By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook
This breakfast looks healthy enough. You've got outmeal. You've got a carton of plain milk. But what's this? Apple sauce in one corner of the tray, and apple juice in another corner of the tray? Dueling apple products?
The apple sauce is unsweetened. That seems harmless enough. But the apple juice is another reminder that kids are exposed to entirely too much sugar--and especially fructose--on a daily basis. Fruit juice, while we've come to regard it as a healthy food, is actually a potent dose of fructose, which has been implicated as the prime culprit in our current epidemic of childhood obesity and related health problems: type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome.
Among all the foods served in school, fructose stands apart for the potency of its ability to make kids fat and trigger a host of medical problems. Juice, while cheap and easy, represents nothing more than the sugary essence of actual fruit. Schools should probably just stop serving it altogether and focus on whole fruits, which contain much less sugar and more beneficial fiber.
With sodas, sugary chocolate milk and fruit juice, kids are swilling their way into a world of lifelong health problems. It's now estimated than adolescents on average consume more than 72 grams of fructose each day. That's the equivalent of 18 teaspoons worth.
We should just say no to fructose.
10 months ago