The findings still need to be confirmed in human studies, cautions the study's lead author, Raymond P. Glahn, Ph.D., a physiologist/nutritionist with the USDA's Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, located on the Cornell campus in Ithaca, N.Y. The study, which appears in the Nov. 6 issue of the journal, is the first comparative analysis among juices for iron uptake ability. The journal is published by the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
While reducing iron can be beneficial for adults with certain medical conditions that involve excess iron, the same isn't necessarily true for young children. Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to mental, physical and behavioral impairment, particularly in infants and toddlers, say the researchers.
While iron-deficiency anemia is a major problem among children worldwide, youngsters in the United States are largely spared this problem by iron fortification of cereals, formulas and other foods, according to nutrition experts. Many children in this country, however, still do not get enough iron, notes Glahn.
Nonetheless, Glahn does not advocate removing dark grape juice from children's diets. Instead, he suggests limiting the amount.
"Since we don't know how much grape juice you have to drink to have an effect, I recommend alternating between dark and light juices. Don't just drink dark juices all the time," Glahn says.