New research published in the March/April issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion shows that teens who drink 100 percent fruit juice have more nutritious diets overall compared to non-consumers.
According to the findings, adolescents ages 12-18 that drank any amount of 100 percent fruit juice had lower intakes of total dietary fat and saturated fat and higher intakes of key nutrients, including Vitamins C and B6, folate, potassium and iron. Those who drank greater than six ounces of 100 percent juice a day also consumed more whole fruit and fewer added fats and sugars. Milk consumption was not affected by juice intake.
In addition, the study found no association between 100 percent fruit juice consumption and weight status in the nearly 4,000 adolescents examined - even among those who consumed the most juice.
According to the study's lead researcher, Dr. Theresa Nicklas of the USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine, encouraging consumption of nutrient-rich foods and beverages such as 100 percent juice is particularly critical during adolescence - a unique period of higher nutrient demands.
"One hundred percent juice is a smart choice," Nicklas said. "It provides important nutrients that growing teens need and the research consistently shows that drinking fruit juice is not linked to being overweight."
The study reinforces similar findings that Nicklas and colleagues have reported in younger children. Research published in the prestigious Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in 2008 showed that 100 percent juice consumption among children ages 2 to 11 years old was also associated with a more nutritious diet and similarly, was not linked to overweight.
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