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Juice cleanses for kids: Do they send a bad message?

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Juice cleanses for kids? According to an ABC News report on April 3, this alarming, growing trend, has doctors questioning the health benefits of juice cleanses for kids.

“This trend is outrageous and a real concern,” said Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “Kids don’t need a cleanse, they need good food. A cleanse usually means they’re also excluding necessary food groups and nutrients.”

The New York Post reported this week that “cherub-cheeked” kids, were “reaching for their mommies” green-and-purple juices.

Sandra Davella told the Post, “I have to buy extra because I know she’s going to take it. … She’s not a French fry kid,” when speaking about her 6-year-old daughter, Sophia, who “drags a footstool alongside the fridge” to reach her favorite drink off a high shelf.

Davella continued, “I get upset – they’re expensive, up to $80.00 a day, said the 44-year-old banker, who also said her daughter will sometimes drink up to three juices a day.

The problem seems to be when parents are replacing healthy snacks or sometimes meals with these juices, and protein drinks.

What Ayoob wants parents to know about this trend is, “The digestive tract already is a juicer – it just works more slowly. But that’s fine and how it was meant to work. Besides, everyone – kids included – needs fiber and eating whole fruits and vegetables will give you that fullness and fiber, along with nutrients that won’t necessarily make it into the juice.”

Dr. David Katz, founder of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and editor of the Childhood Obesity Journal, was a little more outspoken in his reaction to this growing trend, “Come on, seriously? A combination of pecuniary exploitation and stupidity – I think that’s all there is to say on the matter."

For now, the debate will continue as ABC's Good Morning America posed the question, "Cleanses for kids, do they send a bad message? Where do you stand on juicing and cleansing for kids?

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