Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whole fruit vs juice

You may be aware that the CACFP (and the American Academy of Pediatrics) encourages limiting juice to one serving per day for children. I get many people asking me why this is the case. The main reason is that fruit contains healthy fiber that is not found in juice. This healthy fiber is one reason why fruit is more filling and keeps a child fuller longer. Also, calories from liquids don't curb your appetite like calories from solid foods, so it is easy to eat more calories than you need by "drinking" them. In addition, most children (and adults) do not get enough fiber every day and serving fruit instead of juice is a great way to get more.

Need more convincing? Plants put a lot of potent natural compounds into the outer layer of their fruit. This is meant to protect the plant's seeds from predators and from the environment. The bonus for us is that these natural compounds are good for our bodies. The phytochemicals and antioxidants found in fruits are thought to decrease our risk of certain chronic diseases. When fruit is processed into juice, many of these antioxidants are destroyed. There is also further loss when the juice is stored for long periods of time.

1 cup orange juice - 110 calories, 0 g fiber, 137% vitamin C req. for the day
1 large orange- 85 calories, 4 g fiber, 163% vitamin C req. for the day

It all adds up, fruit is the wiser choice for better nutrition!

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