These facts may actually shock you… most people think that consuming this is will help them lose weight. However many nutritionists advise against it. Research has shown that a glass of fruit juice typically contains as much calories as a glass of soda… Yes that’s right, fruit juice can actually be very fattening! Many juices also contain a high level of fructose which has been associated with obesity, due to its rapid conversion to fat. There is, however, a difference in the natural fructose present in fruit juice compared to the quite toxic high fructose corn syrup used to sweeten many brands of soda, but unfortunately, the natural fructose still goes directly to the liver where it metabolizes quickly. However, fruit juices which are consumed with the pulp still present are a slightly healthier option than the ‘smooth’ option. This is because a piece of fruit is rich in antioxidants, fiber and other important nutrients that work together to nourish the body.
Some, such as grape juice, still contain a reasonable amount of antioxidants then some other fruit juices, but nutrient levels greatly decrease between the time the fruit was harvested and when it will actually be consumed. Since many juices which are purchased are reconstituted from concentrate, their vitamin and mineral content is further decreased.
Similarly, an article written by the BBC News (UK), states that although fruit juices and smoothies seem to be a healthy choice, many dieticians warn against overconsumption of these. Figures show that the UK consumes approximately 2.2 billion litres of juice a year – which is approximately 36 litres for each person in the UK. Experts from the British Dietetic Association (BDA) state that people should eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables in combination. “It’s fine to have it as one of your portions, but it can’t count as all five – no matter how much you drink.” Says Dr Frankie Phillips of the BDA.
Research company, Mintel, examined the pure fruit juice market (both fresh and from concentrate), it also looked at drinks which contain a percentage of juice. The results obtained from the examination showed that apple and orange juice are still the most popular consumer choices. However, apple and orange can be among the worst culprits for this as you are not getting the effects of the fiber from the fruit, thereby making you feel not as satisfied after consumption. Also, the fiber in whole fruit tends to help slow the blood sugar response to the body, compared to consuming fruit juice alone.
James McCoy, a senior market analyst at Mintel states, “Trends towards healthier eating as well as an increasing interest in more natural, organic products, are key reasons for the phenomenal growth we have seen in this market.” But experts advise against this and say that fruit juices should not be over-consumed and rather should be used on the side of caution. Ursula Arens from the BDA states “Small quantities of fruit juice are a helpful way to get more vitamins, but the British diet is not particularly low in vitamin C. She goes on to say, “If you look at a typical serving size, you are getting a lot of calories very quickly. As being overweight is more of a public health problem than a shortage of vitamin C, people need to view these drinks with caution.”
In a nutshell the main message from nutritionists and dieticians is to drink fruit juices in moderation, unsweetened pure fruit juices can be considered as one of your ‘five a day’ but a variety of other vegetables and whole fruits are also needed to ensure that you are consuming a wide range of vitamins and nutrients.
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