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Sunday, December 1, 2013

What is the difference between juice and a fruit “drink”?

In the nutrition classes I teach I find many people are very confused as to what a juice is and what is a fruit drink?  Many people buy a fruit drink and think they are getting 100% juice.  Something that is 100% juice has many nutritional benefits such as vitamins like vitamin A, C, and folate, minerals and antioxidants.  Fruit drinks may have none of these or the manufacturer might fool you and add something like vitamin C and you might think you are buying something healthy when it is mostly sugar water. 

Look at the items below and see if you can tell if it is a drink or a real juice?

Sunny D
Capri Sun
Juicy Juice
Pink Lemonade
Simply Orange
Hawaiian Punch
Sunland Fruit Drink

So how do you think you did?  How many times are you  in a grocery store and you see parents who  have loaded their cart with a case of Capri Sun?  Or instead of orange juice there is a gallon of Sunny D?  Some hints at knowing if it is a juice or drink:

Drink  - if it says “drink” anywhere on the label, it is not real juice.  Thus, Sunland Fruit Drink is not real juice.  Avoid Juice Drinks that have a small amount of juice but are mostly sugar water.  Avoid “juice cocktails” which may contain only small amounts of juice. 

Juice – but if it says “juice” it may not be 100% juice.  Manufacturers note the % juice on the label so you need to read the ingredients.

Drinks – Avoid These
Juice – choose these
Sunny D
Simply Orange – 100% juice
Tropicana Orange Juice
Sunland Fruit Drink
Vegetable juice
Hawaiian Punch
Cranberry, Blueberry,Acai Berry – choose low or no sugar juices
Naked Juice
Pink Lemonade
Capri Sun 100% juice
Capri Sun Juice Drink

How much juice should you drink?  
Kids – the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends:
Under 6 – no more than 4-6 ounces of juice a day
Ages 7-18-  AAP recommends 4-12 ounces a day

If your child wants more juice than this, add some sparkling water to 100% juice and dilute it. 

Want more information on great juices for your health?  WebMD has a great slide show on juices vs. drinks – well worth looking at.  See:  Juice Wars Slideshow: Best and Worst Vegetable and Fruit Juices
So the next time you are thirsty and at a convenience store or the grocery store, read the label.  Leave the Sunny D and Hi-C on the shelf and buy some 100% juice.  
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