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Decoding Juice-Box Labels

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Decoding Juice-Box Labels

There are more and more juice and flavored beverage options lining the shelves to offer your kids. Let’s take some time to understand the labels, so you can make the best choice for your family! 

"No sugar added"

This means the drink “cannot be processed with any sugar or sugar-containing ingredients”, however this does not mean the juice is sugar free. Fruit contains natural sugars that are still included. 

"100% fruit juice"

This nutrition label is for juice that is directly pressed from a whole fruit or vegetable AND can also be reconstituted juice from juice concentrate, as long as it is similar enough in composition to the original fruit juice.  

"Juice from concentrate"

This is juice with water removed so it is easier to store and ship. In the processing, some nutrition, such as vitamin C, can be degraded. If it is reconstituted to a similar composition as the original fruit juice, it is considered a ‘no sugar added’ beverage. 

"Organic" Juice

The ‘organic’ label is a certification for farming, growing, and processing practices of produce. While there is some evidence that organic produce may contain slightly more nutritional value, measurable long term health benefits appear to be negligible.  

So what do the experts say? The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 consider 100% fruit juice a source of fruit and beverage that can contribute beneficial nutrients in the diet of children older than 1 year old. Consuming whole fruits and having plenty of water can also be great ways to stay hydrated in warmer weather.  

 For a fun activity, try making fun juice drinks with 100% fruit juice, flat or seltzer water, and pieces of whole frozen fruit for “ice cubes”! 

Resources: 

1. Clemens R, Drewnowski A, Ferruzzi MG, Toner CD, Welland D. Squeezing fact from fiction about 100% fruit juice. Adv Nutr. 2015;6(2):236S-243S. Published 2015 Mar 13. doi:10.3945/an.114.007328  

2. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at DietaryGuidelines.gov. 

3. What Does "No Sugar Added" Mean?: Winston & Strawn Law Glossary. Winston & Strawn. https://www.winston.com/en/legal-glossary/no-sugar-added.html#:~:text=The%20FDA%20provides%20specific%20labeling,sugar%20alcohol%20or%20artificial%20sweeteners. Accessed July 24, 2021.  

4. Watson S. Organic food no more nutritious than conventionally grown food. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/organic-food-no-more-nutritious-than-conventionally-grown-food-201209055264. Published September 5, 2012. Accessed July 24, 2021

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