General Health & Wellness • Nov 30, 2011

Arsenic and Apple Juice

 If you believe the adage ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ then by extension, shouldn’t apple juice do the same thing?  The FDA dismissed a recent report by TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz, which pointed to dangerous levels of arsenic in the apple juice our kids drink, calling it irresponsible because it failed to distinguish between organic arsenic, which is harmless, and inorganic arsenic, which can cause cancer.

Perhaps there were some seeds of truth.  Consumer Reports just released its own probe into the controversy and it turns out, claims of elevated arsenic may not be so fruitless after all.

The report reveals that, in 10% of the samples tested, apple and grape juice contained levels of inorganic, or cancer-causing arsenic, higher than the levels considered safe by the FDA for drinking water.  But what’s the appropriate level for juice? At this point in time, there is no official data.

It stands to reason that safe levels should be lowest in water, because we consume more water than anything else. So while it may not be time to panic just yet, this report does provide yet another reason for parents to evaluate the amount of juice they’re feeding their kids.

Medical experts recommend limiting your child’s juice consumption to 4 ounces or less a day. Check the labels on those juice boxes because many of them exceed the daily recommendation in just one serving.

Juice lacks the nutrients and fiber of real fruit, and it contains a lot of added sugar and calories. And add to that now the uncertainty over safe levels of arsenic.  (Is any arsenic really safe?)

As a physician and mother of three, I recommend feeding your children actual fruit and vegetables to meet the daily recommendations of 5 fruits and veggies a day.

Drinking one glass of juice probably won’t hurt your child, but you can’t go wrong by limiting the amount you serve, and replacing it with a healthier alternative.

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