Newswise — For decades, children of all ages have consumed fruit juice as part of their school foodservice meals or in the lunches they have toted from home. 100 percent fruit juice was then, and is still today, a healthful beverage that can serve as a daily fruit serving.
Recently, however, some parents have become confused about 100 percent juice—how much to drink, how much to serve their children—partly because of the natural sweet taste of fruit juice. The majority of research on juice shows that it definitely contributes important nutrients to the diet and is clearly not the reason for childhood obesity.
The two latest studies published on this topic were published in the American Medical Association's June issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and the July/August issue of the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (AJLM).
The AJLM research "A Review of the Relationship Between 100% Fruit Juice Consumption and Weight in Children and Adolescents" assesses all of the scientific literature and concludes "there is no systematic association between consumption of 100% fruit juice and overweight in children or adolescents."
Appropriate amounts, as noted 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 USDA Food Guide Pyramid also includes guidelines for incorporating 100 percent juice as a fruit serving. 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. In addition, 100 percent fruit juice contains many naturally occurring phytonutrients that contribute to good health.
Dietitians and nutrition researchers know that there are many factors associated with childhood obesity, many of which are very poorly understood. Singling out one food is not appropriate. As with many nutrition-related issues, more research is needed regarding diet, lifestyle and activity levels.
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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American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine (Jul/Aug-2008)