What is your position….Does 100% Fruit juice have too much sugar? Does 100% Fruit juice cause weight gain? Is 100% Fruit juice one of the reasons behind the obesity epidemic, responsible for heart disease and/or one of the causes of cancer?
Are the concerns about sugar overshadowing fruit juice’s positive contribution to a healthful diet? Or is 100% Fruit juice just another sugary drink? What are your thoughts….
Truth is natural sugars are found in nutrient-rich dairy, vegetables and fruit – all of which are key components of healthy eating. “Added sugars”, ranging from the all so controversial high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) [which by the way is another fancy way of saying ‘added sugar’] to more than 60 other ingredients on nutrition fact labels are introduced into foods and beverages by manufactures during processing or by consumers during the cooking process. Added sugars account for about 16% of the total calories in the American diet.
Diets high in “added sugars” may lead to weight gain, hypertension (high blood pressure), chronic inflammation, and elevated cholesterol (particularly triglycerides and LDL). Also, note that simply over-eating any type of food will have the same effect.
“Added sugars” such as sweetened beverages (soda, energy drinks, sports drinks and sweetened “fruit drinks”) offer little satiety and nutritional value. Specific sports drinks offer benefits to professional/competition athletes and outside the scope of this blog.
Here is deal with 100% Fruit juice….The key is 100%. 100% Fruit juice contains no “added sugar”. 100% fruit juice contains the same about of sugar as its whole fruit counterpart. For example: apples/100% apple juice; grapes/100% grape juice; oranges/100% orange juice; pineapples/100% pineapple juice just to name a few. If the bottle reads “contains XX% (any number less than 100%) juice or lite/light, then “added sugar” exists.
Earlier I stated overeating any food will contribute to weight gain. The same is true with over-drinking. Many people drink more calories than they eat. The problem with 100% fruit juice is people drink too much! 4 oz of 100% fruit juice is equivalent to one fruit serving. Most people will consume 16oz-24oz or more of juice in one setting!
The whole fruit is always superior 100% fruit juice with its addition of fiber contained in the skin. Otherwise, 100% Fruit juice is just as nutritious as whole fruit containing vitamin C and potassium. Some are fortified with calcium or folate. In moderation, 100% fruit juice has its place in a healthful diet and is an excellent alternative to help meet daily servings of fruit. The key factor is portion control.
Sandra Murray Gultry is a registered dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer. She is owner of It’s All About Choices, a private practice that specializes in weight management, proper fueling for physical activity, nutrition education, disease prevention and/or management in Orlando, Florida. Visit www.ActionChoices.com. Contact her at (407) 680-3023 or SandraYourRDN@ActionChoices.com
Photos by: Webmd.com, foodnavigator.com, berklywellness.com, forbes.com