Could fruit juice be contributing to the obesity of the nation? Health experts say yes. According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, even 100 percent fruit juice poses the same health risks as soda or other soft drinks, such as weight gain and its related complications of diabetes and heart disease.
It’s true that fruit juice is more nutritional than the typical soft drink — after all, it contains more potassium and vitamin C. However, eight ounces of fruit juice contain more calories than the same serving size of Coca-Cola or Pepsi.
And like soda, juice contains plenty of fructose (a simple sugar). A UC Davis study shows that consuming large amounts of fructose increases the risk for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as fructose is converted to fat by the liver more readily than glucose.
Fruit juice concentrates the sugar content of multiple fruits into liquid form, minus the fiber. This can overwhelm the liver because the human body is not adapted to handle large amounts of fructose flowing in. As a result, the sugars become fat — and the stomach is still not satisfied, because the body doesn’t register liquid calories the same way as solid calories.
A better alternative to that daily glass of OJ would be fruit. The body is naturally equipped to digest the smaller fructose content of an apple or orange; plus, the skin and pulp of fruit offer nutrients not found in juice, such as fiber.
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Last modified: November 13, 2009