With seven out of 10 adults falling short of the daily recommended vegetable intake as put forth by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, researchers the University of California-Davis studied whether drinking vegetable juice could help boost the intake of this critical food group. And it was.
The study looked at three groups of healthy men and women. All three groups received dietary counseling on ways to get more vegetables, but only two of the groups were instructed to consume at least one serving of vegetable juice, in the form of 100% vegetable juice each day. Of those two groups, one drank one 8-ounce glass of vegetable juice every day and the other drank two 8-ounce glasses of vegetable juice every day as part of a balanced eating plan.
The study found that those who received dietary counseling and consumed vegetable juice were far more likely to meet the daily vegetable recommendations, about two and a half cups (five servings), than those who received counseling alone. Specifically, more than half of the participants who drank one serving of V8 100% vegetable juice met the recommendations, as did all of those who drank two 8-ounce glasses of V8 100% vegetable juice each day. Of those who did not drink any vegetable juice, less than a quarter got enough vegetables, the American Dietetic Association annual conference was told.
Researchers concluded that changing dietary behavior is much more effective when dietary advice is complemented with tangible, real, easy and convenient solutions.
"What we found in this study is that drinking vegetable juice seemed to address some of the key barriers to vegetable consumption such as convenience, portability and taste, so individuals were more likely to meet their daily recommendations," said Carl Keen, PhD, study author and distinguished Professor of Nutrition & Internal Medicine at University of California, Davis. "Furthermore, vegetable juice drinkers reported that they actually enjoyed drinking their vegetables, which is critical to adopting dietary practices for the long-term."
In fact, after six weeks of the study, vegetable drinkers reported they felt "more satisfied" with the ease of getting vegetables into their diet, and that 100% vegetable juice provided an important additional source of vitamins and minerals.
A growing body of science indicates vegetables are important to promoting good health, including helping to reduce risk factors for heart disease, diabetes and achieving a healthy weight. According to Produce For Better Health, all forms count.
"The best type of vegetable is one that you will actually consume, so it's important to provide people with a variety of great tasting options and ways to include them in their diet," said Elizabeth Pivonka of Produce for Better Health Foundation. "That's why we encourage people to explore all types of vegetables, such as 100% juice, fresh, frozen or canned, to get at least one serving of vegetables at each meal occasion throughout the day."