Drinking Fruit Juice Is Associated With Obesity
Sugar has been blamed by many as the cause of the obesity epidemic in people. It’s not only added sugars in foods and notably beverages that are fingered as causes of obesity, natural sugars in 100% fruit juice are also under attack.
There’s a big difference between the health effects of fruit and those of fruit juice. Excessive fruit juice consumption is associated with increased risk for obesity.
While whole fruit is low in calories and a good source of fiber, the same is not necessarily true of fruit juice – Fruit Juice To Lower Cholesterol.
In the process of juice-making, juice is extracted from the fruit, leaving behind its beneficial fiber and providing a concentrated dose of calories and sugar.
Some types of fruit juice even contain added sugar, pushing the total number of calories and sugar even higher.
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Increasing research shows that drinking fruit juice could be linked to obesity, especially in children.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended against fruit juice for children under 1 year of age (33).
One study of 168 preschool-aged children found that drinking 12 ounces (355 ml) or more of fruit juice per day was associated with short stature and obesity (34).
Other studies have found that drinking sugar-sweetened beverages like fruit juice is associated with weight gain and obesity (35).
Instead, try swapping your juicer for a blender and make smoothies, which retain the beneficial fiber found in fruits.
Will 100% Fruit Juice Make Your Child Gain Weight?
However, eating whole fruit still remains the best option for maximizing your nutrient intake.
Is 100% Fruit Juice Healthy?
Nutrients in fruit juices differ considerably depending upon the fruit. Citrus juices, like orange and grapefruit, are more nutrient dense and higher in fiber. Many fortified juices are excellent sources of nutrients, such as calcium, typically missing in many diets
SUMMARY: Fruit juice is high in calories and sugar but low in fiber. Drinking fruit juice has been associated with weight gain and obesity.
Dried Fruit Should Be Enjoyed in Moderation
Some types of dried fruit are well-known for their health benefits.
Dried fruits are also highly nutritious. They contain most of the same vitamins, minerals and fiber found in whole fruit, but in a much more concentrated package because the water has been removed.
This means that you will consume a higher amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber eating dried fruit, compared to the same weight of fresh fruit.
Unfortunately, it also means you will consume a higher number of calories, carbs and sugar.
For example, a half cup (78 grams) of raw apricot contains 37 calories, while a half cup (65 grams) of dried apricot contains 157 calories. The dried apricots contain over four times as many calories by volume, compared to raw apricots (38, 39).
Additionally, some types of dried fruit are candied, meaning the manufacturers add sugar to increase sweetness. Candied fruit is even higher in calories and sugar, and it should be avoided in a healthy diet.
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If you’re eating dried fruit, make sure to look for a brand without added sugar, and monitor your portion size closely to make sure you don’t overeat.
SUMMARY:Dried fruit is very nutritious, but it is also higher in calories and sugar than fresh varieties, so make sure to moderate your portions.
When to Limit Your Fruit Intake
Fruit is a healthy dietary addition for most and may help increase weight loss. However, certain people may want to consider limiting their fruit intake.
Because fruit is high in fructose, people who have a fructose intolerance should limit their intake.
While the amount of fructose found in fruits is not harmful to most people, fructose absorption is impaired in those with fructose intolerance. For these people, consuming fructose causes symptoms like abdominal pain and nausea (40).
If you believe you might be fructose intolerant, talk to your doctor.
On a Very Low-Carb or Ketogenic Diet
If you’re on a very low-carb or ketogenic diet, you may also need to restrict your fruit intake.
This is because it is relatively high in carbs and may not fit into the carb restrictions of these diets.
For example, just one small pear contains 23 grams of carbs, which may already exceed the daily amount allowed on some carb-restricted diets (41).
SUMMARY:Those who have a fructose intolerance or are on a ketogenic or very low-carb diet may need to restrict their fruit intake.
The Bottom Line
Fruit is incredibly nutrient dense and full of vitamins, minerals and fiber, but it contains few calories, making it good for weight loss.
Also, its high fiber and water contents make it very filling and appetite suppressing.
But try sticking to whole fruits instead of fruit juice or dried fruit.
Most guidelines recommend eating about 2 cups (about 228 grams) of whole fruit per day.
For reference, 1 cup (about 114 grams) of fruit is equivalent to a small apple, a medium pear, eight large strawberries or one large banana (42).
Finally, remember that fruit is just one piece of the puzzle. Eat it along with an overall healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity to achieve long-lasting weight loss.
Total Diet Approach
Fruit juice delivers most of the benefits of whole fruit and may help fill nutrient gaps and meet daily goals for fruit when taken in moderation.
Lower the sugar and increase the fiber of fruit juice by blending the whole fruit into a juice. Similar to whole fruit, blending in whole vegetables, whole grains or protein may help increase fiber, reduce sugar concentration and slow down absorption.
Food or beverage is the total diet, more important than any single nutrient. Enjoy your juice, but do so within recommended limits