Fruit is an essential part of any diet, especially for growing children. A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics shows just how much fruit US kids are eating- and which they prefer above all other.
The results showed that apples make up 18.9 percent of total fruit intake for kids aged two to nineteen consume- by far the leading contender. Why apples?
The researchers believe that the kids choose apples over other fruits because they are easy to pack and taste sweet. Parents should encourage this trend to continue. Apples contain many essential vitamins and nutrients plus five grams of fiber. Fiber is necessary for growing bodies in that it helps regulate insulin levels and prevents against intestinal disease. Moreover, an apple only has 50-80 calories as well as zero fat and zero sodium. This makes apples one of the healthiest snacks a kid can eat.
Researchers examined more than 3000 responses by children and teenagers to the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Apples, fruit juices, and bananas account for nearly half of all the fruit eaten by young people today.
The best news of the study was that, all told, American kids eat about 1.25 servings of fruit each day- a figure that is comfortably within the recommendation of one to two servings a day.
Yet researchers are concerned with the manner in which children are consuming fruit. 53 percent of the fruit eaten was in the form of whole fruit; 34 percent was fruit juices.
“Young children may find it difficult to chew a whole hard fruit, or eat it with the skin,” said Eva Almiron-Roig, a Dietary Assessment Research Scientist at MRC Human Nutrition Research in Cambridge, U.K. “There is also the issue about… whether soda may squeeze out fruit juice consumption in older children or children from specific ethnic backgrounds.”
Many studies have shown the benefits of eating whole fruits and the possible negative consequences of eating fruit juices or fruit mixed in with other things. Both of these add sugar, sodium, and fat all the while losing some of the valuable nutrients fruit are supposed to offer humans.
“Liquid forms of calories have been shown to bypass many satiety cues and may contribute to excess caloric intake because people may not compensate for calories consumed in liquid form,” said the study’s authors.
Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables is essential for having a healthy well-balanced diet.