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Time To Establish New Eating Habits

Contributed by: NAPSA

(NAPSA) - Drinking a glass of juice is an easy, healthy way for young children to get one of the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables they need every day. And introducing 100 percent juice as a healthy beverage while kids are young and parents have the most control over their eating patterns is a great way to steer children away from soda and other sugary alternatives and toward a lifelong pattern of healthy eating.

Juice, like any food, should be consumed in moderation. In addition, some juices are harder for many kids to digest than others, and pediatricians often point to two factors to explain why: sorbitol, an undigestible sugar alcohol; and an uneven balance of the carbohydrates fructose and glucose.

White grape juice contains no sorbitol and has the proper balance of fructose and glucose. And while several studies have shown white grape juice to be easier for infants and toddlers to digest, digestive concerns involve many school-aged children as well. As many as 10 percent of school-aged children complain of chronic abdominal pain-some of which could be attributed to the type of juice they are drinking.

"Much research has been done on carbohydrate malabsorption in very young children and the scientific consensus is that white grape juice is easier to digest," explains Marvin Ament, M.D., chairman, department of pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine. "Our study looked at a significantly broader population and showed that for some young people, the choice of juice may continue to have medical significance well into the teens."

Ament's research included kids aged 9 months to 18 years who regularly drank more than six ounces of apple juice or pear nectar and were diagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome, functional abdominal pain or chronic, non-specific diarrhea. He and his colleagues found that some or all of these symptoms might be alleviated by drinking white grape juice instead of apple or pear juice.

These days, parents as well as school and day care administrators are looking more closely at what kids are eating and drinking. With all the pressure on kids to make the wrong eating choices, the need to instill healthy eating habits at an early age has never been greater. As part of a balanced diet, 100 percent juice-perhaps 100 percent white grape juice-is a great place to start.


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