Ditch the Juice! (Fat MD Part VII)
Patients and parents often get perturbed with me when I tell them to ditch the juice. "I drink 100% real juice," they say, or "I make sure the juice I give my kids has no sugar added." When I tell them they are still better off without juice, they rarely believe me. After all, 100% juice is from fruit, and fruit is good for you, right? If they don't buy juice, how is their family supposed to get the vitamins and other benefits that come from fruit? Well, at least one way comes to mind...
A recent study published in the British Medical Journal further supports my assertion. The study showed that people who drink juice three or more times per week have an increased risk of developing diabetes when compared to people who don't drink juice. The effect is dose dependent, meaning that the more juice people drink, the more likely they are to develop diabetes.
The reverse is true of people who eat whole fruit. Eating three or more servings of fruit per week decreases the chances of developing type-3 diabetes. The more whole fruit people eat, the less likely they are to develop diabetes.
My major problem with juice has been that the process of producing it removes many of the beneficial substances contained within the fruit, and what you are left with is not much more than a high-calorie liquid. The natural sugars in the liquid dissolve into the blood stream much faster than they would if you ate them as the whole fruit.
I know I'm going to get a bunch of hate mail from the juicers out there. To them, I make this concession: If you are consistently getting 7 or more servings of whole fruits and vegetables per day, you are at a healthy weight, and you feel as though you want to power juice for health benefits, then go for it. For the rest of us, the healthiest thing to do is ditch the juice and go for the whole fruit.
Dr. Jeff M.D.