Fruit juice shouldn't be one of the five-a-day diet, warns Dr. Susan Jebb, diet and obesity expert and health adviser to the UK government.
Five-a-day is a healthy eating diet based on the WHO recommendation of eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The five-a-day concept is used by many as a part of their weight loss program.
AdvertisementWhat counts towards 5-a-day?
· Beans and pulses count as one portion a day, however much you eat a day.
· Smoothies count as up to a maximum of two portions a day. It should contain at least 80g of one variety of fruit or vegetable or 150 ml of a variety of fruit and vegetable juice.
· A glass or 150ml of unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice counts as one portion. Further glasses don't count.
· Potatoes, yams, cassava, and plantain don't count because they are starchy foods. Root vegetables, however, do count towards vegetable and fruit portion.
· 30g of dried fruit and 80g of fresh whole fruit count as one portion.
To get all the required fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, it is necessary to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Fruit juice for Weight Loss
Many weight loss gurus recommend taking fruit juice for losing weight because fruits contain vitamins and minerals that can sweep away fats and toxins and cleanse the body. They keep the body well hydrated. Juices can be absorbed more readily by the body compared with eating whole fruit or vegetable. Also, fruits and vegetables used in the juice are raw, and so retain maximum nutritive value. Those who lack appetite in the morning can have juice for their breakfast.
Effects of Excess Sugar Intake
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that the body uses as energy. It is one of the most essential nutrients required for life. But what happens if the sugar is consumed in excess of the requirement? According to Mayo Clinic, 'Foods with a lot of added sugar contribute extra calories to your diet but provide little nutritional value. In addition, added sugar is often found in foods that also contain solid fats'. As is evident, excess sugar intake can lead to potential health problems including increased weight gain, increased triglycerides, and tooth decay.
Juice for Weight Loss - Good or Bad?
Based on these data, Dr Jebb warns people that fruit juices are so high in sugar, it should not count as healthy 5-a-day diet. Even the pure fruit juices contain lot of naturally occurring sugars. Apart from being high in calories, they do not have fiber and are lacking in many nutrients required for good health. So much so, some brands of orange juice contain as much sugar as cola. 'Fruit juice isn't the same as intact fruit and it has got as much sugar as many classical sugar drinks,' says Dr. Jebb. 'It is also absorbed very fast, so by the time it gets to your stomach your body doesn't know whether it's Coca-Cola or orange juice, frankly. I have to say it is a relatively easy thing to give up'.
She advises public to water down the juice to wean themselves off it. 'Swap it and have a piece of real fruit. If you are going to drink it, you should dilute it,' she says. Researchers from Leeds University and University of Bangor are of the same opinion. Even they suggested fruit juice drinks to be discounted from a healthy diet. Similarly, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health stated - 'Excessive fruit juice consumption is associated with increased risk for obesity. Moreover, there is recent scientific evidence that sucrose consumption without the corresponding fiber, as is commonly present in fruit juice, is associated with the metabolic syndrome, liver injury, and obesity'. Given the increasing rate of obesity in children, the researchers went on to recommend to US Department of Agriculture to promote the elimination of fruit juice in favor of whole fruit for children.
Because of the fiber, whole fruit makes one feel fuller and reduces the need for other snacks. So, it makes sense to switch from fruit juice drinks, even pure fruit juice ones, to eating whole fruits.