Playing outside in the hot days of summer will work up a thirst. While water is the best quencher of thirst and should be the first choice you offer your children, sometimes it's nice to have a sweeter treat to enjoy. Choosing 100 percent real fruit juice for your children is the best choice and diluting it 50 percent with water is recommended.
When shopping for juices, you may notice that high quality, 100 percent juice is expensive. Many companies offer cheaper juices that taste like the real thing, with as much as 95 percent less of the real stuff. They mimic the taste of real juice by adding artificial flavors and high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a potent sweetener and an unhealthy ingredient. In fact, in the past few years, a mountain of studies provide evidence of a significant link between HCFS and the increases in obesity.
So how does high fructose corn syrup make people fatter? Even though it is sweet like sugar, HFCS is digested much differently. Research shows that HFCS goes directly to the liver, releasing instructions for the body to store fat. This elevates triglyceride (fat in blood) levels and cholesterol levels. It is also believed that HFCS may slow fat burning and cause weight gain. And still other research indicates that it does not stimulate insulin production, which usually creates the body's sense of being full. Therefore, people may eat more than they should. While there is no single cause to the enormous rise in obesity, it is clear to many healthcare professionals that HFCS is part of the problem.
High fructose corn syrup is a very common ingredient in toddler and children foods, and it is especially common in juice and drinks. HFCS is so prevalent in processed foods; you may find it impossible to avoid it. Read ingredient labels carefully to try to limit your family's consumption of this unhealthy ingredient.
By Cheryl Tallman and Joan Ahlers
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