New Research Confirms Nutritional Benefits of 100% Juice in Children’s Diets
Studies Find Juice Offers Similar Nutritional Benefits to Fruit; No Connection Between Juice and Weight
NEW YORK (December 08, 2015) – The science is in: two studies confirm the importance of 100% fruit juice in the diets of children. The studies, published in International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition and Current Nutrition & Food Science, respectively, provide evidence that children who drink juice have overall better quality diets, they have similar weight status compared to those who do not drink juice, and that juice provides similar nutrients as whole fruit. These findings support the USDA’s recognition of 4 oz. of 100% juice as equivalent to 1/2 cup of whole or sliced fruit.
The first study examined National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2010 dietary data from a sample of nearly 6,100 children age 2 – 18 years and revealed that children who consumed fruit juice had better nutrient intakes, better diet quality and higher whole fruit intakes than children who did not drink juice. Also, 100% juice drinkers had higher intakes of important nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium. Their diets consisted of less total fat, saturated fat, added sugars and sodium, suggesting a healthier meal pattern.
Additionally, researchers found no difference in the likelihood that children who drank juice were overweight or obese compared to those who did not. Lead author and Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Theresa Nicklas, DrPH, found this to be the most insightful part of the research. “This should alleviate any fears that parents have about juice and weight gain. Parents should be confident that by serving juice to their children they are making a healthy choice that provides important nutrients,” she said.
The second study, also out of Baylor College of Medicine, showed the effect of replacing 100% fruit juice with whole fruit in the diet. The modeling exercise replaced 100% fruit juice with either whole fruit of the same variety, or a combination of the top 20 most commonly consumed fruits, and then evaluated the dietary impact on children’s diets. The results showed that nutritionally there is very little difference in the consumption of whole fruit compared to fruit juice.
“The modeling exercise showed no difference in the number of calories that were consumed when eating whole fruit compared to drinking juice,” said study co-author and Professor at Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Carol O’Neil, PhD, MPH, RD, LDN. O’Neil added, “Actually, very few nutritional differences were found in the modeling data. When replacing juice with whole fruit, consumers had a significant drop in Vitamin C levels. Small differences in intake of fiber and total sugars were also found.”
Both studies were funded by the Juice Products Association and supplement the growing body of nutrition research showing the effects of juice consumption on children. Earlier this year, a critical review of nearly two decades of research was published in Advances in Nutrition. The review found that beneficial plant compounds contained in 100% juice could potentially help protect against some of our most serious chronic illnesses, like cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Certain juices have also been linked to preserving cognitive function, and there is strong evidence showing juice can help prevent urinary tract infection.
For more information on the nutritional benefits of 100% fruit juice, please visit www.juiceproducts.org
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