Fruit Juices. Hidden danger in a familiar product
Today, fruit juices regularly consume a huge number of people around the world. That, in general, is not surprising, since their consumption is positioned by doctors and juice producers as an exceptionally healthy eating habit. Drinking juices means being healthy, as most people think. After all, as is well known to all, they contain a whole mass of substances useful for the body: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants. And just to drink juice is very tasty and refreshing, especially in hot weather. But, as it turned out, today quite a lot of scientific data have been accumulated, which make us reconsider the absolute benefit of fruit juices.
In January of this year, an article appeared in the British Sunday Times newspaper in which Dr. Susan Jebb, a professor at the University of Cambridge and an adviser to the British government, was the main scientific expert. Dr. S. Jebb leads a research group on the effects of diet on obesity, and her words, published by the Sunday Times regarding fruit juices, sounded like a bolt from the blue.
“Fruit juice is not the same as whole fruit, and has as much sugar as many classic sweet drinks. Therefore, the juice is also absorbed very quickly, and by the time it enters your stomach, your body does not know whether it is Coca-Cola or orange juice, to be honest. I have to say that all this is exactly the way to change habits. Stop drinking juice and eat natural fruits, ”said Dr. S. Jebb.
But this is a loud statement, it can be said, the very finale of the story with fruit juices. And the beginning of it was laid almost a quarter of a century ago. The first to sound the alarm were American pediatricians. In 1991, the Committee on Nutrition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAR) issued a statement that sorbitol, a sweet-tasting substance contained in fruit juices along with fructose and glucose, can cause a breakdown in the intestinal absorption of nutrients. The result of this poor absorption, as stated by the Americans, can be not only a bowel disorder, but also a deficiency in the child’s body of important nutrients and trace elements, fraught with a deterioration in the health of children and a violation of its normal development.
Following this, in 1994, children's doctors from the Maimonides Medical Center (New York) investigated the effect of fruit juices on children's development. Their findings were more alarming: “Our data show that a high intake of fruit juices can replace other nutritious foods. There may also be poor absorption of sorbitol and fructose. Excessive consumption of fruit juice may be a factor in the inorganic retardation of the development of the child "
Similar data was obtained by Columbia University professor Barbara Dennison and her colleagues, who conducted a large study on the effect of fruit juices on the children's body. In 1997, their article entitled “Excessive consumption of fruit juices for children of preschool age is associated with short stature and obesity” was published in the medical journal “Pediatrics”. Comparing several groups of children of 2 and 5 years, B. Dennison and her colleagues found that children who consumed fruit juices for more than 12 fluid ounces per day (about 1.5 cups) had a developmental delay and excess weight: “Children, those who drink a lot of fruit juice consume a large proportion of the total calories from simple sugars (twice the amount of fructose and 80% more glucose) than children who drink less juice. For the most part, these are simple sugars and empty calories. Children who drank a lot of juice, replaced them with other more nutritious foods, some of them suffered from a violation of the absorption of carbohydrates (especially fructose or sorbitol), which are part of fruit juices. Both of these factors can negatively affect growth, contributing to the development of short stature and obesity. ”
Moreover, what attracts attention in this study: only an excess of juices led to negative consequences. When children who consumed the same amount (more than 1.5 cups) of milk per day were examined, they showed no abnormalities. As can be expected, the developmental delay in children, whose parents are too watered by the juice, may be associated with the suppression of growth hormone. Physicians and biologists are well aware that growth hormone is a contra-insulin hormone, that is, these two hormones cannot be simultaneously present in the blood. If in response to the intake of carbohydrates contained in the juice, insulin begins to be produced, then the growth hormone is suppressed and its secretion does not occur. And without the proper level of growth hormone, the normal development of the child is significantly hampered.
In the end, after all the research, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a statement, which, among other things, said that "fruit juice does not provide nutritional benefits compared to whole fruits for children." Also, American academics noted the existing relationship between over-consumption of juices and obesity, and advised parents to "encourage children to eat all the fruits to meet their recommended daily intake of fruits."
Another possible danger from fruit juices was drawn by the Russian physiologist R.S. Minvaleev. He believes that the hyperactivity of children at school age, which many parents face today, is often caused by the immoderate consumption of fast food dishes and drinks with a high content of simple carbohydrates. Among these drinks there are also fruit juices, which are devoid of fiber and contain sugar added to them by manufacturers. Almost instantly getting from the stomach into the blood, simple carbohydrates of fruit juices bring a large number of calories, which can cause hyperactivity in children.
The danger of this hyperactivity, according to RS Minvaleev, should not be underestimated. In the future, it may be the main cause of nicotine, alcohol and drug addiction in adolescents. This relationship can be easily explained: with anomalous activity, it is difficult to direct a huge excess of energy to something useful, since with it there is a distraction of attention and the inability to concentrate on something for a long time. Speaking of adolescent slang, the child begins to "demolish the roof." And then, as a “pacifier” and an energy quencher, drugs and alcohol may appear in the life of a teenager.
But if children drink mainly industrial juices, which may contain an excess of simple carbohydrates by adding sugar, then adults do not have such a problem. They can afford to drink fresh juices without sugar. It would seem that there can be no questions. And fresh juices can be consumed without fear. But it turned out that physicians have complaints about such juices.
Authoritative English biochemist Zhores Medvedev drew attention to another potential danger of fruit and berry juices, which not everyone knows about. The fact is that many juices are bad or completely incompatible with taking medicines. This is especially true of people taking drugs to reduce pressure and to prevent heart attacks.
As an example, J. Medvedev cites the case, which was described in detail in the British medical journal British Medical Journal. An elderly patient, a cardiologist, prescribed an anti-infarction drug, which reduced the possibility of blood clots and vascular blockage. At the same time, this patient drank cranberry juice daily, which is rich in many beneficial vitamins and antioxidants for general recovery. After six weeks of this combination of juice and drug, the person who took them suddenly died.
After a thorough investigation, the British doctors were able to establish that the cause of the patient’s death was poisoning with a drug that was usually well tolerated. And this is why it happened. Both flavonoids of cranberry juice and the medicine before they were removed from the body had to be broken down in the liver by a special enzyme called cytochrome P 450. There was competition for the splitting order, and because of it the drug was not removed from the body, accumulating to dangerous concentrations.
But, as doctors say, not only cranberry juice is dangerous when taken together with medicines. Grapefruit juice is also included in the “black list” of products that doctors categorically do not recommend to use along with tablets. The potential danger of such a joint use is due to the fact that the enzymes of our body “recognize” primarily the natural substances contained in the juices, giving them priority in splitting and excretion from the body. And because drugs "wait" for their turn, accumulating to dangerous concentrations.
The famous American endocrinologist Robert Lustig, who for many years studied the effect of refined sugar on human health, also openly opposes the use of fruit juices. In his opinion, even freshly squeezed juices significantly lose to whole fruits due to the lack of fiber in them. Fiber is known to inhibit the absorption of carbohydrates, not allowing the level of glucose in the blood to rise too dramatically. Deprived of fiber juice, according to R. Lustig, can cause not only the hyperactivity of children, but also contribute to the development of diabetes.
This assumption has recently been confirmed. In 2013, an international group of Japanese, English, American and Singaporean scientists (among whom were employees of Harvard and Cambridge universities), headed by I. Muraki, published the results of their scientific work. They summarized data from three large studies on the effect of the consumption of fruits and fruit juices on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, in which 200,000 people took part from 1984 to 2009. Their findings were as follows: “Consumption of large quantities of whole fruits, especially blueberries, grapes and apples, is significantly associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes, while higher consumption of fruit juice is associated with a high risk of developing diabetes”
Scientists have explained this relationship between fruit juices and diabetes not only by the lack of fiber in juices, which does not allow glucose to rise sharply in the blood, but also by a reduced content of other beneficial substances. Thus, the substance resveratrol, which is being actively studied today as a potential “cure for old age”, is contained mainly in the skin of grapes and very slightly in the juice. A similar picture can be seen with other fruits. Thus, polyphenols with antioxidant properties contained in citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits) are most concentrated, not surprisingly, in connective white fibers, and not in the liquid part of the fruit. It is clear that after squeezing the juice out of an orange, a person deprives himself of the main amount of these useful antioxidants.
Similar results confirming the possible relationship between fruit juices and diabetes were obtained in 2008 by Dr. Lydia Bazzano from the University of Tulane (New Orleans) and her colleagues from Harvard Medical School. For 18 years, scientists and doctors watched a group of women, 70,000 people, comparing their health with their eating habits. Their conclusion was exactly the same as in the previous study: "The consumption of green leafy vegetables and fruits was associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes, while the consumption of fruit juices may be associated with an increased risk of this disease among women." Scientists have traditionally explained this dangerous relationship by the absence in juices of many useful components that are part of whole fruits. In their opinion, an excess of fructose in juices, which is sometimes considered a safe substance, can also impair the function of the hormone insulin.
Perhaps all of this data will cause some people to reconsider their eating habits and replace fresh and industrial juices with whole fruits and vegetables. Although, of course, it is not so easy, because since childhood we have heard words about the great benefits of fruit juices. In any case, as many doctors and nutritionists say, fruits are no worse, and in many ways they are better suited for our body as an indispensable supplier of many beneficial substances that help us fight old age and disease.
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