Sunday, August 28, 2005

Here's something to consider

Continuing the obesity theme from the other day, Americablog goes on a bit of a mild rant about sodas in schools, and how they should be replaced by healthier choices like juice. This is in response to the American Beverage Association's release of new rules that would decrease the sodas sold in middle schools and eliminate their sale in elementary schools. The NY Times says the that the entirely voluntary policy will make no changes applicable to high schools, which is where most of the sodas are sold anyway. It also points out that Coca-Cola and Pepsi already have policies against selling sodas in elementary schools.

So is replacing sugary sodas with juice a good move to reduce childhood obesity? I looked at some quick numbers:

Drink Calories, 12 oz.
Apple juice 180
Grapeade Snapple (*) 180
Milk, 2% 180
Coke 160
Orange juice 150
Pepsi 150
Milk, skim 130
Powerade 105
Gatorade 75

(*) Note that a Snapple container is 16 oz.

So on a strictly per-calorie basis, juice is just as fattening, if not more so, than Coke and Pepsi. Sure, there are some vitamins in real juice that aren't in sodas, but how many of these kids are really lacking vitamins in their diets? I'll buy that some very disadvantaged kids don't have a good diet, but I haven't heard of a scurvy outbreak in the suburbs lately.

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