Pablo Monsivais and Colin D. Rehm of the University of Washington, Seattle; and U.K. Clinical Research Collaboration Centre for Diet and Activity Research in Cambridge, England, said the secondary analyses used the 2001-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey involving U.S. data.
Energy intake, nutrient intake and diet costs were estimated before and after fruit juices were completely replaced with fruit in three models that emphasized fruits that were fresh, inexpensive and widely consumed, the researchers said. In a fourth model, the researchers partially replaced juice with fruit, and capped juice at recommended levels.
The study involved a total of 7,023 children ages 3-18.
The study, published in the Archives Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine found replacement of all juice servings with fresh, whole fruit led to a projected reduction in dietary calories and an increase in fiber consumption, but also an increase of 13 percent per serving in the diet cost.
"Substitution of juice with fresh fruit has the potential to reduce energy intake and improve the adequacy of fiber intake in children's diets," the researchers said in a statement. "This would likely increase costs for schools, childcare providers and families. These cost effects could be minimized by selecting processed fruits, but fewer nutritional gains would be achieved."