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Orange juice isn't Coca-Cola

A recent Times article ignores a growing body of evidence that shows drinking fruit juice leads to positive health outcomes.

November 20, 2009|By Michael Rosenberg

I was surprised to read what looks to me like a commentary piece masquerading as a news article (“It’s time fruit juice loses its wholesome image, some experts say,” Nov. 8) in a newspaper known for its unbiased reporting on health and nutrition.

There are independent nutrition experts who see the juice glass as half full, but they were not quoted in this article. Nor was there any mention of the growing body of research, much of it published in respected medical and scientific journals, indicating the health benefits of drinking juice. These include new evidence that apple juice may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and that drinking pomegranate juice may help slow the progression of post-treatment prostrate cancer occurrence. The article's emotive language, such as saying that schools "peddle fruit juice in their cafeterias," seems more appropriate for a commentary piece than a front-page news article.

It is simply untrue to say that 100% fruit juice poses the same obesity-related health risks as soft drinks. High fructose corn syrup-based soft drinks contain more sugar than their juice counterparts, and they lack the fiber found in most fresh fruit juices. Moreover, most fresh juices have significant amounts of necessary nutrients, including potassium, vitamins C and A, iron and calcium, unlike soft drinks. According to a study in 2006 that looked at the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 7,500 children ages 2 through 18, drinking fruit juice is associated with a significantly lower, not higher, BMI than those who drank no juice at all.

No one is saying that anyone should drink a gallon of juice a day, but acclimatizing children to the taste of fresh fruit is entirely different from acclimatizing them to the taste of sugary sodas.

It would be a shame if The Times' article deprived children -- and parents -- of an enjoyable and delicious way of getting a daily serving of nutritious fruit.

Michael Rosenberg is co-owner of Santa Monica-based Evolution Fresh Juice.

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