The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was likely coined in 1866. Ever since, our society has associated eating apples with high levels of nutrients and antioxidants. However, the nutritional value of apple juice may be a different matter entirely.
Health experts have raised some concerns over the consumption of apple juice. Dr. Oz and other medical professionals have stated that apple juice contains arsenic. The FDA initially was very skeptical about Oz’s claims. They insisted that Oz’s method for measuring arsenic levels neglected to distinguish between organic and inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is responsible for causing cancer, cognitive impairment and other health problems.
Although the Food and Drug Administration didn’t find much merit in Oz’s claims, a new study by Consumer Reports has caught their attention. This new study found that a high proportion of the arsenic in apple juice is inorganic. Even more alarmingly, the levels of arsenic were actually higher than those the FDA allows in water. Consumer Reports is calling for stricter regulations.
[box type=”important”]However, many nutritional experts don’t feel the levels of arsenic in apple juice are the greatest cause for concern. They believe the real danger is the amount of “empty” calories contained in apple juice. Apple juice typically has high levels of refined sugar and minimal nutritional value. In fact, many brands of apple juice have more calories than soft drinks.[/box]
The Academy of Pediatrics advises against giving apple juice to children. They warn parents that apple juice has no nutritional value whatsoever to children under six months old. They also advise that apple juice is also a poor substitute for real apples, providing no additional health benefits in exchange for all the extra calories and free radicals.
According to results from the Juice Products Association, only about 17% of juice is produced domestically. Most apple juice is produced in countries such as China, Brazil and Argentina. It is more difficult for the FDA to ensure juice produced in these countries stands up to regulations.
Although the levels of arsenic in apple juice may or may not be as dangerous as Dr. Oz insists, the new studies will shed some light on the issue. Whatever the official position on that will be, it is clear that apple juice does not offer many positive benefits to consumers. Parents may want to consider these new studies and the advice of the Academy of Pediatrics before they decide to give apple juice to their children in place of the fruit itself.