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Fruit Juice Can Have Same Amount of Sugar as Cola

Feb 21, 2014

Researchers suggest that fruit juice should not be considered as one of the five recommended portions of healthy vegetables or fruits consumed in a day….

Professor Naveed Sattar, Dr. Jason Gill, and colleagues from the UK’s University of Glasgow’s Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, conducted a trial in which they found that drinking 500 mls of grape juice per day for three months increased insulin resistance and waist circumference in overweight participants. The researchers comment that high fruit juice intake could be linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Though beneficial vitamins and minerals are found in fruit juice, much of the beneficial substances found in a piece of fruit, such as fiber, are not found in fruit juice, and there is substantially more sugar in fruit juice than in a piece of fruit.

Although the general belief of the public and many healthcare professionals is that drinking fruit juice is "healthy," Dr. Gill said that drinking fruit juice is not significantly different than drinking other sugary drinks. In fact, 250 mls of apple juice typically contains 110 calories and 26 g of sugar compared to 250 mls of cola which typically contains 105 calories and 26.5 g of sugar, while eating an apple on the other hand is only 50 calories and the consumer benefits from the fiber content.

Taking into account the results of the trial, the researchers are fighting to have fruit juice removed as an option to help satisfy the recommended 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Professor Sattar points out that if people cut down on their saturated fat and refined sugar then major health benefits could result including reductions in obesity and heart attacks. He states that in public health policy, the debate about sugar-sweetened beverage reduction should include fruit juice.

Practice Pearls:
  • Participants in a trial who drank 500 mls of grape juice daily for three months had increased insulin resistance and a larger waist circumference.
  • Fruit juice may be just as bad as sugary drinks as far as caloric intake and sugar content.
  • Recommended daily amount of fruit juice should not exceed 150 mls.

Sattar, Gill The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, Feb 2014