"Inclusion of fruit juice, in amounts consistent with dietary recommendations, as part of a healthy diet can provide important nutrients without increasing weight in children."
- Nicklas et al. American Journal of Health Promotion. March/April 2010.
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Why The Squeeze On Fruit Juice?
Separating Fact from Fiction
WASHINGTON, DC (December 10, 2009) - Drinking a glass of 100 percent fruit juice is - and always has been - a healthy choice that you can feel good about serving your family. Recently, however, people have become somewhat confused about the benefits of fruit juice - how much to drink, how much to serve their children - partly because of its natural sweet taste. Yet, with no added sugars, 100 percent juice remains a nutritionally rich beverage and a valuable source of key vitamins and minerals in the diet. The benefits of fruit juice are supported by scientific research and by the millions of families who enjoy a glass of 100 percent juice as a part of their daily routines.
Here are a few other fruitful points about juice, from the Juice Products Association:
Are whole fruits a better source of nutrients than juice?
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that a majority of our daily fruit servings come from whole fruit. But most Americans are not meeting current recommendation for fruit and vegetable consumption and are missing out on valuable nutrients. For many people, drinking a glass of 100 percent juice is an easy and convenient way to help reach those goals, with just a half-cup serving of juice providing the equivalent of a full serving of fruit. In addition, fruit juices also provide substantial contributions of several nutrients in higher amounts in the diet than do whole fruits, including vitamin C, folate and potassium. Moreover, 100 percent fruit juice contains many naturally occurring phytonutrients that have disease-preventative and health promoting potential.
Does fruit juice have a lot of sugar and calories?
There are no added sugars in 100 percent juice - just the natural sugars found in whole fruit. In addition, fruit juice is considered a "nutrient dense" beverage, meaning that, per calorie, it packs more nutritional value than other beverage choices. Because nutrition is more than just calories, it's important to look at the whole picture: 100 percent fruit juice is a valuable source of key nutrients like folate, vitamin C and potassium and supplies a serving of fruit in each half-cup portion.
Does fruit juice make children fat?
No. The majority of research does not show a relationship between overweight and 100 percent juice consumption in children or teens. While there are some general misconceptions about the appropriateness of 100 percent fruit juices as part of the diet - especially children's diets - the current science strongly maintains the nutritional benefits of fruit juice. According to Dr. Theresa Nicklas of the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, a professor of pediatrics who has conducted research on juice consumption, "One hundred percent juice is and always has been a choice you can feel good about serving your family. The research shows there is no link between 100 percent juice intake and overweight."
Several published studies that have investigated the relationship between 100 percent juice consumption and bodyweight in children and adolescents report additional benefits for 100 percent juice consumers. Research conducted by Dr. Nicklas and her colleagues showed that children drinking 100 percent juice had higher intake of certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, iron and folate, and lower intake of total fat, saturated fat and added sugar. Her research is based on the largest, ongoing government database on food consumption (NHANES - National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey).
How much juice should my child drink?
Experts agree that parents can be confident serving their children appropriate amounts of 100 percent fruit juice. Appropriate amounts, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, are 4-6 ounces of 100 percent juice daily for children 1-6 years old, and 8-12 ounces daily for older children from ages 7-18. The AAP statement, as well as USDA's MyPyramid, includes guidelines for incorporating 100 percent juice as a serving of fruit.
The latest information about 100 percent fruit juice and how it fits into a healthy diet for children and adults is available at http://www.fruitjuicefacts.org/.
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