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New study finds that 100 % fruit juice:

  • Accounts for up to 26 % of children’s vitamin C intake, and up to 19 % in adults
  • Contributes up to 4 % of daily potassium, which supports normal blood pressure
  • Provides up to 7 % of daily intake of folate which supports a healthy pregnancy
  • Only contributes up to 14 % of free sugar in people’s daily diets, compared with up to 92% from products containing added sugar such as soft drinks, biscuits, sweets, chocolate and cakes
Fruit juice provides up to a quarter of Vitamin C intake, according to a new study
(Photo: Fruit Juice Science Centre)

Drinking 100 % fruit juice has a negligible impact on daily calories but accounts for up to a quarter of children’s vitamin C intake and is an important source of other vital nutrients, according to a new study1 which highlights the importance of juice in a healthy diet.

Because fruit juice contains natural sugar, some policy makers and researchers have expressed concern that it could lead to weight gain, if consumed regularly. But a new analysis of national dietary surveys across 14 European countries for which data were available, found that people who drink fruit juice consume on average just 137 g per day, lower than the recommended serving size of 150 – 200 ml2 that exists in some countries.

This equated to just 20 – 40kcal per day, or 1 – 2 % of a child’s or adult’s average daily energy intake, which would not be expected to have an impact on body weight.

In contrast, the average daily serving of 100 % fruit juice across each age group across Europe was enough to make a significant contribution to daily intakes of vitamin C, which is vital for immune function and boosts iron absorption.

The study, published in the journal, Nutrition Research Reviews, found that fruit juice was responsible for 4 – 20 % of daily vitamin C intake in infants, 6 – 26 % in children, 8 – 20 % in teenagers, 8 – 19 % in adults and 6 – 19 % in older adults.

The study’s lead author, Dr Janette Walton from Munster Technological University in Cork, said: “Fruit juice is a major contributor to vitamin C intakes in children and adults. Given that too few people eat the recommended 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables, fruit juice is a convenient and nutritious food in the diet”.

The researchers also found that fruit juice accounted for 2 – 4 % of daily potassium, which supports normal blood pressure and has been found to be lacking in people’s diets according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and 1 – 7 % of daily intake of folate which supports a healthy pregnancy and is commonly too low in the diets of most women of childbearing age.

Meanwhile, the natural sugar in 100 % fruit juice, which comes entirely from the fruit, contributed to just 2 – 14 % of free sugar in people’s daily diets, compared with 48 – 92 % which is estimated to come from “optional” products containing added sugar such as soft drinks, biscuits, sweets, chocolate and cakes.

Fruit juice provides up to a quarter of Vitamin C intake, according to a new study
(Photo: Fruit Juice Science Centre)

Unlike sodas, nectars or other drinks, 100 % fruit juice never contains added sugars and cannot be diluted with water under European law.

Dr Walton continued: “Our findings showed only a modest contribution of fruit juice to free sugars. In contrast, a recent review found that sweet foods and drinks with added sugars are the major sources of added sugars across Europe, contributing half to more than 90 % of intakes).

“This highlights the importance of targeting sugar reduction strategies for discretionary/’top-shelf’ foods which are not recommended in food-based dietary guidelines. Unlike fruit juice whose composition is controlled by law, these types of products can be legally reformulated to reduce their sugar content”.

More broadly, the authors of the study highlighted the lack of data on 100% fruit juice consumption in many countries in Europe, such as Germany, which they said makes it difficult to set Europe-wide policies without an accurate view of normal consumption levels.

1Walton J & Kehoe L (2024) Current perspectives and challenges in the estimation of fruit juice consumption across the lifecycle in Europe – PubMed (
2Equivalent to 150 – 200 g since 1 gram = 1 ml.

A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that on average only 12 percent of U.S. adults meet fruit intake and only 10 percent meet vegetable intake recommendations as outlined in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Low intakes may put Americans at increased risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

When looking at this data on the state level,1 the average percentage of adults meeting fruit intake recommendations ranged from 8.4 percent to 16.1 percent, and for vegetables ranged from 5.6 percent to 16.0 percent. The DGAs recommend 1.5 to 2 cup-equivalents of fruit daily for most adults. Although data differed by state, those with Hispanic ethnicity and women were more likely overall to meet fruit intake recommendations.

Low fruit and 100 % fruit juice intake may lead to lower intakes of key nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, and folate, as well as phytonutrients (naturally occurring plant compounds). These nutrients are essential in supporting immune system health and are associated with reduced risk for some chronic conditions. Intake of vitamin C declined 23 percent between 1999 and 2018, driven by decreases in consumption of 100 % fruit juice.2 While whole fruit is recommended, adding just one 8-ounce glass of 100 % orange juice to the daily diet can help fill nutrient and fruit intake gaps while overcoming many of the barriers to fruit intake, including availability, cost, and access. Orange juice and other 100 % fruit juices are readily available year-round and are a cost-effective and convenient way for Americans to move the needle closer to meeting fruit intake recommendations.3

The current analysis by the CDC included data from 294,566 adults aged 18 and older collected as part of the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system (BRFSS). Data were reported for 49 states and the District of Columbia. Respondents reported their intake per day, week, or month of vegetables and fruit, including 100 % fruit juice, over the previous 30 days.

1Lee et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(1):1-9
2Brauchla et al. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):420
3Brauchla et al. Public Health Nutrition. 2021; Feb 8;1-7

While whole fruit consumption increased in children between 2003 and 2016, the intake of several important nutrients decreased over time, a new study shows. Adding 100 % orange juice to the diet could help address this shortfall and bolster intake of other key nutrients.

A cross sectional analysis using the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data on children ages 2 to 18 found significantly higher intakes of whole fruit yet a significant decrease in the intake of folate, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin D, sodium, potassium, iron and zinc over these time periods.

The FDOC-funded study published in the International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition in July, found that from 2003-2016, the amount of all 100 % fruit juice consumed decreased 44 percent while the percentage of total fruit consumed from whole fruit increased from about 45 percent in 2003 to 65 percent in 2016.

However, the intake of 100 % orange juice (and other 100 % fruit juices) was the likely food source(s) associated with increased consumption of calcium, potassium and phosphorus in certain populations at both time periods (2003 and 2016) and OJ consumers tended to have lower intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages.

The researchers suggest that a possible strategy to decrease inadequate intake of calcium, potassium, and phosphorus is to increase the consumption of 100 % orange juice and other 100 % fruit juice and decrease the consumption of sweetened beverages and coffee/tea.

“Potassium and calcium are under consumed by Americans and have been deemed nutrients of public health concern. These nutrients are important for growing children and 100 % orange juice, particularly calcium-fortified juice, can help enhance the intake of these and other key nutrients,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, Director of Scientific Research for the Florida Department of Citrus.

Further, vitamin C intake in children has decreased over time and more children have inadequate intake levels. While not linked directly to the decreased consumption of 100 % fruit juice, the results suggest that the increased intake of whole fruit is not adequately addressing vitamin C shortfalls.

Adding 100 % orange juice to the diet, in appropriate amounts as outlined by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), can help address the shortfalls or gaps in the intakes of folate, thiamin, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin D in fortified juices. The AAP guidelines suggest limiting portions of 100 % fruit juice to 4 oz. a day for children 1 to 3, 4 to 6 oz. a day for children 4 to 6 and 8 oz. a day for children 7 to 18.

More research is needed to determine the best way to support childhood nutrition. FDOC’s Scientific Research Department has several ongoing projects with researchers to examine the role of 100 % orange juice in the diets of children and adolescents.


Although there is strong evidence that consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced rate of all-cause mortality, only a minority of the population consumes 5 servings a day, and campaigns to increase intake have had limited success. This review examines whether encouraging the consumption of fruit juice might offer a step toward the 5-a-day target. Reasons given for not consuming whole fruit involve practicalities, inconvenience, and the effort required. Psychologically, what is important is not only basic information about health, but how individuals interpret their ability to implement that information. It has been argued that fruit juice avoids the problems that commonly prevent fruit consumption and thus provides a practical means of increasing intake and benefitting health through an approach with which the population can readily engage. Those arguing against consuming fruit juice emphasize that it is a source of sugar lacking fiber, yet juice provides nutrients such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and polyphenols that offer health-related benefits. Actively encouraging the daily consumption of fruit juice in public health policy could help populations achieve the 5-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetable intake.

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Source: Oxford Academic