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Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices

Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices

Nearly half of 45 fruit juices tested had elevated levels of heavy metals, which can pose health risks for children and adults, Consumer Reports has found.

Juices: The Best and Worst for Your Health

Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
What’s In Your Glass?Who doesn’t enjoy a tall, cool glass of juice? The color is vibrant, the taste sweet, and it’s good for you, too. Not so fast, say some dietitians. Although the best kinds of juice give you some nutrients, the worst are hardly better than liquid candy. You just need to know the difference.
Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
Best Choice: Vegetable JuiceDrinking your veggies is convenient and good for you. The lycopene in tomato juice may help lower the risk of prostate cancer. Beet juice may help curb blood pressure. Pulpy vegetable juice has some fiber (but not as much as raw vegetables); and fiber cuts hunger. You also get far less sugar and fewer calories than in the typical fruit juice. Check the sodium, though, or choose a low-salt version.
Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
Worst Choice: Juice ‘Cocktails’Be on alert for the terms juice cocktail, juice-flavored beverage, and juice drink. Most of these products have only small amounts of real juice. Their main ingredients are usually water, small amounts of juice, and some type of sweetener, such as high-fructose corn syrup. Nutritionally, these drinks are similar to most soft drinks: rich in sugar and calories, but low in nutrients. Water is a better choice.
Comparison of glass of apple juice with candy bar
The 100% Fruit Juice DilemmaWhat about pure fruit juice with no added sweeteners? It’s true that 100% fruit juice is a good source of nutrients like vitamin C and potassium. The problem is that too much juice can be an extra source of sugar and calories. Juice also doesn’t contain the same fiber and phytonutrients that raw fruits have. That’s why many experts recommend sticking to one juice serving per day.
Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
Good Choice: Pomegranate JuiceIf you’re only going to drink one glass of juice each day, you want to make it a good one. So get to know which juices offer the biggest nutritional payoff per sip. Pomegranate juice tops the list. It’s high in sugar and calories, but gives you a lot of good-for-you nutrients called antioxidants. In fact, pomegranate juice’s antioxidant power is greater than red wine or green tea.
Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
Good Choice: Cranberry JuiceCranberry juice is packed with vitamin C, which your immune system needs. Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice may also help prevent the buildup of bacteria that cause urinary tract infections.
Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
Good Choice: Acai Berry JuiceAcai juice is made from a berry found in South America. Acai pulp appears to have a higher concentration of antioxidants than cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, or blueberries.
Heavy Metals Found in Popular Fruit Juices
Good Choice: Red Grape JuiceYou’ve probably heard that red wine, in moderation, can be good for the heart. The same is true of red grape juice. Red grape juice has flavonoids and resveratrol. The key is that red wine and juice are made with the entire grape: seeds, skin, and all. But you’re not getting the fiber that you would from the fruit itself.
Bowl of prunes
Good Choice: Prune JuicePeople have long used prune juice to relieve constipation. It works because it’s a good source of fiber and contains a natural laxative called sorbitol. But the benefits of prune juice don’t stop there. The juice is also packed with antioxidants, iron, and potassium.
Wedge of orange in front of glass
What About Orange Juice?The good news is orange juice is loaded with vitamin C. Some brands are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are good for your bones. Unsweetened orange juice has fewer calories than some berry juices or grape juice. The trade-off is that it also has fewer antioxidants than darker juices like grape, blueberry, and pomegranate.
Girl drinking orange juice
Kids and JuiceMost children love juice, but don’t give them too much. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 4 to 6 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day for kids younger than 6, and 8-12 ounces for ages 7 to 18.
Pouring juice from bottle into water glass
Water It DownIf you or your kids crave more than a single cup of juice per day, water it down. By mixing water or sparkling water with juice, you slash the calories in every serving. Instead of drinking one glass of pure juice, you can enjoy 2 or 3 cups of the water-juice mixture throughout the day.
Orange slice and strawberries in tray
Go for Whole FruitDietitians say a great alternative to drinking a lot of fruit juice is to eat the whole fruit. You’ll get all the nutrients that are in the fruit’s flesh and pulp, and the fiber will help you feel full and tame your hunger.

Reviewed by Christine Mikstas on 5/29/2018

“In some cases, drinking just 4 ounces a day — or half a cup — is enough to raise concern,” James Dickerson, PhD, chief scientific officer for CR, says in the report.

If anything, the results simply reinforce existing concerns about fruit juices.

“I don’t think we need to say you can’t give your kids any juice,” says Steven Abrams, MD, a professor of pediatrics at Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin. But, he says, “juice is not a product that is intrinsically healthy for children.” He co-authored the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines on juice, which set limits by age.

Meanwhile, juice producers say the report needlessly alarms consumers.

How Was the Testing Done?

Consumer Reports experts tested 45 juices made by 24 brands, including well-known and lesser-known brands such as Gerber, Minute Maid, Mott’s, Great Value from Walmart, Clover Valley from Dollar General, and Big Win from Rite Aid. Those tested included organic products, too, as well as store brands from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s

They focused on levels of cadmium, lead, mercury, and inorganic arsenic, saying that these elements pose some of the greatest risks and that research has found they are common in food and drink. The juices tested were apple, fruit blends, grape, and pear.

The new testing was done as a follow-up to a study in 2011, when CR found elevated levels of inorganic arsenic and lead in apple and grape juices. The new evaluation was done to see if there’s been improvement, to test other juices, and to test for other heavy metals.

What Are the Major Findings?

Overall, CR says, heavy metal levels in fruit juices have declined since their last testing. But in the new report, every juice contained at least one of the four metals tested, and 47%, or 21, had concerning levels of cadmium, inorganic arsenic, and/or lead. None had concerning levels of mercury. Other major conclusions:

There is no scientific evidence indicating that the presence of trace levels of heavy metals in juice has caused any negative health outcomes among individuals at any life stage.Patricia Faison, technical director of the Juice Products Association

  • Seven of the 21 had enough heavy metals to potentially harm children who drink a half-cup or more a day, and nine of the 21 held risks for kids drinking a cup or more a day.
  • Ten of the juices posed a risk to adults, too: Five were potentially hazardous at a half-cup or more a day, and five at a cup or more a day.
  • The highest heavy metal levels were in grape juice and juice blends.
  • Organic juices did not have lower heavy metal levels than non-organic.

In the report, 24 products are listed as ”better alternatives.”

Still, all but one of the juices in the Consumer Reports tests had inorganic arsenic levels below the FDA’s proposed limit of 10 parts per billion, and 58% had levels below CR’s recommended cutoff of 3 ppb. Trader Joe’s Fresh Pressed Apple Juice was the only product above the 10 ppb threshold. CR says its tests found three samples averaged 15.4 ppb.

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