With so few Americans 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 recognizes that 4-oz of 100 percent juice supplies one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit, there is still confusion regarding the healthfulness of juice.
New research presented today at the American Dietetic Association (ADA) Annual Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) clearly highlights the benefits of 100 percent juice, revealing that fruit juice drinkers were more likely than non-consumers to meet recommended levels of certain key nutrients.
The new study, from researchers at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center and Baylor College of Medicine, examined a nationally representative sample of adults 19 years of age and older and found that drinking 100 percent 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 percent juice may be one important strategy to provide some of the essential nutrients that are currently under-consumed by Americans. 100 percent fruit juice should be encouraged as part of an overall balanced diet."