A group of nutrition researchers and educators convened, to examine the science regarding the effect of 100% fruit juice consumption on nutrient intakes and health outcomes, as well as to discuss research-driven strategies to motivate consumer behavior, to help all families, including those participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), meet daily fruit goals and recommendations of the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs).
According to a news from ift.org, a review article published in the Journal of Food Science summarizes the roundtable discussions and call to action, focusing on practical solutions to help increase daily fruit intakes among the U.S. population.
While the 2015–2020 DGAs recognize the role of 100% fruit juice in helping people meet daily fruit recommendations, certain health and nutrition professionals have raised concerns about 100% fruit juice and its role in health, including, at times, its role in nutrition policy. Furthermore, public health guidance related to 100% fruit juice differs between certain health organizations.
The roundtable experts agreed that 100% fruit juice delivers important vitamins, minerals, and dietary bioactives (for example, polyphenols) that contribute to overall health without added sugars and can play an important role in closing daily fruit intake gaps for families. The roundtable’s discussion first focused on consistent evidence showing a decline in fruit intake among Americans, driven primarily by reduced consumption of 100% fruit juice.
The literature regarding the effect of 100% fruit juice consumption on diet quality and nutrient intakes, as well as data on the risk of weight gain and dental caries, was also reviewed. Roundtable experts discussed the health-promoting aspects of certain 100% juices and the important role of 100% fruit juice in early childhood nutrition. Finally, opportunities and strategies to optimize fruit intake by incorporating 100% fruit juice were discussed.
A review of the literature shows that compared to nonconsumers, those who consume 100% fruit juice come closer to meeting daily fruit needs and have better diet quality. In children, 100% fruit juice is associated with increased intakes of nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium. When consumed within the DGA recommendations, 100% fruit juice is not associated with overweight/obesity or childhood dental caries and does not compromise fiber intake.
Given its role in promoting health and in helping people meet fruit needs, experts participating in the roundtable discussion agreed that there is no science-based reason to restrict access to 100% fruit juice in public health nutrition policy and programs such as the WIC. Reducing or eliminating 100% fruit juice could lead to unintended consequences such as reduced daily fruit intake and increased consumption of less nutritious beverages (for example, sugar-sweetened beverages).
The report authors concluded that “at a time when most Americans do not meet daily recommendations for fruit, it is not sensible or science based to restrict access to 100% fruit juice, which plays an important part in meeting daily fruit goals, improving nutrient intake, diet quality, and promoting overall health, particularly in underserved populations.”