Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Myth: I can just consume fruit and vegetable juices to meet the recommended servings for fruits and vegetables.

oranges and juice containerAnswer: Busted!

Several companies are currently advertising their juice products as healthy alternatives to meet the daily recommended servings for fruits and vegetables. Although juice can be considered a fruit or vegetable serving, the current recommendations are that only ½ cup of juice be counted as your daily servings for fruits and vegetables. Fruit and vegetable juices may be packed with all the necessary vitamins and minerals; however, these products have significantly less fiber than the actual fruit or vegetable itself.

Fiber has many health benefits, including lowering of blood cholesterol, maintaining a healthy GI system, and acting as a preventative against certain cancers. Today, it is estimated that the average American only meets around 50% of the recommended daily intake for fiber. Not only do these products lack fiber, they also tend to be high in sodium and have more calories than a piece of fruit or vegetable.

So, remember to:
  • Stick with whole fruits and vegetables that are packed with fiber.
  • Make sure you are getting the daily recommended servings and choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Get the recommended 20-35 grams of fiber per day.

Visit MissouriFamilies for recipes and ideas for adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Contributors: Andrea Cossetta, St. Louis University Dietetic Intern & Mary Wissmann, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, St. Louis County, University of Missouri Extension, WissmannM@missouri.edu

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