A glass of cranberry juice is packed with more sugar than cola: Officials warn some fruit drinks have more than a day's recommended intake in a single serving

  • Fruit juices made from so-called superfoods such as cranberries and pomegranates are lauded for health benefits
  • But ome brands contain more than a day’s recommended intake of sugar in a single 300ml serving
  • Local Government Association accused soft drink firms of ‘dragging their heels’ when it comes to minimising sugar in their products
  • It said children under ten get almost a fifth of sugar intake from soft drinks

Fruit juices made from so-called superfoods such as cranberries and pomegranates often have more sugar than a can of cola, officials have warned.

While the drinks are said to have health benefits, some brands contain more than a day’s recommended intake of sugar in a single 300ml serving.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils that are responsible for public health, accused soft drink firms of ‘dragging their heels’ when it comes to minimising sugar in their products.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic juice drink was found to have 11g of sugar per 100ml
A can of Coca-Cola has 10.6g of sugar per 100ml

Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic juice drink (pictured left) was found to have 11g of sugar per 100ml, which is more than the amount in a can of Coca-Cola (right)

It said children under the age of ten get almost a fifth of their sugar intake from soft drinks.

In a survey, the organisation found that some cans of fizzy drinks contain almost twice the recommended daily sugar limit for adults.

Even some fruit juices contain more than a single day’s limit in a single serving – surpassing a can of Coca-Cola.

Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic juice drink was found to have 11g of sugar per 100ml, while PomeGreat ‘Super Juice’ had 12.1g.

Both exceed the 10.6g per 100ml in a can of Coca-Cola – but do not come close to the 15.1g per 100ml in Old Jamaica Ginger Beer.

A 300ml serving of any of the four drinks would breach the 25g daily sugar limit recommended by the World Health Organisation. Juice businesses insisted the study is misleading because it does not differentiate between unhealthy added sugar – such as monosaccharides and disaccharides in fizzy drinks – and natural sugar found in fruit.

Cranberry juice is frequently promoted as a health product which is said to ward off urinary tract infections. And pomegranate juice has been linked to resistance to prostate cancer and heart disease.

The LGA is calling for a fifth of the VAT raised on sugary drinks, sweets and takeaway food to go to councils to pay for public health schemes.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Tory leader of Warwickshire county council and chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: ‘It is wholly unacceptable for one normal-sized can of soft drink to contain double the recommended daily limit.

‘Products like these are fuelling the obesity crisis and helping wean a generation of overweight children.

‘We are calling on the sector as a whole to step up and show more corporate responsibility.’

A spokesman for Ocean Spray said cranberries are naturally low in sugar, so sweetening is required.

Vitamin Water is promoted for its health benefits, but drinks contain four teaspoons of sugar per 330ml

Vitamin Water is promoted for its health benefits, but drinks contain four teaspoons of sugar per 330ml

She added: ‘We offer consumers a range of reduced sugar options including our Cranberry Classic Light product

‘We’ve made and continue to maintain a firm commitment to low-sugar innovation, and through product formulation, price promotion and portion sizes we seek to offer the best choice in flavours, calories and formats.’

Adam Pritchard, chief executive of PomeGreat, accused the LGA of distributing misleading research.

He said his product does not include refined sugar, which the WHO says is more harmful than naturally occurring fruit sugars.

PomeGreat instead includes pinitol, a natural compound which stops blood sugar levels rapidly rising.

Mr Pritchard said: ‘To lump us in with big fizzy drinks companies is just misleading.

‘We are a small company competing with huge multinational businesses which are just chucking sugar into drinks because it is cheap.

‘We use a much more healthy natural sweetener which costs 2.5 as much as refined sugar. It is not the same thing.’

 

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