Food Myth: Fruit Juice Is Healthy
Fruit juice is a soft drink without the bubbles
What do we usually have for breakfast? More likely that fruit juice is among the foods that are most commonly served at our breakfast tables. But is it really a “healthy choice” like Canada’s Food Guide says?
You would be surprised to know about ground-breaking findings in the report entitled Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada, which was released on March 1, 2016, by the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. This report is a result of an intensive study conducted between February 2014 and June 2015.
“Canada’s dated food guide is no longer effective in providing nutritional guidance to Canadians,” the report says. “Fruit juice, for instance, is presented as a health item, when it is little more than a soft drink without the bubbles.”
Fruit juice contains as much sugar as a sugary soft drink
So, if you think that fruit juice is a healthy choice, you are wrong! Fruit juice contains as much sugar and calories as a sugary soft drink. Check the facts:
Unsweetened Apple juice
- 10 grams of sugar per 100 grams
- 46 calories
- 9 g of sugar per 100 grams
- 38 calories
1 teaspoon = 5g
WHO recommends: 6 teaspoons of sugar per adult per day = 30g
Do the math!
You probably don’t know that during the last 35 years the number of obese Canadian adults has doubled and the number of obese children has tripled. But you definitely know that obesity causes many serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. An increase in consumption of pre-packaged, highly processed foods, like instant noodles and frozen pizzas, candy, soft drinks, and salty snacks are some of the key contributors to Canada’s obesity crisis.
There are 21 recommendations in the report to combat obesity, and the following are some of them:
- a complete revision of Canada’s Food Guide to better reflect scientific facts
- a ban on advertising food and drink to children
- a possible tax on sugar-sweetened beverages
- a review of nutrition food labelling to make it easier to understand
- a plan for making healthy food more affordable.
The cost in health care spending, and in lost productivity due to obesity, is estimated to be between $4.6 billion and $7.1 billion in Canada annually. The report can be downloaded at: www.senate-senat.ca/social.asp
Fruit juice with artificial sweeteners
People who want to lose weight or because they are diabetic prefer drinking fruit juices sweetened with artificial sweeteners. Aspartame is the key player on the market. Aspartame is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose, table sugar, and the sweetness of it lasts longer than that of sucrose. Aspartame produces 4 kilocalories of energy per 1 gram, that’s why the amount of aspartame needed to produce a sweet taste is so small that its caloric contribution is almost zero.
In fact, consuming artificial sweeteners on a regular basis just confuses your body and does little or nothing to help those with diabetes or people trying to lose weight.
In the body, aspartame is broken down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol. Methanol can be toxic in high amounts, but the amounts that result from the breakdown of aspartame is lower than with many “natural” foods. For example, drinking a liter of diet soda would lead to consumption of 55 milligrams (mg) of methanol, as compared to as much as 680mg of methanol from a liter of fruit juice.
That is the truth about healthy fruit juice.