Wednesday, June 13, 2018


“Sugar is not dangerous because of its calories, or because it makes you fat.  Sugar is dangerous because it’s sugar.  It’s not nutrition.  When consumed in excess, it’s a toxin.  And it’s addictive.” 
                                                            ---Robert Lustig, MD

The other day, a friend was at the house. She had stopped by a convenient store on the way over to buy a drink.  She bought an Arizona Fruit Punch in a very colorful bottle (see picture below) and an even more colorful label.  The picture on the front of the bottle features pears, cherries, red and green grapes, apples, and strawberries.  A banner proclaims that it is Vitamin C fortified.   The 20 ounce bottle contains 25 grams of sugar PER SERVING and there are 2.5 servings in the bottle! Do the math:  multiply 25 times 2.5 = 72.5 grams of sugar in ONE BOTTLE.  The recommendation for sugar for tweens and teens is no more than 25 grams PER DAY.


According to the ingredient list on the Arizona Fruit Punch, the first ingredient is filtered water.  The second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup.  If you are a regular reader of Wellness Wednesdays, then you know that high fructose corn syrup is what I call “the evil empire ingredient.”  This highly processed sugar has no nutritional value.  Drink enough of it and there is a high likelihood that it will cause fatty liver disease. Just ask Dr. Robert Lustig, pediatric endocrinologist and author of The Hacking of the American Mind. 

Fatty liver disease affects 80 to 100 million Americans.  It is the most common form of chronic liver disease.  

Kids never used to be diagnosed with fatty liver disease.  High fructose corn syrup entered the food chain in the late 1960s.  Given the excessive amounts of sugar they are ingesting every day, from processed foods and sugar-loaded drinks, American kids are on the fast track for poor health outcomes. 

Drinks like Arizona Fruit Punch and sodas like Coke and Mountain Dew, contain several days’ worth of sugar. 

Our kids deserve better. 

With love and gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich, MPH
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.