Whole fruit consumption up in adults but 100% OJ may play a role in addressing some nutrient shortfalls, new study shows

BARTOW, Fla. – While whole fruit consumption increased in adults between 2003 and 2016, the intake of several key nutrients decreased over time, a new study shows. Adding 100% orange juice to the diet could help address this shortfall and bolster intake of other key nutrients found in orange juice.

A cross sectional analysis using the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data for adults age 19 and older found significantly higher intakes of whole fruit yet a significant decrease in the intake of folate, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C, iron, sodium, and zinc over these time periods.

The FDOC-funded study published online in Acta Scientific Nutritional Health in December, found that from 2003 to 2016 the amount of 100% orange juice consumed decreased 42 percent, the intake of all 100% fruit juices decreased 34 percent, while whole fruit intake increased 25 percent. However, the intake of total fruit (fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and 100% fruit juice combined) did not change and continues to fall short of national recommendations.

When examining intake amounts for 100% orange juice, higher intake was associated with a greater likelihood of meeting nutrient intake recommendations for several key nutrients, including folate, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamins B6 and D, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. This study also found that OJ consumers had different dietary patterns than non-consumers and previous research confirms that OJ consumers have higher quality diets. In the current study, OJ and other 100% juices were the key food sources contributing to higher intakes of calcium, folate, phosphorus and magnesium, suggesting that the consumption of OJ and 100% fruit juices, particularly calcium-fortified varieties, could be a strategy for increasing the intake of those nutrients. Eight ounces of 100% OJ is a good source of folate and provides 6% of the Daily Value for magnesium.

“This study supports what we have seen in previous studies, that 100% OJ consumption by adults has dropped over time and, on average, adults are not meeting even half of their total fruit intake recommendation. 100% orange juice, particularly calcium-fortified juice, can help boost total fruit intake and enhance the intake of several key nutrients lacking in the diets of adults,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, Director of Scientific Research for the Florida Department of Citrus.

Further, vitamin C intake in adults has decreased over time. While not linked directly to the decreased consumption of 100% orange juice, the results of this study question whether the increased intake of whole fruit can adequately address vitamin C shortfalls. An 8-ounce glass of OJ provides more than 100% of the Daily Value for vitamin C.

More research is needed to determine the best way to support and enhance nutrient intake and overall health in adults. FDOC’s Scientific Research Department continues to fund research projects to examine the nutrition and health benefits of 100% orange juice.

About the Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research and regulation of the Florida citrus industry.  Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels.  The industry employs more than 37,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org/newsroom.