Arsenic In Your Juice…Still?

A glass filled with apple juice next to a glass filled with apple slicesThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has agreed to set a new, and stricter, limit on the permissible amount of arsenic allowed in apple juice, following a year of pressure from consumer groups regarding the dangers of children drinking the juice over long periods of time.

READ: Is There Arsenic In Your Juice???

Here are the safety facts that you need to know…

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Studies have shown that the juice contains very low levels of arsenic, a cancer-causing agent found in everything from water to soil to pesticides. While the FDA has previously claimed that the arsenic levels are not dangerous to consumers, they’ve decided to limit the permissible amount to the same level currently permitted in drinking water.

READ: You Are Being Poisoned

Under the new regulation, apple juice containing more than 10 parts per billion could be removed from the market and companies could face legal action. Agency officials stressed that the vast majority of juices on the market are already below the threshold.

“Overall the supply of apple juice is very safe and does not represent a threat to public health,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg, in an interview with The Associated Press. “We decided to put forward this proposed action level to give guidance to industry and to assure ongoing safety and quality.”

READ: Warning: There May Be Arsenic In Your Rice

Should arsenic be in juice at all?

Many experts – including the government and consumer advocates – agree that drinking small amounts of apple juice isn’t harmful. The concern involves the effects of drinking large amounts of juice over long periods of time.

Another point of agreement is that children under 6 shouldn’t be drinking much juice anyway, because it’s high in calories. Health experts say children under 6 shouldn’t drink any more than 6 ounces of juice a day – about the size of a juice box. Infants under 6 months shouldn’t drink juice at all.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said Friday children should be encouraged to eat whole fruit.

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The Drink Linked To 25,000 U.S. Deaths A Year

A spoonful of sugar being added to a cupMore than 180,000 deaths worldwide in 2010 were linked to a high intake of sugary drinks, a new study estimates, including 25,000 deaths in the United States.

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Most deaths occurred in middle- to low-income countries, the Harvard researchers noted. The findings are surprising because this problem is often though of this as a problem only in high-income countries. These latest findings do not prove that sugary drinks kill people. They only show a correlation between high consumption and deaths from heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.

Recently, a judge struck down Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial limit on large sweetened sodas and other sugary beverages, one day before the rule was to go into effect. Bloomberg said he would appeal the decision and defended his plan, which would have limited the size of sugary drinks sold at restaurants, food carts and theaters to 16 ounces.

But that’s not the only type of measure officials can take. Others could include taxing sugar-added drinks, or limiting advertising of the beverages to children. But “anti-soda” moves are a tough sell — not only because the beverage industry and many consumers resist. It’s also hard to pin ill health effects on one component of people’s diets, even if it’s a nutritionally dubious one.

Sugary beverage consumption is often paired with other unhealthy food choices or behaviors. Chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, are the result of many factors, not just excess sugar intake. Therefore, everyone should be limiting added sugar — from drinks and food. We just do not need added sugar that is empty calories.

Overall, they estimate that upwards of 180,000 deaths were “attributable to” sugary drink consumption in 2010. That included more than 130,000 from diabetes, about 45,000 from heart disease and stroke, and 4,600 from various cancers.

As for sugary drink intake, young Cuban men beat the rest of the world: Men younger than 45 typically downed more than five servings per day. And in general, Latin America and the Caribbean had the most deaths linked to sugar-sweetened drinks.

It’s difficult to blame deaths on high-sugar drinks alone. But the findings highlight one important, and simple, move that people can make to improve their diets. Sodas are not the only culprit. Often, these fruit juices that people think are healthy are loaded with sugar.

One of the big concerns in the sugary-drink “war” is that many children and teenagers are downing huge amounts of liquid calories. Because this study focused on deaths from chronic diseases, it says nothing about the potential health effects on kids across the globe.