Is fruit juice really healthy for us?

To answer this, it really is a very tricky one. There is always two sides of belief  when it comes to this. One believe that juicing is unhealthy than eating whole fruits, due to the loss of fiber throughout the process which makes fructose (sugar in fruit) absorb even quicker as compared to when it is together with fiber, thus less healthy(1).

Another believe that juicing is better than eating the whole fruits and vegetables because body can absorb better and let digestive tract rest from digesting fiber. If ones consider blending fruit, that is even better since edible fiber in it makes we feel full, so it promotes satiety(1).

 

 

So should we consider juicing, blending or just eat raw fruits and vegetables ?

 

Three longitudinal prospective cohort studies found out that, greater consumption of fruits such as blueberries, grapes, apples, bananas and grapefruit reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes while greater consumption of fruit juice was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (2).

 

When fruit is squeeze for its juice, what left inside the fruit juice are basically sugar, vitamins and  antioxidants such as carotenoids etc thus it is healthier in this aspect as compared to frizzy drinks (3). However, the amount of sugar inside both of these drinks are about the same, which is about 20-26g of sugar per cup (3).

 

The reasons why fruit juice contain higher sugar content as compared to fresh fruit even when the fruit juice is the 100% fruit juice without the addition of anything else is because of, in order to make the 250ml of orange juice as an example two medium size of orange is needed, and that is only 250ml, since when it is in liquid form people tend to consume it even more thus more no of fruits needed. As the number of fruit increases so does the sugar in it but not the fiber inside, which in returns make it have loads of sugar(1,3,4,7,8)!

 

 

According to Singapore Health Promotion Board, many people may think that naturally occurring sugar is healthier than added sugar, but actually there is no chemical difference between the two, and they have the same impact on blood sugar level when ingested(8).


The similar case goes to smoothies  not only that it has lot of sugar from multiple number of fruits, but  various kind of protein based food like yogurt, milk, almond milk etc that is mixed together with it will increase it calorie as well (4).


High sugar level in both of these drinks make it a high calorie beverages thus poses the same effect like high calorie food, which can lead to weight gain. As we know that, Malaysia is the fattest country in Southeast Asia, one of the contributing factor behind is the lack of knowledge on what can increase weight and what cannot. 

 

 

Weight gain is link to many health problems such as heart diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer, bone and joint problem, kidney problem etc(3).

 

Study on the composition of grapefruits with different method of household processing also found out that, composition of antioxidant on blended grapefruit has higher concentration of the beneficial compound as compared to juicing or hand squeezing (5).

 

However, as for the absorption of beta carotene, study found out that fruit and vegetables juice makes beta carotene absorb better as compared to blending or eating raw fruit. This is due to the fact that fiber hinder the absorption of beta carotene (6).

 

The takeaway message

 

Eating raw fruit, juicing and blending all has its pro and cons. What important is always take into account the amount of sugar content and fiber content. All in all make sure that you have balance, nutritious and moderate diet as per suggested by Ministry of Health, eat 3 servings of vegetables/day and 2 servings of fruits/day. Varied the way vegetables and fruit cooked or served and eat in moderation.

 

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/juicing/faq-20058020
  2. MurakiIsao, ImamuraFumiaki, Manson JoAnn E, Hu Frank B, Willett Walter C, van Dam Rob M et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies BMJ 2013; 347 :f5001. https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001
  3. Healthline (n.d). Is Fruit Juice is as Unhealthy as Sugary Soda? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fruit-juice-vs-soda#sugar-content
  4. Healthline (n.d). Juicing vs Blending: Which one is better for me? https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/juicing-vs-blending
  5. 5Ram M Uckoo1Guddadarangavvanahally K JayaprakashaV M BalasubramaniamBhimanagouda S Patil. Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi Macfad) Phytochemicals Composition Is Modulated by Household Processing Techniques.
  6. Julia K Kolodziejczyk1Shirley W FlattLoki NatarajanRuth PattersonJohn P PierceGregory J Norman. Associations of Soluble Fiber, Whole Fruits/Vegetables, and Juice With Plasma Beta-carotene Concentrations in a Free-Living Population of Breast Cancer Survivors. Women Health 52(8). DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2012.728189
  7. How many orange does it take to make a cup of orange juice? (n.d). https://www.eatdifferentrd.com/blog/2016/8/12/how-many-oranges-does-it-take-to-make-a-cup-of-oj
  8. Chanel News Asia (CNA) International (2019). That cup of fresh fruit juice could contain as much sugar as a soft drink. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/fruit-juice-sugar-diabetes-health-risks-soft-drink-11708652