THE TRUTH ABOUT PURE FRUIT JUICES VS. FRUIT BEVERAGES
Kids love the taste of pure fruit juice, and parents love it
because it’s a healthy source of nutrients.
When choosing healthy pure juice for your children, it’s
important to note what kind
of juice you are serving
and how much you are offering. Here’s what families should
know about fruit juice versus other fruit-flavored beverages:
CHOOSE THE RIGHT FRUIT JUICE
All juices are not created equal – some are nutritional gems
while others are sugar water. Consider these tips as you make
juice part of your child’s diet.
- Be label savvy. Buy juice labeled “100 percent fruit juice."
- Beware of words like “drink,” “punch,” “cocktail,” “beverage” and “ade.”
These are not 100 percent juice – they’re junk fruit
- Many “junk fruit beverages” are nutrient-void beverages,
commonly masked as fruit “juice,” “drinks” or “cocktails.”
Most contain 10 percent or less of pure fruit juice, and
lots of water, sugar and additives. Junk fruit beverages
have little or no nutritional value.
- Avoid junk fruit beverages that are disguised as juice
“blends” that contain small amounts of various fruits like
grape, apple and pear. Ounce for ounce, these juices don’t
have the natural levels of vital nutrients that 100 percent
pure juices like orange juice provide. Plus, they usually
contain added sugars.
- Examine the ingredients. Avoid fruit-flavored
beverages that have added fructose corn syrup. They shape a
child’s taste toward sweet cravings.
- Look at the juice. Generally, the cloudier the juice,
the more nutritious it is. If you can see through it, you’re
buying mostly water. Picture a tall glass of 100 percent pure orange
juice with pulp. There should be some sediment at the bottom,
which is a reminder of the juice’s origins.
- Go with citrus juices. Orange juice is a morning
favorite and one of the most nutritious beverages available.
An excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, orange juice
also is a good source of folate and thiamin. Compared to other
juices, orange juice is higher in protein, vitamin A,
B-vitamins, vitamin C (it contains more than 10 times as much
vitamin C as apple juice), calcium, iron and potassium, making
it a heavyweight among fruit juices. Drinking an 8-ounce glass
counts as one of your five necessary fruit and vegetable
servings for the day.
- Check if it’s pasteurized. Commercial juices now
are required to say if it’s pasteurized on the label.
The new law is a result of non-pasteurized juice-borne bacterial
illnesses that are especially harmful to people with weakened
immune systems (such as children, pregnant women or the elderly).
No need to worry, though. A new high-pressure pasteurization
method increases the shelf life and significantly reduces the
bacteria count. And, it reportedly does not affect the flavor
or vitamin and mineral content of the juice. The key is to
make sure the label on your juice says it’s pasteurized.
- Consider Juice Variety. Another beneficial juice in
addition to orange juice is nectar juice. Nectar usually has
more calories, but more nutrients are preserved during
processing nectar than other juices. Apricot nectar is
especially healthy, containing a lot of beta-carotene, almost
a gram of protein per 8-ounce glass, and it’s higher than most
juices in vitamin A, vitamin B-6 and iron. Other nutritious
nectars come from the “P” fruits – peaches, pears and prunes.
HOW MUCH YOU OFFER COUNTS
Juice can be a tasty alternative to water, but consuming too
much juice may take the place of other nutritious foods the child would
normally eat. The following chart explains how much juice is
appropriate for a child up to 12 years of age:
6 – 12 months
4 ounces per day
1 – 4 years
6 ounces per day
4 – 12 years
8 ounces per day
JUICE CONSUMPTION 101
- Offer 100-percent juice at mealtimes or as snacks as an
alternative to soda or junk juices. Serve orange juice at
breakfast, and pack a carton in your child’s lunch box for
lunch or as a daytime snack.
- If a child usually consumes more than the daily-recommended
amount of juice,dilute the juice with water. The water has
the sweet taste of juice while allowing the appropriate amount
of juice intake throughout the day.
- If a child asks for carbonated soda, add seltzer to a glass
of 100 percent pure orange juice to add ‘a bubbly sensation’.
- Don’t let toddlers walk around or fall asleep with a baby bottle
filled with juice. It can cause tooth decay. The juice
bathes the teeth, which may contribute to bacterial growth,
plaque and eventual decay (a condition called the
“juice bottle syndrome”).
VITAMIN C TIPS
- Orange and grapefruit juices contain more natural vitamin C
than any other fruit juice. They’re great juices for your children –
and for you.
- The vitamin C content of canned juices may deteriorate
upon exposure to air, so be sure to refrigerate and tightly
seal opened containers.
- Freshly squeezed juice contains more vitamin C than
“made from concentrate” canned or frozen juices.
- Adding ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, to juice allows
manufacturers to claim that the drink will give your child
“100 percent vitamin C.” This health claim, however, can mask
its sugary content and hides the fact that other essential
nutrients are not included.
Juices with a high fructose-to-glucose ratio and that
contain sorbitol can aggravate the intestines, especially
those already sensitive by irritation or infection.
- Recommended Juices: Citrus juices and some other juices
(strawberry, raspberry, blackberry and white grape juice)
do not contain sorbitol and are recommended by the American
Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition for use during
- Fructose-to-Glucose Ratio: A high fructose-to-glucose ratio may cause
diarrhea or abdominal pain because the excess fructose ferments in the large intestine.
Orange juice is a recommended juice because it contains
equal amounts of glucose and fructose and no sorbitol.
- Infants and Children: Because their immature intestines
allow more unabsorbed sugar to reach the colon where it
ferments, infants and children are particularly prone to
gas and diarrhea from excessive juice.
FAVORITE 100% PURE FRUIT JUICE FACTS
- Orange – The juice with the highest amount of
vitamin C and potassium and a good source of folate and thiamin.
It also contains cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
- Grapefruit – The juice with the second highest
amount of vitamin C.
- Apricot Nectar – This juice is high in vitamin A
and contains a small amount of iron and zinc.
- Prune – The juice highest in iron, zinc, fiber and
- White Grape – A juice high in vitamin C, and the
best juice for healing the intestines.
- Apple – This juice has no nutritional advantage
over other juices, but is good for flavoring water because
it dilutes well.