The Daily Gamecock

Don't juice your fruit; it's much better whole

Widely popular drinks aren’t conducive for healthy lifestyle

We all know the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and eating fruit daily has long been recognized for its healthy benefits because of the nutrients it provides. However, can fruit’s cousin, fruit juice, provide the same benefits?

A study recently published by BMJ sought to find determine whether the consumption of individual fruits had a differential association with Type 2 diabetes. After years of research, several conclusions were made. The first conclusion? A greater consumption of specific whole fruits is significantly associated with lowering the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The second conclusion: greater consumption of fruit juices is associated with an elevated risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Drinking fruit juices and eating whole fruits are not equivalent. When the fruit is juiced, dietary fiber is stripped away. Also, the glycemic index is increased, resulting in an increased amount of sugar within the juice. Because of the lack of fiber, drinking juice consumes an enormous amount of sugar and calories without providing the satiety of whole fruit packed with nutrients. By teaspoon, cranberry juice has more sugar than cola does.

And while fruit juices shouldn’t necessarily be labeled as unhealthy and classed like a soda, they shouldn’t be considered a healthy alternative to eating fruit or even just drinking water.

“The problem we’ve seen in this society is we’ve taken the most efficient and healthiest rehydration method, which is water, and we’ve substituted it with these high-calorie beverages,” said Dr. Dan Cooper, a professor at UC Irvine. He also said the reason fruit juices have received an incredible amount of attention is due to the sheer number of children who consume them.

Additional studies show that children consume nearly 10 or more ounces of juice daily. Many of the “fruit juices” are not 100 percent fruit juice, ultimately containing even more added sugar. Drinks such as Capri Sun label themselves, as “wholesome varieties moms can feel good about,” despite being filled with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. Even with antioxidants that occur naturally in whole fruit added to these fruit juices, they deteriorate within time after packaging has been opened.

What becomes a major issue with drinking large amounts of high fructose corn syrup, fructose, from fruit juice is that it is only the tip of the iceberg. Many foods typically eaten also contain fructose, such as soda, bread, salad dressings, sauces, cereals and snacks. When they are consumed in conjunction with fruit juices, the body is processing massive amounts of fructose.

Choosing to purchase whole fruits over their processed counterparts can help contribute to living a healthier life without changing other facets of life dramatically.