Monday, October 15, 2012

Juice Abuse: Thirsy for the Answers?

I am excited to feature today's post by guest blogger, Jacquelyn Scott! Jacquelyn is an accomplished registered dietitian.  She earned her Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition from the University of Memphis and worked for several years at LeBonheur Children's Hospital.  Jacquelyn's experience includes health and nutrition education, motivational interviewing, weight management counseling, and comprehensive general nutrition education.  She has also been awarded for her work and has presented her scientific research on a national stage!

Today she highlights the difference between fresh fruit and fresh juice, enjoy!

Juice Abuse

"Juice is healthy because it's a fruit, right?"  As a registered dietitian, this is a question I get all the time.  It is true that the average child needs 1 ½ cups of fruit a day (2 cups per day for adults), and it is true that 100% fruit juice can count as a serving of fruit.  However, while 100% fruit juice can provide vitamins and minerals, it fails to provide some important benefits of whole fruit. 

Think about it – will drinking 4 ounces of fruit juice (1/2 cup) fill you up as much as eating an orange?  Any fruit with an edible peel, pith, or pulp is packed with dietary fiber.  Not only does fiber fill you up faster, it lingers in the stomach after other substances have emptied into your intestines, so it keeps you feeling full longer.  We also tend to eat whole fruit more slowly than we drink a few ounces of juice, so the enjoyment is prolonged and we stay satisfied longer.  That same dietary fiber can help control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and lower your risk of heart disease.  

Have a kiddo who shys away from fruit?  Keep it fun, and approach every food with a positive attitude.  If your child is threatened to eat his fruit or hears her mom say "I don't like fruit, it's gross," then the child is much less likely to try new fruits.  Freeze fruits like grapes and melon slices for a refreshing snack after sports practice.  Make a healthy banana split for dessert with a sliced banana and ½ cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, then top it with a raspberry.  Now, go forth and be fruit-full! 

Jacquelyn Scott, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC
Pediatric Dietitian

Have nutrition questions for Jacquelyn?  Leave a comment and she'll get back to you with the answer!

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