I attended a few cookouts and kids birthday parties over the summer. And, at every one of them, I saw a way too familiar scene – Kids walking around drinking colored liquid out of little plastic barrels. These little barrels, affectionately known as Little Hugs, are a product of the American Beverage Corporation. They have managed to find their way into the hands and mouths of children since 1974, and according the company’s web site, the fruit drinks are still their top seller. Notice, that I still have not referred to them as juice. Parents… Fruit Drink is not Fruit Juice! Yes, they are kid-sized and kid-friendly, but they are no better for the kids than soda or candy. Whatever the reason is for buying the Hugs, rethink it.
Below is an ingredient comparison between a can of Coke and a Little Hug:
Coke: Carbonated Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Caramel Color, Phosphoric Acid, Natural Flavors, Caffeine
Little Hug: Water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium polyphosphates, artificial flavors
Did you notice that you didn’t see fruit or juice in the ingredient list for the little hugs? As you see, there is very little difference between soda and the fruit-flavored drink. This is not just an attack on Little Hugs. Be on the lookout for all fruit-flavored-drink. Let’s not forget about the Capri Sun “drink pouches” – not good, either… At your next cookout or birthday party, let’s really do the kids a favor and leave the Little Hugs in the store. Instead, only buy kid-sized drinks that are 100% juice. Capri Sun has some 100% Juice items, and Juicy Juice has 100% juice “juice boxes”. Those are better options. But, before you start loading your kids up with 100% fruit juice, be careful. Yes, they are fruit juices, but they also contain sugar. So, limit the juice intake, and give the kids some water.
Let’s show a little concern for the health of our children. Stop buying the fruit flavored drinks and buy them juice and water. So… the next time you give your child a hug, make sure it’s the kind using your arms.
David E. Cox, ACE-CPT, is a personal trainer that has dedicated his life to helping to improve the lives of others through exercise and healthy living. He is owner of Positive Vibes Fitness, a private personal training studio in Glen Burnie, MD where we educates, motivates, and inspires people from all walks of life. Be sure and sign up for his monthly eNewsletter, The Vibe, at www.positivevibesfitness.com