The Truth About 100% Fruit Juice: How to separate fact from fiction in the grocery aisle
By Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, CSSD, a member of Welch’s Health & Nutrition Advisory Panel.
If nutrition seems more complex than doing your taxes, and grocery shopping overwhelms you, you aren’t alone. Nutrition is a complicated science and one that is often miscommunicated in the media. Take 100% fruit juice for instance – should you drink it or opt for whole fruit instead? If you want to separate juice fact from fiction and make sure you’re making the most nutritious choice for you and your family, read on.
Fiction Juice is full of sugar and doesn’t fit into a healthy diet
Fact:Fruit is an important part of the diet because it provides vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients, such as polyphenols, that are beneficial for good health. Yet many Americans are not meeting the Dietary Guidelines for fruit servings: 1-2 cups of fruit per day. 100% juice can be a convenient, delicious and nutritious complement to whole fruit that helps you meet these guidelines. And, unlike sugar-sweetened beverages, 100% juice has no added sugar. Both whole fruit and 100% fruit juice contain only naturally occurring fruit sugars.
Fiction: You are better off eating the fruit instead of drinking 100% Juice.
Fact: Though 100% fruit juice should be a complement to whole fruit, in some instances 100% juice may provide more of certain nutrients than you can get by eating the fruit. For example, though 100% grape juice delivers the same polyphenols found in Concord grapes, these polyphenols are found in the grape’s thick skin and seeds, both of which are often thrown away when the fruit is eaten. However, when making 100% grape juice, whole Concord grapes are crushed–skin, seeds and all – to release these plant nutrients straight from the grape into the juice. And that’s important because, thanks to these polyphenols, 100% grape juice made from Concord grapes helps support a healthy heart.
Fiction:The most healthy and fresh options are in the refrigerated section
Fact: Both the refrigerated section and aisles in the middle of the store contain healthy 100% fruit juice options. The difference is that juices in the refrigerated section must be kept cold before opening while the ones found unrefrigerated in the aisles can be kept at room temperature until opened. The most important thing is not where your juice is located but what your juice is made from. Look for the term “100% juice” on the label, which means it delivers nutrition squeezed from the whole fruit, with no added sugar.
So, if you want to squeeze a little more nutrition into your diet, look for 100% fruit juice the next time you head to the grocery store. And think beyond your drink – 100% fruit juice can be used to add flavor, and good nutrition, to a variety of savory and sweet dishes.
For more about separating fact from fiction and getting the whole truth about 100% fruit juice, download this fact sheet. And to find heart-healthy recipes using Welch’s® 100% Grape Juice, click here.