Potential Nutritional and Economic Effects of Replacing Juice with Fruit in the Diets of Children in the United States

This article estimates the potential improved nutrient intake when fruit juice is replaced with whole fruit in children’s diets. As whole fruit is typically more expensive, the associated cost increase is also reviewed.

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001 through 2004) were gathered from 24-hour dietary recall of 7,023 children and adolescents ages 3 to 18. The study used four substitution models of replacing juice with whole fruit either completely or partially. MyPyramid serving size equivalents were used when substituting the fruit portion sizes. Observed and projected differences were obtained for the following measures: energy intake, dietary fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and diet cost.

Key Findings:

Children who consumed juice (approximately 33%) had a projected reduction in energy intake, an increase in fiber, and an increase in diet cost when juice was substituted with whole fruit.
All four of the substitution models showed an increase in diet cost when fruit juice was replaced or partially replaced with whole fruit.
While this study only estimates the potential nutritional benefits of whole fruit over fruit juice, it demonstrates one way to help improve the nutrient intake in children's diets.