The headline of an article in the Daily Mail yesterday read “The healthy juice with 22 teaspoons of sugar” The journalist quotes researchers who warned ” Drinks regarded as healthy often contain far more sugar than we realize and can add up to 450 calories a day to our diet”.
The trouble with the statement is that they are equating refined sugar that has been added to some drinks with fructose, a sugar that ocurrs naturally in fruit. The article makes it sound as though juicing is bad for you so what about juice detox?
The researchers asked more than 200 people to estimate how much sugar was in certain beverages. The article states that Pomegranate juice contains 18 teaspoons of sugar in one paragraph and 22 in another.
Fruit contains natural sugars
It probably varies from make to make but the fact is the sugars in pure pomegranate juice are naturally ocurring sugars including fructose. Fructose has traditionally been regarded as a healthy sugar because it does not raise blood sugar levels.
When you drink a natural juice the fructose is absorbed from the intestines and is taken to the liver to be broken down into glucose. Because of this fructose has the lowest glycemic index of all the natural sugars.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice even shows possible diabetes benefits. Professor Michael Avrim of the Rappaport Family Instutute for research in Israel says that the sugars in pomegranate juice are attached to antioxidants which actually make these sugars protective against atherosclerosis.
In fact, over the past 10 years there has been a lot of research that has identified ways that pomegranate, orange and cranberry juices can help to prevent or cure diseases.
Last week the Daily Mail carried another article about the “Secret sugars in your food” which once again lumped the natural foods like apples, bananas and raisins together with foods like ice cream, coke and a bar of Galaxy chocolate.
Natural fruit sugar classed as added sugar
The article states “Though sugar in the whole fruit counts as ‘good’ sugar, juicing removes the fibre, so it is classified as the more harmful ‘added sugar’.
There has been controversy over fresh fruit juicing because juice is not a whole food. When you eat a whole piece of fruit the fibre in it slows down the absorption of the sugars it contains, glucose, fructose, sucrose, galactose and maltose.
When you drink a fruit juice the sugars get absorbed more quickly and can increase blood sugar levels. Watermelon juice for example is high on the glycemic index but apple, grapefruit, pineapple and pear juices are low.
Fruit juice is linked with higher intake of essential nutrients
On the other hand drinking fruit juice is linked to a higher intake of essential nutrients. With so many people not eating anywhere near their 5 portions of fruit and veg a day drinking natural fruit juice is a good way of adding a serving or more of fruit.
A PRNewswire Press release states that researcher Dr. Carol O’Neil says “Drinking 100 percent juice may be one important strategy to provide some of the essential nutrients that are currently under-consumed by Americans. One hundred percent fruit juice should be encouraged as part of an overall balanced diet.”
The key here of course is the balanced diet. If you drink fruit juice when the rest of your diet is unhealthy calorie laden food then it is not going to do you much good. But, juicing is an excellent way to lose weight or to keep weight in control.
Let’s not forget that for many years fresh juicing has traditionally been used by Naturopathic doctors as part of a detox plan to improve health and bring about the cure of many health problems.