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Are Fruit Snacks Healthy?

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Published: Thu, 21 Sep 2017

Christine Aninzo

Many people have an understanding that fruit snacks pass the qualifications of a “healthy snack”. In fact, when families walk through the snack aisle in search of something healthy for their children, one of the things that may end up in their carts are fruit snacks. It sounds heavily nutritious and even looks extremely appealing with the way their packaging is designed. One may conclude that a healthy snack comprises the following: Vitamins A, C, or E, a controlled amount of sugar, or natural substances. Although fruit snacks claim to have these requirements, what people tend to dismiss is that it has artificial flavoring that enhances the snack, it lacks healthy fat and protein for children, and it is colored by food dyes automatically disqualifying it from the list.

People may argue that fruit snacks are indeed healthy because of the “Vitamin C” that it contains, but food manufacturers put in all sorts of food additives. “According to ANVISA (1997): “food additive is not usually a nutritious ingredient, intentionally added to food in small quantities to improve its appearance, aroma, flavor, color, texture and conservation during all stages of processing” (Nascimento & Teixeira, 2016). Food companies that create these tasty treats usually mold them into miniature, fruit looking snacks to convince consumers that what they are purchasing is much more nourishing than any other snack they get. Fruit snacks have beneficial components, but just not enough ingredients to outweigh the additives that may harm people’s internal bodies.

These fruit-shaped, gummy snacks that are widely sold and bought all over the world consists of many additives that enhances its taste. Fruit-shaped, gummy snacks may be promoted as “healthy” but, if people would look closer to what it contains they will see that it is not 100% fruit and does not contain as much vitamins. Most fruit snacks advertise that their product contains Vitamin C which then grabs the attention of consumers. What people fail to realize is that the Vitamin C used for it is known as one of the most common preservatives that keep the product on the shelf for an ample amount of time. People are investing in companies that produce an unhealthy replicate of fruits. To pay for fresh fruits in a grocery store that contains a natural source of many vitamins is worth paying for rather than having to see a doctor in a couple of years due to internal problems because of this unhealthy snack.

Additionally, each serving of those little packages contain approximately eleven grams of sugar. Children usually eat more than a package of fruit snacks which then doubles, sometimes triples, the sugar consumption of what parents thought of as a healthy snack. According to the American Heart Association’s statement, “children ages 2 to 18 should eat or drink less than six teaspoons of added sugars daily” (Ben, 2017).  Six teaspoons of sugar is equal to 24 grams which means that if a person were to eat two packages of this snack, they would have already consumed 22 grams of sugar. This leaves a very minimal amount of sugar left to take in throughout the day. If someone were to sum up the sugar intake and the additives in this snack alone, they most definitely would think twice about adding this in their shopping cart.

Furthermore, healthy snacks should contain mostly of natural ingredients to enhance our physical health. Fruit snacks do not have as much natural ingredients as everyone believes. Not to mention, they add in food dyes to imitate the color of the actual fruit. When opening a pack, people would often associate the color of each piece with the color of real fruits. This encourages people to think that it is okay to consume as much as they want. After all, it is recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture that people eat about two cups of fruit daily. The food dyes that they use can have such negative effects on children in the long run. A study shows that artificial food dyes concluded to children encountering an Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (Kanarek, 2011). Any kind of food dyes that are used in any kind of snack is extremely detrimental to one’s health. So, as good as these snacks look and taste it may do more harm than good to a person’s body.

All over the globe, fruit snacks have been thought of as beneficial to one’s health. With all the additives found in this snack it will eventually create a negative impact in people’s systems in the long run. If people were to step back and examine all that really comes with putting these snacks in someone’s system, maybe they would think twice about purchasing it. As delicious and convincing as they may look, it is not a good idea to constantly eat too many of these tiny packages. Maybe a real fruit or two would be more satisfying, not to mention healthier.

References

Ben, S. (2017). Parents who give their children half a day’s sugar before school. Daily Mail. p. 13.

Kanarek, R. B. (2011). Artificial food dyes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Nutrition Reviews, 69(7), 385-391. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00385.x

Nascimento Teles, J., & Teixeira Polônio, M. L. (2016). Knowledge of nursing and nutrition graduate students on the consumption of food colorings and their adverse health effects. Revista De Pesquisa: Cuidado E Fundamental, 8(4), 5045-5053. doi:10.9789/2175-5361.2016.v8i4.5045-5053


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