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Fruit juice: Myths and facts

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Grapefruit juice


The first in a series of my discourse on fruit juice will examine some of the key facts you need to know to enjoy the health and nutritional benefits of 100 per cent fruit juice. There is so much contradictory information about fruit juice that we don’t know what to believe anymore. Does fruit juice cause obesity? What is the correlation between fruit juice and sugar level? These and several questions are among the issues this column will examine. Let me shock you even before we start: do you know that it is more advisable for some individuals to consume 100 per cent fruit juice than raw fruits?

Myth 1: Drinking 100 per cent fruit juice is just as healthy as eating fruits
Fact: The 100 per cent fruit juices always come directly from the fruits that have been juiced without additives. Drinking fruit juice is good for you because your body can absorb the nutrients faster and gives your digestive system rest from working on fibre. In addition, fruit juice comes in handy if you are unable to keep solid food down or recovering from illness. On the fun side, juicing is a delightful way to relax and enjoy flavourful fruit juice extracts with your friends.

Myth 2: Fruit juice is central to achieving a balanced diet
Fact: Yes, orange juice is chockfull of calcium and a healthful dose of Vitamin C. It also strengthens the body immune system to fight damage-causing free radicals in the body. An eight-ounce glass could help reduce blood pressure and chances of heart disease. Grape juice is also a great choice for managing weight and controlling blood sugar. Mango, pineapple and other common juice have also been proven to be of impressive health benefits. Interestingly, we can access these benefits in some juice with high nutrient density juice such as Chivita.

Myth 3: Sugar content of fruit juice is one of the leading causes of weight gain and obesity in both adult and children
Fact: This is incorrect. Following a substantial systematic review, a team of researchers commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that excess calories were responsible for weight gain, not sugars specifically. Therefore, when energy intake is balanced with energy expenditure, dietary sugars from fruit juice do not increase the risk of excess weight gain. In fact, a research shows that as consumption of 100 per cent fruit juice increases, the risk of developing overweight and obesity statistically and significantly decreases.

Myth 4: Fruit juice keeps kidney stones at bay
Fact: Fruit juice helps to keep kidney stones at bay, according to a study. Experts’ also note that potassium citrate, which is found in citrus juice, can slow down stone formation in people with history of the condition. Findings from the study reveal that orange juice increases the level of citrate in urine and reduces the crystallisation of uric acid and calcium oxalate.

Myth 5: A juice cleanse can help detox your body
Fact: While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, proponents of fruit juice cleanse say it is suitable if you are fasting and prefer breaking the fast with refreshing drinks, rather than solid food, though cleansing should not be more than three days. The notion of juice cleanse detox is based on the vitamins, small quantity of B group vitamins and some trace minerals present in 100 per cent fruit juices, making the introduction of fruit juice – part of a healthy regime – a sensible choice especially when the body needs detoxifying.

Myth 6: Juice therapy keeps immunity high, fights off colds, flu and other infections, lower blood pressure, remedy skin disorders and relieve problems
Fact: Juice therapy often includes use of fruit juices to fight ailments and diseases, although evidence for these benefits is inconclusive. The juices are used in two ways, as a supplement to a normal diet or as a replacement for solid food (a ‘juice’ fast). A typical fruit supplement calls for consumption of reasonable quantity of juice per day taken throughout the day. Juice fast typically lasts two-five days and recommended twice a year. Generally, there are no side effects from juice therapy.

Myth 7: 100 per cent freshly-juiced fruit is better than the commercially-packed variant
Fact: This is a matter of choice, taste and convenience. Freshly-juiced fruit and the 100 per cent commercially-packed variant like Chivita 100 per cent contain maximum amount of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients) found in whole fruits.Remember these seven facts when desiring that tempting chilled glass of 100 per cent fruit juice and relish fruitful health.
*Dr. Abiola is a nutritionist


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