New Study Finds Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Improves Energy Density and Overall Diet Quality

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A new study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, including 100% fruit juice, improved energy density and overall diet quality among 9 to 11 year olds. Using reported dietary recall data from a previous study, researchers calculated total food consumption (including energy density), as well as intake of fruits and vegetables.

Energy density describes the amount of calories (or energy) per gram of food. As the preteens studied increased their intake of fruit and vegetables, their consumption of energy-dense foods decreased, likely because the fruit and vegetables displaced energy-dense choices. Fruits and vegetables, including juice, can be an excellent source of vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, magnesium and many other nutrients, which explains why overall diet quality improved as consumption of fruits and vegetables increased.

The study “Improvement in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Associated with More Favorable Energy Density and Nutrient and Food Group Intake, but not Kilocalories,” was led by Dr. Debbe Thompson, a research nutritionist and associate professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.