March 20, 2009

Is fruit juice really
that bad for you?

In Wednesday's health alert, I told you to avoid bottled fruit juice. It has way too much fructose in it — and no fiber to slow the absorption. But is bottled fruit juice really that bad for you?

It's true that fructose, especially processed fructose like high fructose corn syrup, is a swill that can cause diabetes and heart disease. But another study shows that some juices do have health benefits. In fact, this study showed that the wonderful polyphenols in apples and purple grape juice can reduce your risk of a heart attack.

In the study, the researchers gave hamsters a large portion of fruit each day. They gave them the amount equivalent to three apples or three bunches of grapes for a 154-pound (average size) human. They also drank the equivalent of four glasses of juice daily (that's a lot of juice).

Compared to controls not receiving fruit or juice, the animals that did had lower cholesterol, less oxidative stress, and less fat accumulation in their aorta. Purple grape juice was the most potent, followed by purple grapes, apple juice and apples.

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So does this study change my mind about bottled juice? No. I like juice, but not bottled juice. If you want to drink juice, buy a juicer and use the whole food. You'll get all of these benefits of juice without the problems from processed juices. You will see benefit from bottled juice, but the problems with too much fructose are very real. Bottled juice eliminates all the fiber and might raise your risk of blood sugar problems. Whereas juice from a juicer still has much of the whole food included. It's far safer — and it has the nutrients you need for great health.

Yours for better health and medical freedom,

Ref: Molecular Nutrition and Food Research April 2008; 52(4).

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