Juices: benefit or harm?


Freshly squeezed juices have recently become one of the favorite foods of many people. They are especially appreciated by people who are constantly busy, but take care of their health – after all, preparing juices does not take much time (and you don’t need to chew them!), And there are nutrients in the composition.

Juices have become so popular that the global market for fruit and vegetable juices was estimated to be worth $2016 billion in 154 and is projected to continue to grow.

But is it true that juices are as healthy as we used to think?

Most foods that contain fructose (a naturally occurring sugar) are not harmful to the body, except that eating a lot of fruit can affect your daily calorie intake. This is because the fibers (they are also fiber) contained in whole fruits are not damaged, and sugar is contained in the cells formed by these fibers. It takes some time for the digestive system to break down these cells and transport the fructose into the bloodstream.

But fruit juice is a different story.

The Importance of Fiber

“When we juice fruit, most of the fiber is destroyed,” says Emma Alwyn, senior consultant for the charity Diabetes UK. That’s why fructose in fruit juices, unlike whole fruits, is classified as a “free sugar”, including honey and sugars added to food by manufacturers. According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, adults should consume no more than 30 g of sugar per day – this is the amount contained in 150 ml of fruit juice.

The problem is that with the destruction of fiber, the fructose remaining in the juice is absorbed by the body faster. In response to the sudden rise in sugar levels, the pancreas releases insulin to bring it down to a stable level. Over time, this mechanism can wear out, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In 2013, a study was conducted that analyzed the health data of 100 people collected between 000 and 1986. This study found that fruit juice consumption is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2009 diabetes. The researchers concluded that because liquids move from the stomach to the intestines faster than regular solid foods, fruit juices cause faster and more noticeable changes in glucose and insulin levels – even though their nutrient content is similar to that of fruits. .

Another study, in which more than 70 women followed up with doctors and reported on their diet for 000 years, also found an association between fruit juice consumption and the development of type 18 diabetes. The researchers explain that a possible reason for this could be a lack of components found only in whole fruits, such as fiber.

Vegetable juices contain more nutrients and less sugar than fruit juices, but they also lack valuable fiber.

Studies have found that a high fiber content in the daily diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes, so adults are recommended to consume 30 g of fiber per day.

Excess calories

In addition to being associated with type 2 diabetes, multiple studies have shown that fruit juice is harmful if it contributes to a calorie surplus.

John Seanpiper, associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, analyzed 155 studies to find out what effect high-calorie foods have on the body due to the presence of sugars in them. He found a negative impact on fasting blood sugar and insulin levels in cases where the intake of food exceeded the norm of calories due to sugars, including fruit juices. However, when calorie intake remained within the normal range, there were some benefits of eating whole fruits and even fruit juice. Sivenpiper concluded that the recommended 150 ml of fruit juice per day (which is an average serving) is a reasonable amount.

“It’s better to eat a whole piece of fruit than drink fruit juice, but if you want to use the juice as an addition to fruits and vegetables, it doesn’t hurt – but only if you drink a little of it,” Sivenpiper says.

So while fruit juice is known to increase the risk of developing diabetes, how it affects the long-term health of those who are not overweight is less researched.

As Heather Ferris, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Virginia, says, “There is still a lot we don’t know about how increasing sugar in the diet, without causing weight gain, is associated with disease risk. But how long and how well the pancreas can handle sugar depends in part on genetics.”

But it’s important to remember that we always run the risk of consuming more calories than we need when we drink juice. You can drink a lot of fruit juice pretty quickly and not even notice it – but it will affect the calories. And the increase in calories, in turn, will contribute to weight gain.

Juice with a twist

However, there may be a way to increase the health value of juices! In one study last year, scientists examined the properties of juice made with a “nutrient extractor” blender that, unlike traditional juicers, makes juice from whole fruits, including seeds and skins. The researchers were able to find that drinking this juice caused even less of an increase in blood sugar levels than just eating a whole fruit.

According to Gail Rees, a researcher and senior lecturer in nutrition at the University of Plymouth, these results were likely related to the content of fruit seeds in the juice. However, according to her, based on this study, it is still difficult to give clear recommendations.

“I would certainly agree with the well-known advice of 150 ml of fruit juice a day, but if you make juice with such a blender, it can help you keep your blood sugar relatively stable,” she says.

While the content of the seeds in the juice may have some effect on digestion, Ferris says there won’t be much change in the composition of the juice. Drinking such juice will be better than traditional juice, although you should still not forget that it is quite easy to drink a lot of juice and exceed the required number of calories.

According to Roger Clemens, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Southern California, to improve the impact of fruit juice on our health, it is worth choosing ripe fruits, which retain more beneficial substances.

It is also worth considering that it is worth choosing different methods of juicing depending on the fruit. For example, most of the phytonutrients in grapes are found in the seeds, while very few are found in the pulp. And most of the beneficial compounds found in oranges are found in the skin, which is not used in traditional juicing methods.

The detox myth

One reason for the popularity of fruit juices is that they supposedly help detoxify the body.

In medicine, “detox” refers to the removal of harmful substances from the body, including drugs, alcohol, and poison.

“The fact that juice diets help detox the body is a delusion. We consume substances on a daily basis, which are often quite toxic, and our body does a great job of detoxifying and destroying everything we eat,” says Professor Clemens.

“In addition, sometimes the bulk of the nutrients are found in parts of the fruit, such as, for example, apple peel. When juicing, it is removed, and as a result you get sweet water with a small set of vitamins. Plus, it’s not the best way to consume the recommended “five fruits a day.” People try to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and don’t realize that this is not only about vitamins, but also about reducing the amount of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in our diet and, of course, about increasing the amount of fiber, ”adds Ferris.

So while drinking fruit juice is better than not eating fruit at all, there are some limitations. It is especially important to remember that it is not recommended to consume more than 150 ml of juice per day, and it is also necessary to ensure that its consumption does not contribute to the excess of daily calories. Juice can provide us with some vitamins, but we should not consider it as a perfect and quick solution.

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