The role of fruit juice in the diet: an overview


Heather Caswell, Nutrition Scientist, British Nutrition Foundation, High Holborn House, 52-54 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6RQ, UK.


Over recent years, consumers have shown an increasing interest in health and wellbeing, with many wanting food and drink products that are healthy and nutritious, yet fit in with busy lifestyles. Fruit juice is one beverage that has seen a dramatic increase in consumer purchasing since the 1970s, and is now consumed by nearly half the UK population. While the beneficial effects of consuming diets rich in fruit and vegetables are well documented, the specific health effects of consuming fruit juice are less so. Further, the role of fruit juice in conditions such as obesity has also recently come under scrutiny, due to questions over how liquid calories affect subsequent energy intake. Limitations in the literature in this area include a lack of studies looking at different types of fruit juices and their effects on health, as well as studies that differentiate fruit juice from fruit and vegetable intake. Consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables (to which fruit juice can count once towards the 5 A DAY target) can help to reduce an individual's risk of suffering from a variety of chronic diseases, and should therefore be encouraged.