100% fruit juice, higher intake of essential nutrients

New research shows adults who drink fruit juice have improved dietary adequacy compared to non-consumers.

With so few people consuming the recommended amounts of fruit each day, finding quick and simple ways to add additional fruit servings – and the important nutrients they provide – is more critical than ever. Although USDA recognises that 113g of 100% juice supplies one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, there is still confusion regarding the healthfulness of juice.

New research clearly highlights the benefits of 100% juice, revealing that fruit juice drinkers were more likely than non-consumers to meet recommended levels of certain key nutrients.

The study

The new study, from researchers at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Centre and Baylor College of Medicine, examined a nationally representative sample of adults 19 years of age and older and found that drinking 100% fruit juice was closely linked to improved nutrient intake.

More specifically, the researchers used data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to compare intake of "shortfall nutrients" – those nutrients most frequently under-consumed by Americans – among juice drinkers and non-consumers.

According to the research team, adults who did not drink fruit juice were more likely to fall below recommended levels for several key nutrients, including vitamins A and C and magnesium.

Additionally, a greater percentage of those consuming fruit juice exceeded recommended levels for calcium and potassium – two important minerals for promoting bone health and regulating blood pressure.

"This study supports the role of fruit juice as a nutrient dense beverage and a source of valuable vitamins and minerals," notes lead researcher Dr Carol O'Neil. "Drinking 100% juice may be one important strategy to provide some of the essential nutrients that are currently under-consumed. 100% fruit juice should be encouraged as part of an overall balanced diet." (EurekAlert/ November 2010)

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