Children who drink fruit juices at breakfast are 50 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese, a new study claims.
Scientists from the Medical University of Vienna questioned 652 children aged 13 on their breakfast habits for the study, published at the European Congress on obesity.
While most types of food had no correlation with their weight, scientists discovered that children who consumed orange or apple juice with their breakfast more than three times a week were 50 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese.
Children who drank water on the other hand, saw their risk of obesity fall by 40 per cent, leaving researchers to argue that parents should replace juice with whole pieces of fruit instead.
Scientists also found that children who skipped breakfast are more susceptible to weight gain as it makes the child more likely to snack during the day.
Despite the findings, experts are not suggesting parents cut fruit juices from their children’s diets altogether.
‘We are keen to promote the benefits of fruit juice because it does have vitamins and minerals, and if the bits haven’t been removed there’s more fibre in there’, Aisling Pigott, British Dietetic Association (BDA) spokesperson and paediatric dietitian told HuffPost UK.
‘But what we do know is that it’s very easy to drink large volumes of fruit juice, which provides no additional benefits to a very small amount.’
Instead, Aisling advises parents to water down the fruit juice, diluting it down so it’s one part juice to four parts water.
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For older children, she recommends doing half and half, but never going above this. And while the study was tested on kids at breakfast, Aisling says the time of day doesn’t actually make much difference.
She added: ‘We’ve had lots of studies and interest about the time of day for drinks, but everybody responds differently, so we don’t worry about what time you’re having things, it’s just about not going overboard.’