A new report published in the July issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition by pediatrician Dr. Robert D. Murray supports existing scientific data maintaining juice as part of a healthy diet. The report reinforces that claims that 100% juice may be associated with childhood weight gain or negative health outcomes have not been supported by recent scientific research including a number of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
"Juice has recently been cast in a negative light without scientific evidence to support these claims," said Dr. Robert Murray, pediatric nutritionist and immediate past president of the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "This report encourages parents and other consumers to look at a child's total diet before judging foods or beverages "good" or "bad." Foods should be judged not on individual attributes such as fat or sugar but on their contributions to the diet as a whole."
"Drinking 100% fruit juice has many positive attributes that improve overall diet quality," Dr. Murray stated, "When juice is eliminated from a child's diet, it can have unintended negative nutritional consequences, especially for low-income populations."
National surveys show many Americans have poor quality diets. The report notes that while juices do lack fiber, they retain the majority of the same health-promoting nutrients, bioactives and phytochemicals found in whole fruit. Fruit juice drinkers also have better quality diets, consume more whole fruit, less added sugar and saturated fat and greater amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and fiber than non-juice drinkers.
"Over the past three decades, fruit juice consumption has fallen substantially yet the gap has not been filled by the consumption of whole fruit. A combination of whole fruit and juice is the best way for children and adults to meet their daily-recommended fruit servings and improve their overall diet," said Dr. Murray. "Young children are typically the biggest juice drinkers. They are also the only age group in the United States consuming enough servings of fruit."