FDOC Statement on New York Times Opinion Piece

FDOC Letter to the Editor

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an opinion piece, in print and online, critical of juice, including 100% orange juice. The article, written by three pediatricians, makes overreaching statements on consumption levels and the health impacts of juice, focusing solely on negative impressions without regard for the positive nutrient benefits 100% orange juice provides.

100% orange juice is the most nutrient dense of all commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices. 100% orange juice contains no added sugar, and the Florida Department of Citrus stands by the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation for appropriate daily portions for children (4 to 6 ounces) and for older kids and adults (8 ounces). 100% orange juice is a nutrient-rich tool to be used as part of a healthy diet in moderation. At a time when many Americans are not meeting recommended fruit and vegetable intakes, 100% orange juice can be a tasty and convenient way to meet daily fruit needs and to address under-consumed nutrients, like potassium, for both children and adults.

An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice boasts an impressive 116% of your daily recommended vitamin C intake, 15% of your daily folate and 10% of your potassium. In fact, adult 100% orange juice drinkers were shown to have lower BMI, smaller waist circumference, and lower percentage of body fat.1

The majority of research shows that there is no association between the consumption of 100% orange juice (100% 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% 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.

A 2018 systematic review conducted by Auerbach et. al concluded drinking 100% juice is not associated with significant weight gain in children and was not associated with adverse health effects such as cardiovascular disease in adults. In alignment with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Dietary Guidelines of Americans, the study also supports daily consumption of moderate amounts of 100% fruit juice helps to support a healthy diet and increase total fruit consumption. The authors conclude these guidelines should continue to be followed and used to inform current and future food policy recommendations.2

A 2016 systematic review by Crowe-White et al. found no association between 100% fruit juice consumption and weight and other measures of adiposity (e.g. BMI) in children ages 1 to 18 years old after considering total energy intake.  They also found that higher intake of 100% fruit juice was related to improved intake and higher adequacy of many nutrients, including many that are of public health concern due to low intake in most populations.3

Recently published research on beverage consumption patterns in children and adolescents based upon national survey data (NHANES 2009-2014) concluded patterns focused on milk and 100% juice relate to higher diet quality. This study showed 100% juice was the main contributor to total fruit intake and 100% juice does not displace whole fruit intake. The authors conclude 100% juice consumption should be promoted rather than restricted in children as a dietary intervention to encourage adequate nutrition.4

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.