Confessions of a Juice Drinker

RIMG6810You would have thought I had committed a heinous crime when I admitted to a group of women that I frequently drink orange juice in the morning.  I know that eating whole fruit is a better choice, but I like juice.

Their astonished comments were accompanied by what they thought was a known fact that there was lots of sugar in juice. OK I admit this. One eight-ounce glass of juice contains 21 grams of sugar. However, if you drink only pure 100% juice, then that sugar is all from the fruit itself, not added sugar.

After their admonishments, I’m still trying to convince myself that drinking juice is acceptable. One of my rationalizations is that I make an effort to seek out juice that has added calcium and vitamin D. At least I’m getting those extra nutrients.

I also admit that I like lots of pulp. The pulp in orange juice is real orange pulp, but it doesn’t amount to any significant fiber. That said, I still like it. The majority of orange juice sold is pulp free, so the pulp is actually removed at the beginning of the process and then added back into juices that have pulp.

It takes about three oranges to make a cup of juice. Juice allows for a lot of calories to be consumed quickly. There are 71 calories in one orange, yet 8 ounces of orange juice provides 112 calories. If I ate three oranges instead of drinking the juice, I certainly would feel a lot fuller! Part of that is due to the three grams of dietary fiber in each orange.RIMG6848

It seems I’m not the only person who likes juice. According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 1/3 of all fruit consumption in America is in the form of juice. The most commonly consumed fruit juices are orange, apple, and grape.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we “shift to mostly whole fruits, in nutrient-dense forms.” The guidelines also say that “although fruit juice can be part of a healthy eating pattern, it is lower than whole fruit in dietary fiber and when consumed in excess can contribute extra calories. Therefore, at least half of the recommended amount of fruit eaten daily should come from whole fruits.” They also go on to say that when juices are consumed, they should be 100% juice, without added sugar.

Here’s a tip when it comes to children and juice: the amount of fruit juice allowed in the USDA Food Patterns for young children aligns with the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Young children should consume no more than 4 to 6 ounces of 100% fruit juice per day.

RIMG6844Let’s end with a comparison:

Whole fruit: offers fewer calories for the satiety it provides, features more dietary fiber, takes longer to eat and therefore provides more eating satisfaction

Juice: offers a quick and easy way to reach daily fruit servings and could be enriched with needed nutrients

Here are the take home messages:

  • Seek moderation in all things.
  • Watch the amount of juice consumed.
  • Make that “shift” to whole fruit whenever possible.

Some habits are hard to break.

By Cheryle Jones Syracuse, MS, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University

PS Here’s a printable handout that features the highlights of today’s post.

Juice

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updated on 11-20-2019