Is juice unhealthy for toddlers?
The main reason elevated arsenic and lead contamination in juice is a more significant threat to toddlers and young children is because they have smaller bodies. A smaller body requires less contaminate than a large one to see negative health effects. In addition, toddlers are in an important mental and physical developmental stage, which puts them at an increased risk for the more long-term effects of lead or arsenic poisoning. Even that being said, juice itself is not unhealthy in moderation. Juice is good for you. It's the juice contamination that possesses a health threat. For your reference brands that tested above safe levels in arsenic, lead or both included Motts, America's Choice, Apple & Eve, Gerber, Gold Emblem, Great Value, Joe's Kids, Minute Maid, Seneca, Walgreens, and Welch's. Brands that were found within safe levels from the study included Tropicana, Rite Aid Pantry, Nature's Own, Red Jacket Orchards, Juicy Juice, Lucky Leaf, Old Orchard and 365 Everyday Value. Surprisingly, Tree Top was not included in the study.
Keeping a healthy balance
The Consumer's Union also held a parenting poll which found 35% of all children under 5 were drinking too much juice. Juice should not be given to infants under the age of 6 months. From 6 months to 6 years, or the toddler and pre-school years, your child should only drink about 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day -that's about a single sippy cup full. When choosing a juice, check the label to ensure it says, "100% juice." Many brands are tricky and will put something like "100% of your daily vitamin C" on the front, but on the back you'll find 10, 5 or even 3% juice. Juice contains natural sugars on its own, so choosing brands using artificial sweeteners only adds excess sugar to your child's diet.
Other juice health tips for toddlers
-Never give juice in bottles or at bed time, even in a sippy cup.
-You can water down those 4-6 ounces to make your toddler feel as if he or she is getting more juice and add more water to your child's diet in the process.
-Avoid offering drinks about 30 minutes before meals, as they can suppress appetite.
-You can add seltzer water to 100% juice to make soda-like alternatives kids really go for.
Are you drinking less juice due to recent studies finding unsafe arsenic and lead levels?
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