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The Great Fruit Juice Swindle

Posted in General Health 06 Mar, 2015

Sugar is bad for you. Hardly news to the masses of people who have had sugar scare health warnings fed to them for the last decade. Full fat drinks have not been replaced by Zero! – zero sugar and zero taste.

All jokes aside, a change was needed, especially when we look at the health complications excessive sugar consumption causes – ranging from diabetes, long term liver damage, high cholesterol and obesity.

In our haste to find an alternative liquid sugar source we forgot one thing – sugar is sugar regardless of whether it comes from a piece fruit or a fizzy coke can. But it's one of my five a day I hear people call! True, but fruit is meant to be eaten and not drunk.

Let's take a quick look at the science behind this. Fruit contains both sugar and fibre, which gives the liver time to metabolise what is being consumed. Putting your fruit in a blender removes this benefit, meaning your delicious piece of fruit is now a health risk.

Well, maybe not that extreme. But, the body is not able to process the sugar from fruits in liquid form when compared with solids. However, how much of a health risk does this new found obsession with pure fruit juice pose?

In small vitamin enriched bursts of energy, fruit juices can be of great benefit from a health viewpoint. However, these drinks are not designed to quench thirst in the same way that we use water, and there are possible health risks for people who drink them in this way.

Furthermore, children are most at risk, with parents providing fruit juice to their children as an alternative to fizzy drinks. Whilst this seems like a responsible choice, health experts are now warning of the health risks associated with this.

A recent study by 'Action on Sugar' found damning evidence that fruit juices are just as bad for kids as their fizzy counterparts. They tested a number of juices and found a quarter had at least 25g of sugar per 200ml – more than the recommended daily intake for adults.

So what is the answer? The fruit juice manufacturers promote their products as a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks, which to some extent they are. But, they are not an alternative to good old-fashioned water, and pretending they are carries the health risks of excessive sugar consumption.

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