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4 posts from May 2009

May 25, 2009

Netmums Chatter

I’ve noticed there has been some chat on Netmums around drinks for young children and in particular the value of Fruit Shoot. My heart goes out to mums over all the anguish around what to give young children to drink – we mums are meant to understand so much!

I wish this communication was around when my girls were young – they are teenagers now so I should probably find a site to help me!

Being a qualified nutritionist helps me in one area at least when it comes to being a mum! My advice is that pre school children need to be encouraged to drink a little and often – the best choices would be milk, diluted fruit juice andwater but well diluted squashes are fine for this very young group too. All Robinsons drinks are free from artificial flavours and colours.

The issues are different once they start school, mainly because they often then do not drink enough – they are simply too busy with all their activities, can’t be bothered or don't like what’s on offer.  This is where drinks like Fruit Shoot, designed for on-the-go, can play a valuable role.

When it comes to ingredients and making choices – you do need to consider the needs of your child at that particular time and in the context of what they are doing that day. To me it’s all about variety – we tend to go for the 100% juice at breakfast or lunch - because it’s a convenient way of having  one of your five a day. If I want my girls to have some energy as well as good hydration – such as when they come out of school and go straight to a sports activity I'm happy for them to have drinks with  some sugar such as a regular Robinsons squash or a Fruit Shoot.

  

When it’s purely hydration they need (sometimes this can be mistaken for hunger!) then they might go for an artificial sweetened drink. I think artificial sweeteners are overly criticised and misunderstood. They can actually have a very valuable role in making great tasting products which are virtually calorie free. The sweetener aspartame is one of the most thoroughly tested ingredients of all time (just last month another report from the European Food Safety Association, has once again given it the all clear).  In reality aspartame brings nothing new to the diet. It is made up of two amino acids –which are the building blocks of protein – and you will find these amino acids naturally occurring in many foods. The amino acids are incredibly sweet – in fact these same amino acids are found in breast milk and they contribute to its sweetness -  so only a very small amount is needed to be added to drinks to get some sweetness.

As with all things its balance and moderation and helping your children to make good choices – simply banning a food can often make it even more desirable.

One final point I wanted to touch on that was raised in the Netmums forum was the ingredients in Fruit Shoot.  A list of the ingredients was posted in the forum; however this was actually an outdated list as none of the Fruit Shoot products contain sodium benzoate.

If you’d like to have more information on the Robinsons range, or ingredients, click here and do please get in touch if you want more advice.

May 21, 2009

Sweet news on Aspartame

Most of us enjoying keeping hydrated by choosing a variety of drinks through the day ranging from water to pepsi. I tend to balance those which contain sugar and/or fruit juice to give me some energy as well as hydration with those  which are sugar free but which contain artificial sweeteners. The option to choose drinks with artificial sweeteners is very helpful when you want hydration but not the calories. However some people are concerned about the safety of artificial sweeteners such as aspartame - in spite of it being one of the most thorough researched food ingredients of all time. We can be further reassured  by a recent report (a report that received no media coverage, probably because it was too positive!) was that the European Food Standard Agency (EFSA) published the results of an extensive review of the research looking into the use aspartame. The EFSA Panel concluded:

"... on the basis of all the evidence currently available including the last published ERF study that there is no indication of any genotoxic or carcinogenic potential of aspartame and that there is no reason to revise the previously established ADI for aspartame of 40 mg/kg bw/day."

May 15, 2009

Support Breakfast!

I’m such a believer that breakfast is such an important meal especially for children and numerous studies show that if children start the day with some food and have something to drink their concentration and alertness is improved.

However according to a report last week, the most popular brands of breakfast cereal - including those targeted at children contain too much sugar. This report was widely reported on by the media which in the main part was very negative for breakfast cereals. In my opinion much of the coverage was misleading and may stop mums giving their children breakfast cereals all together. Yes there is sugar in some of children's breakfast cereals but per portion when served with milk this is not such a large part of their GDA for sugar. It is ridiculous to compare with the sugar in a chocolate bar because most of these cereals also supply young children with much needed mineral and vitamins and some contain wholegrain fiber as well as the goodness from the milk.

Giving children something they enjoy at breakfast helps to encourage the sensible and lifelong habit of making time for breakfast. As they get older their tastes change and they tend to move on from the more child like cereals but the breakfast habit is there.

May 13, 2009

Its thirsty work..

My heart goes out to the children taking their key stage 2 sats exams this month. In spite of all the best intentions, getting them to bed early, making sure they are eating proper meals and encouraging them to keep hydrated, it can be so very stressful for them and their parents. Good luck!