According to a recent study from the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, most of the popular kids' fruit "juices" with labeling showing fruit do not actually contain any juice, but rather, unhealthy amounts of sugar relative to a child's recommended daily intake.
Although 85% of juice drinks have fruits on their labeling, only 35% were found to contain real fruit juice while single servings from 11 different brands each packed a "punch" of sugar amounting to the equivalent of more than 50% of a child's recommended daily intake, according to the study.
Another statistic that parents could find shocking: 74% of sweetened drinks marketed toward kids include low-calorie sweeteners, while 65% contained added sugars, proven to be the cause of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and childhood obesity, among other "health harms," according to CBS.
"The packaging of the drinks seem to really be design to make them seem like they're healthier than they really are – pictures of fruit on the packages," Jennifer Harris, PhD, the study's lead author and director of marketing initiatives at UConn's Rudd Center told Yahoo! Lifestyle. Harris claimed that sweetened drink labels included popular "egregious" adage such as "Good source of vitamin C" to mislead customers.
The study analyzed more than 30 sweetened and unsweetened children's drinks, respectively and results showed that more than two-thirds of global sales ($2.2 billion annually) involved sweetened drinks deemed unhealthy by health experts and doctors. According to ZME Science, "healthier drinks" only comprised 38% of sales.
A single serving from one-third of fruit drink brands was found to contain more than 16 grams, or 4 teaspoons of sugar, according to ZME. The outlet also reported that the study coincides with the continued increase in childhood obesity, which has risen by 1000% compared to 40 years ago.
The study further found that American consumers spent $1.4 billion on the "most popular" brands of children's fruit drinks and flavored waters in 2018, while major US beverage companies spent $20.7 million in advertising for drinks specifically with added sugars, CBS reported.