KARACHI: Drinking fruit juice is potentially just as bad for you as drinking sugar-sweetened drinks because of its high sugar content, two medical researchers from the University of Glasgow have warned.
In a report, Professor Naveed Sattar and Dr Jason Gill – both of the university’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences – call for better labelling of fruit juice containers to make explicit to consumers that they should drink no more than 150ml a day.
They also recommend a change to the UK government’s current “five-a-day” guidelines, saying these five fruit and vegetable servings should no longer include a portion of fruit juice.
Inclusion of fruit juice as a fruit equivalent is “probably counter-productive” because it “fuels the perception that drinking fruit juice is good for health, and thus need not be subject to the limits that many individuals impose on themselves for consumption of less healthy foods”.
Sattar, who is a professor of metabolic medicine, said, “Fruit juice has a similar energy density and sugar content to other sugary drinks, for example, 250ml of apple juice typically contains 110 kcal and 26g of sugar; and 250ml of cola typically contains 105kcal and 26.5g of sugar.
“Additionally, by contrast with the evidence for solid fruit intake, for which high consumption is generally associated with reduced or neutral risk of diabetes, current evidence suggests high fruit juice intake is associated with increased risk of diabetes.” One glass of fruit juice contains substantially more sugar than one piece of fruit; in addition, much of the goodness in fruit – fibre, for example – is not found in fruit juice, or is there in far smaller amounts, explains Professor Sattar.
Although fruit juices contain vitamins and minerals, whereas sugar-sweetened drinks do not, Dr Gill argues that the micronutrient content of fruit juices “might not be sufficient to offset the adverse metabolic consequences of excessive fruit juice consumption”. In one scientific trial, for example, it was shown that, despite having high antioxidant content, the consumption of half a litre of grape juice per day for three months actually increased insulin resistance and waist circumference in overweight adults.
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