Less Juice, Fewer Calories

Juice with sugar increases calories consumed

April 28, 2013 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

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(dailyRx News) Many people think of juice as a way to get their daily amount of fruits. But juice contains many extra calories that don't fill you up. Reducing juice intake could help reduce daily calories.

A recent study looked at whether reducing the juice allotments in a publicly funded program led low-income families to purchase less juice.

These researchers found that families did purchase less juice and did not appear to make up for the lost allotments through other drinks.

The program appeared to successfully reduce the amount of juice these families were drinking, thereby hopefully reducing their total daily calories.

"Drinking water is best."

The study, led by Tatiana Andreyeva, PhD, of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, looked at the effects of reducing juice allowances in the WIC program.

WIC refers to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. It is a program for low-income mothers of young children that provides allotments of certain foods.

In 2009, the WIC program reduced the allowances for juice by half because children aged 2 to 5 were already drinking more juice than recommended by the US Department of Agriculture.

The researchers gathered data from supermarket scanners for 2,137 households using WIC over two years.

They compared the number of beverages bought before the juice allowance change (from January to September 2009) to the number bought after the change (January to September 2010).

The researchers found that two thirds of all juice purchased by the families before the change was bought with the WIC program.

After the juice allowance was reduced, the families purchased 43.5 percent less juice, almost the same amount of the reduction in allowances.

There was only a 13.6 percent increase in juices bought with personal funds or otherwise not through WIC funds. This increase was made up of 20.9 percent more fruit drinks, 21.3 percent more non-carbonated drinks and 12.1 percent less soft drinks.

Overall, the families bought 23.5 percent less juice. This reduction was equivalent to about 182 ounces of juice per month, down from 238 ounces of juice per month before the change.

The researchers concluded that this shift in the families' purchases of juices could significantly reduce extra consumption of calories through juice.

The study was published April 29 in the journal Pediatrics. The research was funded by the Economic Research Services at the US Department of Agriculture. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
April 27, 2013
Last Updated:
November 8, 2013