All juice products contain sugar and water.
“100% fruit juice” contains naturally occurring fructose, or the sugar from the fruit.
“Juice drinks” typically contain added sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.
Your best bet is to read the label for the total amount of sugar and calories; the more sugar, typically the higher the calorie level. Remember that many fruit “drinks” contain far less essential vitamins and minerals than juice.
Nutrition Fact Labels can help you make healthy beverage choices. Look at the two labels below and their ingredient lists.
What Will You Read Here?
Health professionals continue to say that we should eat more servings of fruits and vegetables as this is extremely important for our good health. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is an easy way to boost your fruit intake.
Fruit juices are a valuable source of unique compounds found only in plants. Including 100 percent juices in your eating plan will help provide a wide variety of these healthful plant compounds.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report states that, with the exception of fiber, fruit juices provide substantial contributions of several vitamins and minerals. Juices, as well as other beverages, contribute to daily fluid intake.
100 Percent Fruit Juice DOES Count As a Fruit Serving
One hundred percent juice can count as a fruit serving.
Any fruit or 100 percent fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut up, or pureed.
To determine if a product is 100 percent juice, the container label must state that the product is 100 percent juice. This information is usually included near the Nutrition Facts panel on the back of the label.
One half cup of 100 percent fruit juice equals 1/2 cup from the fruit group. While most fruit servings should come from whole fruits, a portion of the daily fruit intake can be from 100 percent fruit juice.
Quick Facts About 100 Percent Fruit Juice
- There are no added sugars in 100 percent fruit juice – just natural sugars found in whole fruit.
- 100 percent juices are naturally nutritious
- Most 100 percent fruit juices have only 60 to 80 calories per 4 ounce portion
- The role 100 percent fruit juice can play is an important part of the daily fruit allowance
- 100 percent juice is considered a “nutrient dense” beverage – per calorie, it packs more nutritional value than other beverage choices.
Did you know?
Frozen juice concentrate can be quickly liquified by whirling it in a blender for a few seconds. Add the required water and process until juice is frothy.
Fruit Juice and Children
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is an ongoing food consumption research program that monitors food intake. This research helps health professionals track eating patterns over many years.
NHANES data show that consumption of 100 percent fruit juices by children and teenagers is within acceptable guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A recent NHANES analysis also shows that children who consume 100 percent juices have overall healthier diets than those who do not consume juices.
According to the latest consumption data collected by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of America’s children and teens are drinking 100 percent fruit juices in amounts recommended by health professionals.
Notable Notes on Apple Juice
- Apple juice is not high on the nutrient scale. It contains no vitamin C unless it has been added.
- Most of an apple harvest ends up being made into pasteurized apple products or frozen in order to preserve it. When pasteurized at temperatures of 170 degrees to 190 degrees, microorganisms are destroyed and the juice has a stable shelf life of up to one year.
- Apple juice and cider should not be purchased unless you are sure that the whole apple was not used in their preparation. The pits contain a poison.
- Nutritionally there is no difference between “natural” and “regular” apple juice, even the fiber content is the same.
- If you purchase frozen apple concentrate, it will only last for a few weeks after it is thawed.
Fruit Juices vs. Fresh Fruit
A piece of fresh fruit has one key advantage over a glass of juice. When you eat an orange, an apple or a grapefruit, you’re getting fiber, which isn’t there in a glass of juice. Not only does fiber play a major role against diabetes and heart disease, but it fills you up with fewer calories, helping you control your weight. Fruit juices also tend to be high in added sugar. Citrus fruits in particular are loaded with antioxidant, cancer-preventing compounds, and they’re bursting with vitamin C, folate and potassium.
Research shows that drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with a more nutritious diet overall. Studies suggest that appropriate consumption of 100 percent fruit juice is linked to an overall healthier eating pattern, including reduced intake of total dietary fat, saturated fat and added sugars.
Resources: American Dietetic Association, Juice Products Association
Now here’s a quick mini quiz to help distinguish which juice is more healthful for you and your family:
- Which beverage has added sugars?
- Which beverage has more nutritional value?
- Which beverage has an added vitamin?
- Which beverage would you choose for a snack?
Answers to Questions
- Juice Drink
- 100 percent Fruit Juice
- Juice Drink
- Hopefully 100 percent Fruit Juice!
Easy Ways to Choose Healthy Beverages
- Drink a cold refreshing glass of milk for breakfast.
- Try a delicious cup of hot chocolate to keep warm in the winter.
- To cool down during hot summer days, have a glass of 100% fruit juice.
- Instead of drinking pop with snacks and meals, choose milk.
- Choose a healthy glass of 100% fruit juice instead of a fruit drink with added sugar.
- Drink large amounts of water to stay hydrated and refreshed all day long.
Whether choosing a juice pop at the market or from an ice cream truck, look for one with a label that reads 100 percent real fruit juice. Bars made with frozen concentrate have significantly more sugar per serving.