Why you should think twice before juicing your fruit

Fruit juice

Eating fruit is a cornerstone of good health. Just some of the benefits include decreased incidence of stroke, improved blood pressure and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. There is increasing evidence that eating fruit is more effective at reducing the risk of cancer than specific vitamin and mineral supplements. Plus, eating fruit can reduce your risk of developing cancer, in particular, bowel cancer – this can likely be attributed to its high fibre content. Another bonus is that eating fruit, particularly if it’s orange, yellow or red, may boost your immune system, due to its high β-carotene content. And that’s not to mention the delicious flavours. Just think of a juicy orange or a sweet strawberry and your mouth already starts to water!

Fruit also has loads of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds known as phytochemicals. It’s relatively low in energy but high in fibre and water. As a result, there isn’t much risk of over-eating it.

But now we come to the big question – do you get the same benefits from drinking fruit juice? In short, the answer is no. And, here’s why: Juicing fruit breaks down the cell walls making the natural sugar in the fruit more freely available, so your blood sugars spike when you drink it. To make one glass of juice you need two or more pieces of fruit. This means that a glass of OJ, for example, has the same amount of sugar as a glass of soft drink or cordial. And there’s little, if any, fibre in the juice, even if you include the pulp. Fibre not only keeps us fuller for longer, but it helps to slow down the absorption of the natural sugars into our bloodstream and keep our digestive systems working efficiently. Taking out the fibre is a real negative. Drinking juice won’t help to control your hunger pangs and is not nearly as satisfying as eating a piece of fruit. One study even reported that drinking fruit juice increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The Australian Dietary Guidelines instructs us to limit our intake to 2-3 pieces a day.

So, what’s the take-home message? Eat your fruit, rather than drinking it. It’s berry good advice.     

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