I can't recall a time when Miss E hasn't been pestering me for a glass of juice. Even at nearly 10 years of age it is her drink of choice. No fizzy pop for her, she just isn't interested but 100% pure unsweetened juice or maybe a homemade smoothie and she is as happy as Larry (whoever he is!).
She affectionately calls OJ her 'brain juice' and insists on having a glass of it at breakfast as one of her recommended 5-a-day. I've always been happy with this as combined with a bowl of porridge or weetabix and milk it is a healthy breakfast that helps her stay full and focused on learning until her break time at school.
Research (1) shows that only 8% of 11-18 year olds achieve their minimum 5-a-day consumption of fruit and vegetables, so a small glass (150ml) of pure juice is a nice easy way to fill one of those five slots and perfectly I've found that 150ml fits in the empty Nutella glass nicely and makes it easy for Miss E to be able to measure out her own drink in the morning.
I expect most of us know too that vitamin C when taken at the same time as foods containing iron helps with the absorption of iron which is essential for the effective transfer of oxygen around the body and is also for a healthy immune system.
Of course I've seen some of the sensationalist articles about sugar being the root of all evil and I realise there are some people turning their backs on juice as they worry about the sugar content but I believe natural, unrefined sugar, like that found is fruit is not to be avoided and at 60-80 calories for the 150ml glass, that is only around 5% of the 1800 calories a day my daughter needs.
Research (2) has also shown that fruit juice drinkers are 42% more likely to meet their 5-a-day target and with only 8% of 11-18 years olds meeting that currently it could be a big edge towards more children achieving that healthy goal. Of course it doesn't have to be to the detriment of eating whole fruit and vegetables either, no-one is going to complaint if a child hits 6, 7 or even 10 portions of fruit and veg in a day.
It's also important to note that consumers of pure fruit juice have lower odds of developing obesity, and were leaner compared to people who don’t drink fruit juice. They were also shown to have better insulin sensitivity and were less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome (3).
When Miss E was younger I spoke to our dentist about her love of fruit juice (in moderation) and he said not to avoid drinking pure fruit juice even though she had underdeveloped enamel on her baby teeth. He told us that she should enjoy her glass of juice each day but to drink water afterwards and swill it around her mouth if she wasn't somewhere where she could brush her teeth, so that is what we have done and she has all her teeth still and is a slim and active child.
For as long as my children keep enjoying juice I will continue to buy it and offer them 100% pure juice as a part of their healthy and varied diet and to be honest our family Christmas breakfast wouldn't be the same if we didn't have OJ as part of our tradition of pancakes, scrambled eggs and crispy bacon with maple syrup - yum!
Disclosure: I’m working in a paid relationship with the British Fruit Juice Association on their #FruitJuiceBoost campaign. Discover the benefits of 100% fruit juice in your children’s diet at the BFJA website.
1) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Results from Years 5-6 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2012/13 – 2013/14) - See more at: https://www.foodmatterslive.com/news-and-comment/comment/The-British-Fruit-Juice-Association-discuss-the-role-of-fruit-juice-in-the-diet#sthash.yIWQLV1h.dpuf
2) Fruit juice consumption is associated with intakes of whole fruit and vegetables, as well as non-milk extrinsic sugars: a secondary analysis of the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) by S. Gibson, Registered Nutritionist, SiG-Nurture Ltd, 11 Woodway, Guildford GU1 2TF and C.H.S. Ruxton, Freelance Dietitian, Nutrition Communications, Cupar KY15 4HQ
3) Pereira, M & Fulgoni, V. L., (2010) Consumption of 100% Fruit Juice and Risk of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2004. J Am Coll Nutr. 2010 Dec; 29(6):625-9. p 625. - See more at: https://www.foodmatterslive.com/news-and-comment/comment/The-British-Fruit-Juice-Association-discuss-the-role-of-fruit-juice-in-the-diet#sthash.MHUBKLgl.dpuf