My thing about Fruit Shoots….?

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I have got myself a reputation as a FruitShoot hater. It is common knowledge amongst my friends that I don’t like them and  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 dislike of the drinks, and has felt like I was criticising 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, DID NOT agree with the tween when she was little. 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.She still reacts to aspartame, and I limit what she drinks or eats that contain that. She now gets quite severe headaches.

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 behaviour 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

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 isn’t 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:

Spring Water (99.4%), Citric Acid, Natural Flavouring, Sweeteners (Aspartame, Acesulfame K), Preservatives (Dimethyl Dicarbonate, Potassium Sorbate)

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).

When I talk about my dislike of Fruit Shoots, I am often asked what I would suggest instead, so here are some ideas. 

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!

Posted in Family Life and Parenting and tagged , , , , , .

8 Comments

  1. I am with you, i CHOOSE to not give my children ‘juice’ joshua has never had nor will he till he is older. He has had nothing other than water or milk. He knows no different so is quite happy. Beth who is now 11 has bog standard cordial but only one – two glasses a day she also drinks a lot of water.

    I discovered when Beth was small certain drinks caused her to be more hyper than normal, and it was based on the ‘juices’ we were giving her. We cut them out for a month and we never had it again. we have tried intermittently obviously as parties, others houses and such like but it seems we have the same problem as you!

  2. I know. I have read all the stuff that declares that these sweeteners don’t cause health issues, and don’t have any adverse side effects on children’s behaviors, but I can’t think agree having seen what happens when Em has them, and also how ill I feel if I drink diet drinks. I can drink a normal can of cola, and be fine, but the diet stuff… wham, migraine!

  3. I am with you there. My boy had them for the first time a couple of weeks ago and he was wild so we stopped giving him them and he was back to normal.

  4. WOW I googled this after giving my toddler a fruit shoot today, NEVER AGAIN, he has been absolutely wild. Will definitely be more vigilant about the stuff he drinks !!

    • Am glad it was a useful post. So many people don’t think they cause a problem, but I am fairly convinced, that for my kids at least, they do.

  5. Just to let you guys know, the funny thing is they don’t have to use all the chemical process routes to produce these drinks there are perfectly good alternatives available, stupidly though maybe their shareholders would not be to keen on this happening.
    Well done for looking into this the small writing on the bottles hides so much.

  6. Only my daughter will drink juice, my son will only drink water, for this I am glad as I too hate Fruit Shoots etc! We never have any squash with no added sugar, for the small amount of it that gets drunk by my daughter I prefer a little sugar to sweeteners. Not only does it have a horrid aftertaste that I cannot stomach I don’t believe that these sweeteners are good for anyone either (just my opinion). I don’t think the kids have ever had a fruit shoot and I don’t think it will happen any time soon, at my sons party we just had squash on the table that we’d made up (normal not no added sugar) everyone was just fine. I am with you 100% 🙂
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