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Equal access for fruit juice

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Equal access for fruit juice

Fruit juice, low kilojoule milk and water need to be as accessible as soft drinks, says Suzi Penny, a nutritional biochemist at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health.

She welcomes the move by drink manufacturers to voluntarily withdraw soft drinks and drinks with added sugar from secondary schools.

However she is not in favour of a ban on sugary drinks but says it’s important that healthy alternatives are readily available.

“While it’s great to get sugar-laden fizzy and energy drinks out of schools, children need equal access to healthier choices like fruit juice, milk and water."

Soft drinks are empty food, with no nutrients, she says.

“Life is a performance, and you cannot perform well on empty foods. Filling up with artificially flavoured and coloured drinks may satisfy the senses, but it is like cheating your body.

“Though fruit juices can be high in kilojoules, they also provide other nutrients. In fact, you are better off having an orange."

She is not in favour of banning unhealthy choices, but of setting limits on their marketing and promotion.

“It’s not about being a nanny state, that can be counter-productive. It’s about education and promoting healthy choices."

Flavoured drinks should be seen as ‘treat’ beverages rather than as dietary staple drinks.

ENDS

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