At a recent dinner reception, drinks were being served in delicate champagne glasses featuring a mixt of 100% grape juice and sparkling champagne. The tables were set in Bastille Kitchen, a French restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts. While the glasses looked pretty, I kept thinking all I wanted was the juice. So I went to the bar and asked for a glass. On ice. Then went back to connecting with my colleagues and ended up sitting down next to the registered dietitian working on nutrition communications from Juice Central.
I was surprised to learn that juice drinking, specifically 100% juice drinking, is dropping in America. Why? It seems 100% juice is getting a bad reputation.
Our first thoughts about juice might have us thinking it’s linked to dental cavities, obesity, lack of getting enough fruit in our diets, and more. Yet, I was super glad I was able to hear the facts and the fiction here – so lets squeeze them out!
In full discloser: In total, I drank about 3 glasses of 100% grape juice during this discussion. And by the end of the discussion, I felt good about it.
Bottom line when thinking about 100% juice: I want you to keep it in the refrigerator.
Here are some myths and truths I learned from this juicy experience:
Myth: You don’t need juice to meet your fruit goals.
Truth: More than 80% of us fail to meet our fruit goals according to a study published in January 2015. Much of that is due to this false pretense that assumes juice is bad so more of us are avoiding it. But for those of us who are trying to reach our fruit goals (pretty much all of us), 100% juice can get us there.
Myth: Juice drinkers have poor diets.
Truth: Actually, it’s the opposite. Research published in May 2015, showed that children who drink juice actually have better diets. Juice drinkers were taking in more vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, than people who didn’t drink juice. These same juice drinkers actually had lower added sugar in their diets, and more fiber, from other foods they were eating.
Myth: If you drink juice, you won’t eat fruit.
Truth: Wrong again. Compared to those of us who don’t drink juice, those who do actually eat more whole fruit.
Myth: Drinking juice will cause weight gain.
Truth: The majority of research on obesity in kids overwhelmingly shows no association between drinking 100% juice and weight gain. What does weight gain? Too many calories related to plus sized portions and overeating.
Myth: Juice drinking causes dental cavities.
Truth: Juice is not the culprit in dental cavities. A study published in 2014 in the Journal of the American Dental Association, found no association between drinking 100% fruit juice and early dental cavities in more than 2,300 children.
Myth: 100% juice replaces milk.
Truth: Juice drinkers did not drink significantly less milk when compared to those who don’t drink 100% juice at all.
Juice delivers the these nourishing nutrients:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6
Juice benefits go beyond the vitamins. 100% juices (orange, grape, apple, cranberry, grapefruit, and pomegranate) contain potent plant compounds called flavonoids and polyphenols. Fancy words for saying the makeup of the juices preserve our brain functions, protect our heart health, and prevent urinary tract infections.
What are the portion recommendations for juice?
The American Academy of Pediatrics gives the following guidelines for 100% juice:
- Under 1 year old: No fruit juice. No fruit juice in bottles.
- Ages 1-6 years old: 4 to 6 ounces per day
- Ages 7+ years old: 8 to 12 ounces per day
So raise your glass of 100% juice every morning with your nourishing breakfast, I know I will be.
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Disclosure: I was invited as an attendee to the 100% Juice Reception at the Food Nutrition Conference and Expo. Writing and content are my own.