Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

About The Buzz: Kids Who Drink More Juice Have a Better Intake of Vitamins and Minerals?

TheBUZZ: Kids who drink more juice have a better intake of vitamins and minerals?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Drinking 100% fruit juice is associated with better vitamin and mineral intake in children and adolescents.

WHAT WE KNOW

It is true that fruit juices contain the natural sugar that’s in fruit. Fruit juices that are 100% juice also contain comparable amounts of the nutrients as the foods from which they were made, with the exception of fiber. Additionally, they contain the other healthful substances like antioxidants and phytonutrients that are also present in whole fruits.

Why is juice often thought of as unhealthy? Products that are labeled as juice drinks will have varying amounts of juice, sometimes as little as 10%, with other ingredients added to them such as water and sugar. Added sugar may appear on the label as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, corn syrup, or cane sugar. Some nutrients, such as Vitamin C, may also be added. However, what juice drinks are lacking are many of the other nutrients and healthful substances that are present in 100% juice, as well as the natural flavor from fruit to cultivate and enjoy the taste of the whole fruit. The key is to purchase 100% juice.

HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?

A recent study* published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found, with the exception of vitamin E and fiber, consumption of 100% juice was associated with higher usual intakes of vitamins A and C, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. Also, although juice drinkers did not exhibit higher intakes of dietary fiber, their fiber intake was not lower than non-consumers of juice.

Additionally, this study is the first to show that fruit juice consumers were more likely to exceed the Adequate Intake for calcium than those not consuming juice. It is unclear if this is due to intake of calcium-fortified juices or if fruit juice was more likely to be consumed alongside calcium-rich foods and beverages. These results underscore the role of 100% juice as a nutrient-dense beverage.

OUR ADVICE

Enjoy 100% juice products with snacks, with breakfast, in smoothies, or any time of the day!

Worried about calories and sugar in juice? While consuming 100% juice is nutritious for you (and certainly a convenient and tasty part of a healthy diet), it’s also important to consume whole fruits and vegetables (including canned, dried or frozen) to ensure you are getting adequate fiber. (Remember that cooking or drying fruits and veggies doesn’t reduce their fiber content).

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends consuming only 4-6 ounces of 100% juice per day for children 1-6 years old and 8-12 ounces per day for children 7-18 years old. For adults, 4-8 ounces per day as juice is a reasonable amount.

With any healthy diet, moderation is key. Eat a variety of colors and forms of fruits and vegetables each day to provide your body with beneficial compounds, and to help manage your weight!

 

*O’Neil, C., T. Nicklas, M. Zanovec, et al. “Fruit Juice Consumption is Associated with Improved Nutrient Adequacy in Children and Adolescents: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003–2006.” Public Health Nutrition (2012), doi:10.1017/S1368980012000031

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