FDOC Letter to the Editor: In Support of 100 Percent Orange Juice

In the July 7, 2018 op-ed, “Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy,” the authors go to great lengths to use exaggerated language to stir fear and concern for those who consume 100 percent orange juice, citing several dated studies and inaccurately implying it is a major driver of the obesity epidemic. The reality is that, when consumed in moderation, 100 percent orange juice absolutely has a role in a healthy diet for children and adults.

The majority of research shows that there is no association between the consumption of 100 percent orange juice (100 percent fruit juice) and overweight or obesity status, BMI, body fat percentage or waist circumference in children or adults. Additionally, studies show that the consumption of 100 percent orange juice is not associated with the adverse effects often seen with the overconsumption of added sugars, such as increased risk for metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and elevated glucose and insulin levels.1

In addition, studies show that moderate amounts of 100 percent fruit juice, in line with serving size recommendations from the American Association of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, serve as an important part of a healthy diet and help increase total fruit consumption.2

Another study found that higher intake of 100 percent fruit juice was related to improved intake and higher adequacy of many nutrients, including those that are of public health concern due to low intake in most populations.3

Others showed 100 percent juice does not displace whole fruit intake in the diet. These researchers concluded 100 percent juice consumption should be promoted rather than restricted in children as a dietary intervention to encourage adequate nutrition.4

Comparisons of 100 percent orange juice and soda made by the authors are inappropriate and misleading. One cup of 100 percent orange juice provides a whole day’s worth of vitamin C, and supplies potassium, folate and thiamin and never contains added sugar. One hundred percent orange juice has more nutrients per ounce than many commonly consumed fruit juices. Additionally, fortified orange juice is a wonderful way to address nutrient concerns of calcium and vitamin D in consumers, like children, who need to up their intakes.

As with the consumption of any food and beverage, it is important to be mindful of portion size. The Florida Department of Citrus continues to support recommended portion sizes as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Dr. Keith Ayoob, child and family nutrition expert and associate clinical professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, adds, “I would never recommend my patients over-consume any healthy food. Simply put, any good food in the wrong amount can be problematic. One hundred percent orange juice has been a staple in American households for generations, and with good reason. For both children and adults, 100 percent orange juice is a healthful beverage choice when consumed in the appropriate amounts.”

The ever-growing body of research continues to prove that 100 percent orange juice can play a positive role in a healthy diet. At a time when many Americans are not meeting recommended fruit and vegetable intake levels, 100 percent orange juice should not be taken away as a choice for those who need it most.

References

  1. O’Neil et al.Nutr J. 2012 Dec 12;11:107.
  2. Auerbach et al. Review of 100% Fruit Juice and Chronic Health Conditions: Implications for Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Policy. Adv Nutr. 2018; 9(2)78-85.
  3. Crowe-White et al. Impact of 100% Fruit Juice Consumption on Diet and Weight Status of Children: An Evidence-based Review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016;56(5)871-884.
  4. Maillot et al. Beverage consumption patterns among 4–19 y old children in 2009–14 NHANES show that the milk and 100% juice pattern is associated with better diets. Nutr J. 2018;17(1)54.