Fruit Juices…healthy right, or could they actually cause obesity? An easy way to get one of your five a day, supplies all the nutrients of natural fruit quickly and easily, how could this not be good for you?
Sugar! Pretty simple? Let me explain. The association between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and obesity has become fairly strong in studies in recent years, and fruit juices definitely do not escape that category. Sugar is the new fat as some say.
The obesogenic effect of sugar-sweetened beverages is simply a consequence of excess calories provided by their consumption. Liquids have a lower satiating effect than solid foods, meaning they do not quench your hunger as fast! This leads them to be more easily consumed in excess.
There is factual evidence that SSBs contribute to a huge proportion of daily sugar intake (around one quarter in the UK). This may be down to Government recommendations of eating your ‘5 a day’. It is stated, however, that one of these could be ticked off by drinking a fruit juice. It is clear that in moderation fruit juices are beneficial in the absence of fruit, but it is this lack of knowledge and over consumption that leads for the need to call fruit juices out in the fight against obesity.
In fact the sugar density of soft drinks and fruit juice is almost identical. Typically in 250ml of apple juice there is 110kcal and 26g of sugar, while cola contains 105kcal and 26.5g of sugar – now isn’t that shocking! So, if fruit drinks are apparently this bad, why do we choose this over other more common soft drinks? When we see fruit juices we automatically think “healthy” and “health benefits” but more evidence shows that in contrast to juices high consumption of solid fruit reduces the risk of diabetes, whereas, you guessed it, fruit juices are associated with increased risk…A seemingly hidden obesity trigger!
From all of this, what you need to know is that fruit juices aren’t a complete no no – as they can provide nutrients that may be lacking in the diet! But, be aware of consumption when drinking them and always remember there are alternatives (water). Essentially, nothing beats the real thing!