Like many in this industry, my life revolves around Florida citrus. I start my day with a glass of orange juice and I spend my night fretting over the continued challenges our growers face. So, it’s no wonder we are all especially attuned to the negative headlines 100% fruit juice continues to receive.
- “Juice Is Basically Sugar Water”
- “If You Think Juice Is Good for You, You’re Wrong”
- “Fruit Juice Can Be Too Much of a Good Thing”
At times, the attack on fruit juice can feel personal. Many articles feature an image of orange juice, even when we’re not the focus of the story. And, too often, the nutritional information provided is inaccurate or misleading.
While it’s easy to get sidetracked by these headlines, we know they don’t tell the whole story on how health professionals and consumers feel regarding 100% orange juice. In recent one-on-one meetings with influential registered dietitians, we heard positive reactions when sharing research on the health benefits of 100% orange juice and almost across-the-board support for recommending orange juice as part of a healthy diet. In a recent survey of health professionals, 86% of respondents agreed that foods with naturally occurring sugar can still be healthy.
Among consumers, there’s also an understanding of health benefits. In a recent survey, 69% of Millennial moms said the nutrient content of 100% orange juice overrides concerns about sugar. And 68% of respondents said 100% orange juice is a great source of vitamins and nutrients.
In the news industry, there’s a saying, “if it bleeds, it leads.” Unfortunately for us, that often means those negative headlines on fruit juice are what people remember. But there are positive ones, as well.
In the spring, we saw widespread coverage of a recent study declaring that fruit juice, in moderation, is not tied to childhood obesity. And if you dig a little deeper than the news reports go, you’ll find more good news. In the American Academy of Pediatrics, new guidelines limiting the amount of juice children should consume, this nugget lay hidden among the report: “Because recent studies suggest that pure orange juice consumption has health benefits in adults, further research is needed to determine whether children and adolescents may derive similar benefits.”
At the end of the day, negative headlines will always exist. But, we must remember that health professionals and consumers also are looking for the facts. As we look ahead toward another season, we aim to continue our outreach to the health professionals who often serve as resources for the media and are influential in their fields as well as keep up our efforts to educate consumers.