The Moral Dilemma of Buying Orange Juice for Visitors
My wife and I live in a small town in southwestern New Hampshire, having escaped (mostly…) from urban life ten years ago. Every month or two we enjoy various combinations of family and friends visiting for a night , and each visit is cherished, often with hiking or skiing in the woods, swimming at the lake, games, music, long dinners, and conversations that solve all the problems of the world.
Overnight guests need breakfast, of course, and it is a wonderful time to gather informally in the kitchen or on the porch, sip coffee or tea, share crossword puzzles, and plan the day. Our own breakfasts emphasize protein and fat, with a varying combination of farm-fresh eggs, bacon or sausage, nuts, yogurt, cheese, perhaps a little leftover salad, sauerkraut or kimchi, or recently some canned wild salmon. We just tried poached eggs baked in avocados - yummy! No cereal or bread, and various fruits and berries usually come later. We’ll usually offer all these – less the cereal and bread – for our guests.
We don’t have orange juice in the house. Put simply, it is mostly sugar. It is not much different than having a glass of Mountain Dew; its few benefits are easily obtained through other, more nutritionally-dense foods, or even a multivitamin. But overnight guests should be treated with love and respect at breakfast, and orange juice is a morning tradition for many. One good friend says she simply cannot abide a day that does not start with orange juice.
So what to do? Do we buy orange juice and feed this unhealthy drink to our dear friends, our children, our grandchildren? What about stocking apple juice for the little ones – surely that’s better than stocking Coke? Should I give a mini-lecture on the health issues of too much sugar along with the glass of juice? If I have such knowledge and am concerned about the health of my loved ones, where does my moral obligation kick in?
I don’t have a good answer to this. We usually buy and offer orange juice and leave the choice up to our guests. In the past few years, we end up tossing it more and more often. That’s good – more people are aware, changing long-held habits.
To learn more, here’s a 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition: Nutrition article 2014 Fructose content in popular beverages made with and without high-fructose corn syrup For an easier read, here is an article based on that study: NPR article on sugar in soda and fruit juice 2014
A quote from that article that should give anyone pause, perhaps especially those feeding children: “The sneakiest — and sweetest — juice is Minute Maid 100 percent apple, with nearly 66 grams of fructose per liter. That's more than the 62.5 grams per liter in Coca-Cola and the 61 grams per liter in Dr Pepper.”