It doesn't matter if it's 100% natural, ecological, organic, or home-made. Fruit juices are fattening. It is not equivalent to eating a piece of fruit a day. Rather, they are like drinking sugary soda. The largest ever review of studies on this topic confirms that consuming these products causes weight gain. According to an analysis conducted by the University of Toronto and Harvard, consuming fruit juices daily is associated with significant weight gain.
The review brings together the results of 42 studies analyzing the effect of fruit juices on 45,851 children and 268,095 adults. In the case of minors, scientific evidence unequivocally points to the fact that their daily intake causes a significant increase in their body mass index (BMI). On the other hand, there is also an association between juice consumption and increased body weight in adults, although the result is more mixed. In some scenarios, it has been found that people who consume fruit juices daily can gain up to five kilograms on average per year.
The analysis also suggests that many of the studies were biased by “serious conflicts of interest” in the food industry, because they were funded by their producers. “The recommendation remains to limit juice consumption to prevent excessive calorie intake and weight gain,” the analysis concludes.
Nutritionists have been warning about the dark side of fruit juices for years. “It has nothing to do with eating a piece of fruit every day. It's like comparing exercising to watching it on TV,” explains Julio Basulto. When we eat an apple, for example, the process involves chewing the food, filling us with fiber and gradually metabolizing the endogenous sugars in the piece. On the other hand, by drinking apple juice, the body receives an “injection of liquid calories” because in practice we very quickly ingest the free sugars of many apples. The body's response to this is to store some of this energy in the form of fat.
“Worse than soft drinks”
“From a nutritional standpoint, fruit juices are exactly the same as or even worse than sugary soft drinks,” Basulto says. “Orange soda and orange juice contain the same amount of free sugars. The difference between the two is that when people drink soda they know it is unhealthy. As for juices, on the other hand, many people still think they are doing something good for their health.”
According to this scientific promoter, the consumption of juices in children raises concerns. “We know that children drink more juice because their parents believe it helps them consume more fruit and get better nutrition,” Basulto says. “At these ages, metabolism goes faster and the extra calories lead to significant weight gain.” What's the solution? “It is better not to drink anything before drinking the juice,” he adds.
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