Study Finds Preschoolers Who Drink Juice or Milk Have Higher-Quality Diets Than Non-Drinkers

A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports a growing body of evidence that children who drink 100% juice have healthier diets than those who don’t drink juice, and reaffirms previous research.

The study, which took place in Texas over a two-year period, examined meal and beverage selections in the diets of over 600 preschool-aged children with packed lunches. Researchers found that 100% juice-drinkers consumed higher overall amounts of total fruit and dairy, compared to children who consumed other beverages (such as milk, flavored milk and fruit drinks) with their lunch. This means that the parents who packed 100% fruit juice in their children’s lunch also packed more fruits and dairy. The Healthy Eating Index scores, which rate diets based on US Dietary Guideline recommendations, supported these findings.

Further research has also demonstrated the link between drinking 100% juice and high-quality diets.  A 2011 study published in Nutrition Journal showed that 100% juice drinkers have equal or even higher intakes of fiber, as well as lower intakes of saturated fat, total fat, sodium and added sugar than non-juice drinkers. Additionally, the US Dietary Guidelines continue to include 100% juice as nutritionally equivalent to one serving of whole fruit.  Based on these findings, 100% fruit juice can serve as a smart and nutritious addition to your children’s lunch.