Regular fruit juice drinking not good for health: say scientists

Drinking fruit juice regularly may put your health at risk

Drinking just two glasses a day could give people a “sweet tooth”, making them crave calorie-packed food, claimed one study, while the another suggested for eating dried fruits as they contain as many antioxidants, polyphenols and nutrients as normal fruits do.

The findings of both the studies concluded that fruit juices should not be counted as one of your five-a-day and consumption of dried fruit needs to encouraged, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The first study, carried out by a team from the Bangor University in North Wales, found that even freshly squeezed fruit juices can contain as much as five teaspoons of sugar per glass because the squeezing process concentrates their sweetness. This is around two-thirds of the amount found in a can of soda and can contribute to obesity and also disturb blood sugar levels and the body’s natural metabolism.

Researchers said that the juices should be taken off the five-a-day recommendations so that people are encouraged to eat whole fruits and vegetables instead which have far more nutrients per calorie. Dr Hans-Peter Kubis, who led the research, said that the fruit juices could encourage a “sweet tooth”. “I’d question the wisdom of including fruit juice in the five-a-day message. The problem is people often substitute them for real fruit which is a mistake,” he said.

“Fruit juice is higher in sugars than people realise and they are likely to encourage drinking too much sugar,” Dr Kubis added. He suggested that one part of fruit juice should be diluted with four parts of water in order to make them more healthy.

In the second study, conducted by the University of Leeds, the researchers found that dried fruits contain just as many antioxidants, polyphenols and nutrients as normal fruit. It found that dried fruits can help combat cancer, metabolic disease and heart problems. They are also a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Lead researcher Professor Gary Williamson said that dried fruits were often overlooked because people assumed they were too tasty to be good for you. “We are not saying you should get all five of your five-a-day from dried fruit but you could definitely get at least one. Some fruits including dried fruits contain high levels of a variety of polyphenols and we are just starting to understand their health protective effect.”

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