Adding moderate amounts of 100% fruit juice to your child’s diet may encourage them to eat more fruit, in general, have a healthier diet later in life suggests new research from Boston University.
- Consuming whole fruit brings significantly more health benefits than fruit juice.
- However, drinking 100% fruit juice in early childhood can promote higher fruit consumption later in life.
- It is also associated with healthier dietary patterns in teenage years, without causing weight gain.
No doubt, eating fruit is preferable over fruit juice, since it contains 90 % more nutritious fiber than fruit juice. Fiber makes people fuller and is crammed with antioxidants. However, freshly made 100% fruit juice contains vitamins and minerals and provides healthy alternatives to soda. It also adds variety to their diet. For example, if a child doesn’t want to eat a raw carrot, they may enjoy homemade apple-carrot juice.
A recent study investigated the impact of 100% fruit juice consumption in early childhood on future dietary patterns. The researchers monitored food intake, also the weight and height of all 100 children, aged 3-5 years old, for 10years.
Here are some of the correlations researchers found:
- When preschoolers drank more 100% fruit juice (up to 1 and a half cups per day) they were nearly 4 times more likely to meet Dietary Guideline recommendations, for fruit consumption, during teenage years than those preschoolers who drank less juice (less than half a cup per day).
- Fruit juice consumption wasn’t linked with any changes in Body Mass Index in children or adolescents.
- Children who drank more 100% fruit juice during preschool years maintained higher diet quality than those children with lower juice intakes at all ages.
“Fruit consumption, particularly whole fruit consumption, has many health benefits throughout the lifespan. Avoiding juice during these early formative years may have unintended effects on evolving dietary behaviors,” study authors say.