FDOC Working For You: Building A Stronger Case For OJ

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Chances are you’ve seen some negative media coverage about orange juice over the past year, such as “Fruit juice contains as much sugar as Coke and Pepsi” and “100% fruit juice poses obesity-related health risks.” We know these stories confuse consumers and they also can erode trust in our product among influential health experts.

The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) proactively reaches out to registered dietitians, pediatric and family health experts, and even cardiologists to ensure these professionals have correct and current information about Florida orange juice.
As the direct link to consumers, health professionals can serve as positive advocates and a credible information resource to consumers who are having difficulty sorting out mixed media messages. Most importantly, they can remind consumers of the health and nutrition benefits of orange juice and recommend daily consumption as part of a healthy diet.

To The Heart Of The Matter

How do we provide health professionals with believable information about orange juice? The FDOC Scientific Research Department (SRD) sponsors clinical research to seek new evidence about the benefits of orange juice. For example, a recently completed FDOC-sponsored research study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggested that orange juice might be particularly supportive of heart health in men.
Analysis of cross-sectional data can be a cost-effective way to show associations of orange juice consumption and diet quality. An FDOC-sponsored review of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data showed that orange juice consumption was associated with better diet quality in both children and adults and a lower risk of being overweight and obese in adults. FDOC will present this analysis at the American Society of Nutrition annual meeting this month.

Doctor’s Orders

To optimize limited resources, FDOC also leverages information from other credible sources. The release of USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January and the upcoming revised MyPyramid food guidance system provide a timely platform to reinforce the importance of orange juice in the diet.
 
We continually monitor published scientific literature to identify relevant studies that support the health benefits of orange juice.
FDOC-sponsored research combined with additional emerging scientific information from credible sources continues to build a compelling body of evidence that supports the benefits of consuming orange juice every day.
 
Our communications team is in constant contact with health professionals to deliver new information about orange juice as it becomes available. Informed health professionals can be our greatest allies to deliver accurate information and positively impact the buying habits of millions of consumers every day.

Ken Keck is the immediate past acting director of the Florida Department of Citrus.

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