Written by UConn Dietetics student Emma Harvey
When adding fruit to the diet make sure to grab a whole fruit instead of the juice. While a 100% fruit juice can be a convenient and tasty way to get some vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in the fruit, the juice contains less fiber, is less filling, and can increase the calories you take in, plus raise the risk for diabetes if additional sugars are added.
When fruit juice is processed, the pulp and skin that supply us with healthy-for-us fiber are discarded but the sugar becomes more concentrated in the juice than the whole fruit which increases our calorie intake. Fiber in both soluble and insoluble forms are important additions to the diet, helping lower our risk for heart disease and diabetes. Soluble fiber can keep us feeling full longer and can also help us regulate our blood sugar levels. Insoluble fiber is like a “scrub brush” for our GI tract, promoting digestion and helping to keep us regular. Most Americans only get around 15 grams a day. Adult women should try to eat at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day. Kids 1-18 years of age have varying fiber recommendations but range from 10-35 grams per day1. It’s a good conversation to have with your child’s pediatrician or a dietitian. Whole fruits are an excellent source of fiber.
Easy Way to Add Whole Fruits to Diet
Make a smoothie! Smoothies keep all nutrients from the whole fruit and are fun to make and drink.
Berry Smoothie Recipe
- Put ingredients in a blender and pulse until completely blended smooth.
- ¾ cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 medium frozen banana
- ½ cup low fat plain yogurt
- ½ cup low fat milk or milk alternative
- How Much Fiber do Children Need. December 30, 2020 / Diet, Food & Fitness. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/figuring-dietary-fiber-child-need/. Accessed February 22, 2022
- News briefs: Eating fruit is better for you than drinking fruit juice. December 1, 2013 / Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/news-briefs-eating-fruit-is-better-for-you-than-drinking-fruit-juice. Accessed February 18 2022
- Nutrition and healthy eating. October 9, 2021 / Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/juicing/faq-20058020#:~:text=Juicing%20is%20no%20healthier%20than%20eating%20whole%20fruits%20and%20vegetables.&text=The%20liquid%20contains%20most%20of,is%20lost%20during%20most%20juicing. Accessed February 18, 2022
This material is funded by UDSA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
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