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Is That Right? Fruit2day: A New Way to Eat Fruit

Is downing a Fruit2day fruit drink really the same as eating two servings of fruit?

Close, but not quite.


Four flavors of Fruit2day were introduced in the U.S. in May after having gained a following in Europe. The bottles, shaped like two round pieces of fruit stacked one atop the other, hold 200 milliliters of fruit juice, pureed fruit and actual bits of fruit. The Web site says Fruit2day, which you find in the refrigerated cut-fruit section at the grocery store ($3.79 per two-pack), is a snack that's meant to be sipped and chewed, and that one bottle supplies two servings of fruit.

The federal government defines a "serving" of fruit as about half a cup of sliced fruit. Since 200 milliliters equals just about .85 of a cup, each of the two servings of fruit a bottle of Fruit2day contains measures about .42, or just under half a cup. The Fruit2day Web site notes that pureeing some of the fruit allows for cramming more fruit into a smaller space.

I used NutritionData.com to compare Fruit2day's nutrition facts to those of whole fruits. Overall, Fruit2day stacked up pretty well, notwithstanding a few quibbles.

The strawberry-orange variety has 110 calories, 1 gram of fiber, 4 percent of the Daily Value for Vitamin A, 120 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 2 percent of the DV for calcium and 4 percent of the DV for iron. I had to call the manufacturer for the potassium content, which isn't listed on the label: this variety has 200 milligrams.

Compare that to eating a half-cup of strawberry halves and a half-cup of orange sections. That combo yields 68 calories, 3.5 grams of fiber, 4 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 155 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 4.5 percent of the DV for calcium and 2 percent of the DV for iron. The total potassium is 279 milligrams.

So, for 32 fewer calories, the real-fruit option provides 3.5 times the fiber and quite a bit more Vitamin C than Fruit2day.

The cherry-grape mix, which, at 120 calories, offers only 1 gram of fiber, no Vitamin A, 90 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, no calcium, 6 percent of the DV for iron, and 295 milligrams of potassium.

Compare that to the 80 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 2 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 12 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 1.5 percent of the DV for calcium, 2 percent of the DV for iron and 241 milligrams of potassium found in a half-cup of pitted sweet cherries and a half-cup of grapes.

That last one got me wondering where all that Vitamin C in the Fruit2day came from, as it's clearly not coming from the cherries or grapes. The top three ingredients listed on the label are apple juice, banana puree and pear pieces (odd, right, for a cherry-grape blend?). Of those, only pears contain Vitamin C, but nowhere close to 90 percent of the DV.

Lisa Drayer, a registered dietitian affiliated with Fruit2day, explains that the high Vitamin C content is attributable to the acerola cherry juice that's used in all the formulations; turns out this variety is packed with that vitamin.

In any case, Fruit2day is certainly better than most sweetened fruit juices and way better than no fruit at all. On those occasions when you don't have time to shop for, wash and peel fresh fruit, grabbing a Fruit2day seems like a reasonable thing to do. Just be aware that you won't be getting all the vitamins and fiber whole fruit provides -- and, aside from the delicious taste, fiber and vitamins are the main reasons to eat fruit.

See how the other varieties of Fruit2day match up against whole fruits, after the jump.

Here are the numbers for the other Fruit2day offerings: The pineapple-banana blend, at 120 calories, offers 1 gram of fiber, 2 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 160 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 2 percent of the DV for calcium, 4 percent of the DV for iron and 300 milligrams of potassium.

A half-cup of fresh pineapple chunks plus a half cup of sliced banana totals 107 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber, 2 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 76 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 1.5 percent of the DV for calcium, 2.5 percent of the DV for iron and a whopping 493 milligrams of potassium.

The mango-peach combo fares okay in comparison to its whole-fruit counterpart. The Fruit2day version, at 120 calories, offers 2 grams of fiber, 40 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 60 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 2 percent of the DV for calcium, 6 percent of the DV for iron and 95 milligrams of potassium.

A half-cup apiece of sliced mango and peach totals 84 calories, 2.5 grams of fiber, 17.5 percent of the DV for Vitamin A, 47 percent of the DV for Vitamin C, 1.5 percent of the DV for calcium, 1.5 percent of the DV for iron and 294 milligrams of potassium.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  |  July 10, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Is That Right?  
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Comments

Plastic bottles are made of oil, a natural resource so scarce that the United States is considering drilling in a wildlife refuge to obtain more. From an environmental standpoint, buying whole fruit is therefore much better than buying products like Fruit2day that come in plastic bottles.

Regarding the notion that grabbing a Fruit2day is "a reasonable thing to do" when there isn't time to prepare fresh fruit, do people really find it that time-consuming to peel a banana or rinse an apple? One could just as well argue that removing the cap from a bottle of Fruit2day is time-consuming.

Given the environmental costs of Fruit2day and the ease of consuming whole fruit, I cannot see any justification for this product.

Posted by: katz3 | July 12, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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