New Orange Juice Ranking Consistent With Science, But Some Stars Don’t Matchv
The decision to rate 100 percent orange juice as less healthy than Diet Coke sparked heated debate among parents, nutritionists and the juice industry about why the change was necessary.
In its most recent review, the Australian-New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation decided to focus more on the amount of sugar in foods when calculating health ratings (HSRs).
For one parent, Becky Noordink, a mother of three boys from Western Australia’s Greater Southern Region, the new ranking is confusing because consumers believe 100 percent juice is healthier than soft drinks.
No stars from mom
But Ms Noordink said she stopped using health stars a long time ago because I just discovered too many inconsistencies.
But she agreed that feeding her children whole fruit provided more nutritional value than juice. I would not use juice as a primary source of health, she said. But I would definitely say that if you have to choose between soda and pure fruit juice, choose fruit juice every time.
Water the gold standard
Simone Austin, an accredited dietitian and senior nutritional advisor for Australian Dietitians, said more education is needed on how to use the HSR system.
The system is for packaged foods and should be used for foods that have multiple ingredients, like breakfast cereals, she said. The algorithm really looks at sugar, so the most important thing to remember in this category is that water is the gold standard. Orange juice thickens, which means it contains more sugar and loses vitamins, fiber, and beneficial plant compounds during storage and packaging.
Ms Austin said portion size was an issue when it came to fruit juice. According to Australia’s nutritional guidelines, a serving of fruit juice is 125 milliliters, so if you drink more of that per day, you are drinking a lot of sugar, she said. In general, I would say that 125 ml of 100% fruit juice would be my preference over soft drinks, but that is an individual question.
Sugar on radar
Jane Martin, executive manager of the Coalition for Obesity Policy, said the revised juice ranking is now in line with scientific evidence. Her group participated in the development and consultancy of the HSR system in 2014.
According to Martin, the public does not understand that juice contains a lot of sugar. Thus, the new ranking will take into account the amount of sugar in these products. 100% fruit juice now has a lower HSR rating compared to diet soft drinks. Manufacturers can choose whether to add stars to their markings. Ms Martin said the system isn’t perfect, but helps inform shoppers when comparing brands.
The evidence for diet drinks changes over time, and I’m not sure how the modeling will evolve because the health ratings are based on sugar, she said. So it is likely that there will be a spread and some lower fruit juice drinks will rank well. Further adjustments to diet soft drinks may be required.
Pulp juicer logo
Nippy’s Group Managing Director Jeff Knispel said the new rating would send a negative signal and confuse consumers. According to him, we intend to remove the logo.
It would be very bad to run our business if we left a negative message or if we continue and instead of giving five stars on our packaging as a health rating, we will give two. For the rest of my life, I cannot understand why if you take fruits and vegetables, extract the juice from them and put them in a package, they turn from a healthy product to an unhealthy one.
I don’t know what changed in the logic of the people making these decisions, but until now, orange or vegetable juice without added sugar was 5/5, and now it is 2/5. Thus, he went from completely healthy to unhealthy 2/5. I guess the general public will find this unhealthy.