McDonald’s ‘healthy’ kids’ drinks packed with 12 teaspoons of sugar

Fast-food chain’s new fizzy drink promises to give children one of their five a day, but with more sugar than a can of Fanta

Fruitizz, McDonald’s new ‘healthy’ kids’ drink, has been criticised for containing more sugar than a can of Fanta. A 500ml cup of the fizzy fruit juice has been found to contain 12 teaspoons of sugar, taking the shine off claims that it’s a healthy option for kids. Recommended sugar consumption for children is no more than three teaspoons per day.

“A large cup of this drink has more sugar than a can of Fanta,” said dietician Christina Merryfield, from London’s Bupa Cromwell Hospital. “Sugary drinks can encourage tooth decay and erosion and lead to weight gain.

“Water is a much better option and milk is great because it’s full of calcium and other minerals.”

McDonald’s has spent the past three years working on the drink, described as a ‘fizzy treat’. It’s the latest in a string of attempts to improve the nutritional value of its food, which has seen mineral water, milk and fruit bags added to its Happy Meal options.

The drink is made from a blend of 60% fruit juice including grapes, apples and raspberries, with natural sparkling water. It offers the equivalent of one portion of fruit. But because fruit is high in natural sugars, the drink is also extremely sweet.

“It’s very difficult to reduce the calorie content of fruit juice without introducing artificial sweeteners,” explained a McDonald’s spokesman. “We tried and tested 80 formulations in order to create the right product that delivers nutritional benefit as well as a new exciting taste.”