In a world filled with soda, energy drinks and so-called juices, when we actually see kids drinking real, natural fruit juice we should be happy … right? Turns out it isn’t so simple. A research study that followed nearly 200,000 subjects for almost a quarter century has shown that while whole fruit is a healthy choice, fruit juice is not.
The study centered on the risk of diabetes – specifically developing Type 2 diabetes. And what they found was that while eating fruit lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, drinking fruit juice actually increases it.
What they found was that blueberries had the best performance, with three servings per week cutting the diabetes risk by 26%. Grapes and apples also lowered the risk, while bananas, plums, and peaches had a negligible impact. Three weekly servings of fruit juice, however, actually INCREASED the risk by eight percent.
So what is the deal?
Juicing not only destroys a number of fruits’ beneficial compounds and antioxidants, it removes nearly all of the natural fiber. Suddenly you have all of the sugar and none of the fiber … which takes fruit from ‘super food’ to ‘danger food’!
Fiber has a couple of very important factors: it has a number of digestive benefits, and is critical in slowing the absorption of the sugars into the body and keeping its glycemic index low. It is this factor that researchers hypothesize leads to increased risk of diabetes.
It gets worse – to get juice you need more fruit. So a cup of orange juice contains 2-3 oranges. So not only are you less full from the juice than the oranges, you have taken in loads of sugar, way more vitamin C than you need, and a bunch of calories. All of this leads to not only a higher risk of diabetes but also the links to childhood obesity.
So what should we do? The easy answer is to put down the fruit juice, and instead drink more water and eat whole fruits. You will get filled from the fiber, and get all of the nutrients and health benefits.