Don’t fool yourself into thinking that drinking 100% fruit juice is the same as eating the whole fruit. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found two key things that may have you re-thinking your breakfast drink:
- In many cases, fruit juice contains as much sugar as soft drinks, although the sugar in fruit juice is naturally occurring.
- Despite the calories in fruit juice, people who drink juice don’t feel as full as if they ate the fruit, so they end up consuming more calories.
When it comes to your children, over-consumption of fruit juice or consuming greater than 12 ounces a day was found to be associated with short stature and obesity. In 2006, 10% of all annual medical spending went to treating obesity-related diseases. When it comes to children specifically, research estimates the average total health care expenditures for a child treated for obesity is nearly three times higher than the average health care cost for all other children.
At this point, you probably are asking, “If juice is out, then what should I do?” UF/IFAS Extension has a solution for you. Try remixing your current plate. Instead of going for the orange juice, grab an orange. Substitute your fruit juice for its whole fruit counterparts. If you decide to make the swap, you will find yourself in need of a drink; try water or milk. For more resources on building a healthy plate, visit:
Dennison, B., Rockwell, H. and Baker, S. Excess fruit juice consumption by preschool-aged children is associated with short stature and obesity. Pediatrics 100(4):733, 1997
Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Fact Sheet: Sugary Drink Supersizing and the Obesity Epidemic. Nutrition Source, 2012
Finkelstein EA, Trogdon JG, Cohen JW, Dietz W. Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer- and Service-specific Estimates. Health Affairs, 28(5): w822-831, 2009.
Marder W and Chang S. Childhood Obesity: Costs, Treatment Patterns, Disparities in Care, and Prevalent Medical Conditions. Thomson Medstat Research Brief, 2006