I was chatting to one of the Mum’s at our parent/toddler group this week. She is organising a party for her little girl, in a few weeks time. She asked my opinion on what foods and drinks to serve, and followed her question by commenting “I know you really don’t like FruitShoots, x told me”. Apparently I have got myself a reputation as a FruitShoot hater.
I thought I would clear my name and explain, why I don’t like the drink, and why we won’t allow Big Girl particularly, but also Small Boy, to have them, at home or out and about with us. I will never willingly buy the drink for my children. I however, am NOT one of those parents who swoops down on their child at parties and events and won’t allow them to have certain party foods or treats. I would prefer that my kids didn’t have these drinks but if they do, we deal with the consequences. I apologise if I have made anyone who has hosted my child at a party and has gotten to hear of my dislkie of the drinks, and has felt like I was critisising them. I am not, I promise. There is a reason.
I will backtrack a little: We usually try to feed our children healthy choices, with occasional treats, I don’t refuse any foods or drinks to my children, with the exception of one thing. I do not like artificial sugar/sweeteners. I don’t like them for two reasons, one being I don’t think they are particularly good for anyone, and I personally think a little sugar is better for anyone than some man made chemical sweetener that has possible links with health issues. I am not going to provide data on this, go and do your own reading. It’s out there, the food industry just doesn’t like to talk about it.
The other reason is because we have found that two of the ingredients used as sweeteners in the No Added Sugar Fruit shoots, DO NOT agree with Big Girl. Aspartame and Acesulfame K, these are used to replace sugar. Both of these cause a fairly strong reaction when she consumes them. They make her hyper-active. I am not just saying this, because I don’t like artificial sweeteners, and I am not a parent that claims my child is allergic to everything when they’re not. However, these two delightful chemicals have an adverse affect on my oldest child, and having seen her react to them on numerous occasions we avoid them if we can.
React you say? Surely you are exaggerating? No, to be blunt, I am not. The last time she drank a bottle of juice containing these chemicals, she literally could not sit still, or even stop moving for 4 hours. She was twitchy, she couldn’t stop talking (more than normal, she is a chatterbox, like her mother, but this was like a constant stream of talk, she just didn’t seem to be in control) she couldn’t concentrate and she literally bounced around the room. After about 3.5 hours she started to calm down, and then at about the 4 hour mark complained of a really sore head, and feeling very thirsty. The only time we ever see react this way, is when she has consumed one or both of these artificial sweeteners. It is not a fun experience dealing with her, when she is like this, and she usually feels pretty unwell for a good hour or two after she has come down from her “fake sugar high”. I have had several friends witness her behavior when she has consumed these items, and it has also happened at school, when she was given a Fruit Shoot to drink, at a school party. She also has reacted to aspartame in other products. I am very strict about what we buy, food and drink wise, and we do not consume diet products at home, as a family. I struggle with migraines and also find my concentration span limited, when I drink diet drinks, or anything with sweeteners in, so it’s not just my children I am protecting.
Basically, aside from the fact that both these artificial sweeteners are controversial in their own right, we personally do not like what they do, to our Big Girl, not to mention the long term consequences of consuming them, so we prefer to avoid them.
So, this is why we don’t get excited about Fruit Shoots or other “no added sugar drinks”. I would encourage you to do your own reading, look at the ingredients on the labels of some of these drinks marketed as “healthy” alternatives to our children, and find out about what they are, and also the long term and short term side effects of them. Sugar isnt good for us in large quantities, but I’d sooner give my child a spoon full of proper sugar than I would a drink containing artificial sweeteners.
These are the ingredients in both the No Added Sugar Fruit Shoots:
Robinson’s Blackcurrant Fruit Shoot H2O, ingredients:
The sugary version isn’t that much better, to be honest. We avoid those like the plague too:
Robinson’s Blackcurrant and Apple Fruit Shoot, ingredients:
Water, Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Fruit Juices from Concentrate (Blackcurrant 5%, Apple 4%), Sugar, Citric Acid, Stabiliser (Xanthan Gum), Vintamins (C, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, B6), Acidity Regulator (Sodium Citrate), Natural Flavouring, Preservatives (Potassium Sorbate, Dimethyl Dicarbonate), Natural Colour (Anthocyanins).
I was asked for alternatives?
Smoothies, home made or bought in cartons?
Dilute pure fresh fruit juice with water?
Home made lemonade?
Home made milk shakes (not complicated, blitz fruit and milk together, with a spoonful of honey, and you have a milk shake that’s tasty and not full of nasties)
Old fashioned cordial, the proper stuff? Yes, it has sugar in it, but we use it at home for a treat, and it has no nasty, unpronounceable chemicals or sweeteners in it, much safer, for a special treat.
So, there you have it, my reasons behind my dislike of the much maligned Fruit Shoot.
I am not alone. Google “ingredients in Fruit Shoots” and you will find a plethora of blogs, Mum’s forums and articles on it.
The usual medical disclaimer: This blog post is not medical opinion, or advice.
I am aware that various medical organisations, and pharmaceutical companies, and research groups have come out and assured the public that aspartame and acesulfame are perfectly safe to consume. I personally choose to avoid these products and limit the exposure my children have to them, based on what we’ve seen when our oldest child has reacted to them. I have not quoted any sites or given references. This is a personal experience only. Please do your own reading and research. Always consult a medical practitioner if you have any concerns!