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Fruit Juice The question we need to ask about fruit juice is not what kind of juice is good for us, but whether it’s good for us at all. “There are not many things in life I am sure of, but one of them is that juice is harmful to nearly everyone, ESPECIALLY children,” writes Dr. Joseph Mercola in an article on his website www.mercola.com. People think of fruit juice as a healthy food, but in fact, human beings are not meant to drink their calories. It turns out that fruit juice has just about as much sugar as soft drinks—an eight-ounce glass of fruit juice contains the equivalent of eight spoonfuls of sugar—and the fact that the sugar comes from fruit doesn’t make it any better for us. Sweet liquids like fruit juice, high in sugar and with no material substance, enter the blood stream rapidly and cause problems with blood sugar levels which can lead to diabetes and obesity. With obesity reaching epidemic proportions in the U.S., taking a hard look at whether fruit juice is just adding empty calories to our diets is long overdue. Most fruit contains two sugars, a more-or-less equal balance between glucose and fructose. When you eat a whole fruit, it takes longer for the sugar to break down in the body because the fruit contains natural enzymes, nutrients, and fiber. But the fructose in fruit juice, when separated from other nutrients in the whole fruit, becomes a refined unnatural product which is difficult for the body to deal with. Fructose is metabolized in the body through very specific pathways that differ from those of glucose, and heavy fructose consumption can result in obesity due to the proliferation of fat cells around vital organs, and can trigger the early stages of diabetes, heart disease, and liver disease. Under normal circumstances, when a person eats 120 calories of fructose, 40 calories are stored as fat. But if they eat the same number of calories from glucose, only 6 calories get stored as fat. This huge difference in how much extra fat is stored from fructose is why consuming large amounts can be even more dangerous than sugar. Fructose is now the number one source of calories in the American diet and, besides causing obesity and diabetes, it can be a factor in the development of a number of other common diseases, including high blood pressure, inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, microvascular disease, kidney injury, and fatty liver disease. But the delusion that fructose is an acceptable form of sugar is prevalent in many nutritional circles, and it has been promoted as being healthier than glucose because it registers lower on the glycemic index—in other words, it enters the blood stream more slowly than glucose. But its effects on the body are far more serious. A study from 2008 showed that drinking just one glass of orange juice a day can significantly increase a person’s risk of diabetes. The researchers followed the long-term health of 70,000 female nurses over an 18-year period and found that women who had one glass of fruit juice a day increased their odds of developing type 2 diabetes by 18 percent. Many nutritionists and the new U.S. dietary guidelines both agree on the same recommendation: it is better to eat whole fresh fruit than to consume fruit juice. Of course, a small amount of fruit juice occasionally does not present a problem, but drinking juice regularly on a daily basis is not a good idea, nor is allowing children to drink juice. And starting the day with a glass of processed orange juice is one of the worse things a person can do for their waistline, no matter what the ads tell us.
“The inconvenient truth, many experts say, is that 100% fruit juice poses the same obesity-related health risks as Coke, Pepsi and other widely vilified beverages. ‘It’s pretty much the same as sugar water,’ said Dr. Charles Billington, an appetite researcher at the University of Minnesota. ‘In the modern diet, there’s no need for any juice at all.’ ” —Karen Kaplan, writing in the Los Angeles Times
Comparative Nutritional Levels of
Comparative Vibrational Levels of Health and Disease States
Fruit Juice, Fruit Drinks & Fruit Cocktails
10,000 = Level of Optimal Health
e.g. a healthy newborn baby / hunter/gatherer tribes
Fresh-squeezed organic fruit and vegetable juices, unpasteurized Mountain Sun Pure Cranberry, unsweetened • Mott’s Garden Blend vegetable • Lakewood pomegranate • Walnut Acres Organic Harvest Apple • Welch’s Black Cherry/Concord Grape
b e t t e r
Knudsen Organic Grape • Lakewood Organic Black Cherry Juice • Welch’s Concord Grape • V-8
Tropicana Grapefruit Juice
Tropicana Orange Juice • V-8 Juice “Hot & Spicy” • Campbell’s Tomato Juice
V-8 Tomato Juice • Hood Orange Juice
Cumberland Farms Orange Juice • Hood Apple Juice • Hood Fruit Punch
Nantucket Nectars Apple Juice
Cumberland Farms Apple • Mott’s Apple • Sunsweet Plum Smart • Apple & Eve Apple, Cranberry
Sunsweet Prune Juice • Ocean Spray Ruby/Tangerine • Mott’s Plus for Kids’ Health & Immune Support
Tropicana Lemonade • Snapple Apple • Mott’s Tots apple/white grape • Ocean Spray cranberry blend
Ocean Spray orange juice • Minute Maid orange juice
Snapple grapeade • Snapple kiwi & strawberry • Hood lemonade • Juicy Juice & Minute Maid apple
Juicy Juice: Berry, Cherry, Grape
Juicy Juice: Apple-Raspberry, Mango, Orange-Tangerine, Strawberry-Banana, Sparkling Apple Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail & Apple • Hawaiian Punch, all flavors • Capri Sun, all flavors
Breast cancer metastasizes
Ocean Spray Cranberry-Blueberry-Blackberry • Ocean Spray Blueberry-Lemonade
Prostate cancer metastasizes • Common cold/ flu
Ocean Spray Light Cranberry Juice Cocktail • Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Juice Drink
h e a l t h Av e r A g e L e v e L o f H e A Lt H i n U S A
w o r s e n i n g
Arthritis starts to manifest Heart Disease starts to manifest Cancer cells form: Breast, Prostate, Lung, Colon, Pancreas Diabetes • Osteoporosis
h e a l t h
Lymphoma • Leukemia • Dementia Congestive heart disease Brain cancer • Multiple sclerosis
Metastatic bone and lung cancer
Koolaid, all flavors • Crystal Light, all flavors
Decay and Death
Measured in Bovis Units of Life Force Energy
Fruit Juice Leads to Obesity and Other Problems, Starting in Childhood “People incorrectly think juice is natural and healthy simply because it’s extracted from fruit. But there’s nothing natural about extracting juice from fruit. It’s the fruit in its entirety that’s good for you. Drinking juice—even if it says ‘100% natural’—is no better than drinking soda.” —Dr. Robert H. Lustig, professor of pediatric endocrinology at UCSF and director of the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health Clinic
Children are the largest consumers of fruit juice in the United States and, experts say, juice is undoubtedly contributing to the rise in childhood obesity. But the high-glycemic nature of these beverages can cause other problems, such as hyperactivity. Cautions food expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, “The high sugar content [of fruit juice] will play havoc with their neurotransmitters and is one of the main contributing factors to ADHD (hyperactivity). It will also contribute to colds, dental decay and chronic ill health.” Elizabeth Ward, registered dietitian and author of Healthy Food, Healthy Families: Feeding Your Child from Birth to Six Years Old, says parents often view juice as healthy and think that if a little is good, a lot is better. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting preschoolers to four or six ounces of juice per day, and are telling parents that infants who drink too much fruit juice may become malnourished if the beverage replaces human milk or formula. And babies may be at risk for digestive problems from certain types of juice. The study found that sensitive infants were more likely to suffer from gas and sleep problems after drinking apple juice, which contains high concentrations of the sugars sorbitol and fructose. They also found that infants with digestive symptoms were more likely to have tried fruit juice at an earlier age than other babies. The results of the study, which supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation to avoid giving babies fruit juice until they are at least six months of age, may help those parents who suffer from sleepless nights due to their child’s colic. These children may well have fructose malabsorption (read more about it in the chapter on Fruit & Berries.) There is nothing wrong with giving children plain water to drink—in fact, they need it.
Gout is Caused by Fructose Consumption Gout used to be regarded as a kind of joke, something that 18th century kings suffered from. But it’s no joke to those who suffer from it, and sadly it’s enjoying a revival. Gout is an extremely
painful form of arthritis caused by uric acid crystals that arise from consuming too much fructose. Fructose is the ONLY sugar that raises uric acid levels, and drinking too much fruit juice, or soda sweetened with HFCS, will increase a person’s risk of developing gout. If left untreated, gout can become increasingly painful and lead to joint damage. One study found that women who drank 12 ounces or more of processed orange juice a day, or two or more cans of soda sweetened with HFCS, were more than twice as likely to develop gout. Women who drank just one six-ounce glass of juice per day or one can of soda were at 41 percent and 74 percent greater risk, respectively. The study concluded that: “The culprit appears to be fructose . . . fructose increases levels of the chemical uric acid, which causes gout. When uric acid levels in the body get too high, the acid hardens into sharp crystals that are deposited in joints.”
The Truth about Orange Juice Real fresh-squeezed orange juice lasts only a few days, as most of us know from experience. So if orange juice purchased in a store lasts for weeks, or even months, it is by definition a processed food. You would think that the flavor of orange juice would vary from batch to batch, because not every orange tastes exactly the same. But the truth is, the uniform orange flavor of commercially-produced orange juice comes from a formulated additive that gives each carton of juice the same taste. When oranges are squeezed to make commercial fruit juice, the juice is stored in giant holding tanks and the oxygen is removed, which allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But this process makes the juice completely flavorless, so “flavor” has to be added back into the juice. Juice companies hire flavoring experts to engineer flavor packs to give the orange juice its familiar flavor and make it taste “fresh.” According to the Food Renegade website: “Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature.” One of the substances used is a chemical called ethyl butyrate, a compound that’s added to perfume as well as orange juice in order to make it taste and smell like oranges. Another issue is that many commercial producers of orange juice use fruit that is substandard and may be contaminated with mold from bruising and other damage, and some people are very sensitive to these mold toxins. Alissa Hamilton J.D., PhD, a Food and Society Policy Fellow with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, reveals the truth about mass-produced orange juice in her book, Squeezed: 116
What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice. One review of this book says, “It’s a potent reminder of just how important it is to really understand how your food is manufactured and processed because the label tells neither the whole story nor the whole truth.” If you would like to wean yourself or your children off orange juice, start by diluting it with water, and slowly keep diluting it every day until it’s almost plain water, which can be flavored with a slice of lemon. Or switch to a healthier juice, such as organic black cherry or pomegranate, and dilute it half and half with sparkling water. And remember that there is far more healthy nourishment in a whole orange than in a glass of processed orange juice. However, though not a perfect food, a glass of processed orange juice is still a better choice than a can of soda—it’s the quantity consumed that is the real issue here.
The Truth about Apple Juice Apples and apple juice have a very high sugar content, with a higher percentage of fructose than glucose. Apples also contain sorbitol, a naturally occurring but indigestible sugar. Many people have a sensitivity to sorbitol—even drinking small amounts of apple juice may cause problems, and especially with young children. A study on rats published in the December 2006 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology revealed that diarrhea triggered by sorbitol is the result of the intestine’s inability to absorb this compound. Some artificially sweetened apple juice may contain added chemical sorbitol. Apple juice also contains oxalates, so it should be avoided by those with a tendency towards kidney stones. An article published in the American Journal of Epidemiology indicates that study participants who consumed 240 mL of apple juice each day demonstrated a 35 percent increase in their risk of forming kidney stones. Apple juice can also contain mold from the skins, to which some people are very sensitive, especially the mycotoxin patulin, a toxin produced by the P. expansum, Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Paecilomyces fungal species. P. expansum is especially associated with a range of moldy fruits and vegetables, in particular rotting apples and figs. It is destroyed by the fermentation process and so is not found in hard cider. Patulin has been reported to damage
the immune system in animals, and in 2004, the European Community set limits to the concentrations of patulin in food products. “I strongly suggest not drinking apple juice,” says food expert David Lawrence Dewey. “Even though juices are pasteurized, heated to kill bacteria and most fungus, apple juice has the highest capability of breeding more of the fungus as it sits on the shelf.” Juices that contain the least amount of fungus after sitting on a shelf are cranberry, papaya, white or red grape, and pineapple.
• Arsenic-Laced Apple Juice from China In the last 10 years, the amount of food the U.S. imports from the People’s Republic of China has grown enormously. According to the group Food & Water Watch (F&WW), more than 70 percent of the apple juice consumed in the United States now comes from China, where the government has acknowledged problems enforcing new food safety laws. Sometimes juice companies like Mott’s and Nestle’s Juicy-Juice will have the countries of origin (including China) stamped or listed on the back of the packages, and Veryfine brand, which claims to be an American classic, uses Washington apples . . . from China. “Veryfine Juices are a great way to start any day. Apple juice concentrate product of Germany, Italy, Argentina, and China,” says their website. F&WW reports that China still uses arsenic-based pesticides in farming, and it has called on the FDA to test more imported foods. The FDA tests less than two percent of imported food and have never set tolerance levels for arsenic and heavy metals. The request for FDA action came after F&WW and its partner, the Empire State Consumer Project, announced the results of tests by Paradigm Environmental Services showing that samples of Mott’s Apple Juice had arsenic levels of 55 parts per billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits arsenic in public drinking water to 10 parts per billion, so some apple juice drinkers may have unknowingly been consuming unsafe levels of arsenic for years. It has been found that exposure to arsenic is related to poor scores in language, memory, and other brain functions. Michael Harbut, M.D., chief of the environmental cancer program at Karmanos Institute in Detroit, says, “Given what we know about the wide range of arsenic exposure sources we have in this country,
“PepsiCo Inc. is returning to using only oranges from Florida in its Tropicana Pure Premium orange juices, a decision made several months ago, before low levels of fungicide were found in oranges from Brazil, the company confirmed on Monday. Tropicana Pure Premium had used 100 percent Florida oranges until 2007, when problems with the Florida crop caused the company to look at alternative sources.” — featured article in the Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2012
I suspect there is an awful lot of chronic, low-level arsenic poisoning going on that’s never properly diagnosed.” And Joshua Hamilton, Ph.D., a toxicologist specializing in arsenic research and the chief academic and scientific officer at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, says, “People sometimes say, ‘If arsenic exposure is so bad, why don’t you see more people sick or dying from it?’ But the many diseases likely to be increased by exposure even at relatively low levels are so common already that its effects are overlooked simply because no one has looked carefully for the connection.” Symptoms of chronic exposure to arsenic can initially cause gastrointestinal problems and skin discoloration or lesions. Exposure over time, which the World Health Organization says could be five to twenty years, could increase the risk of various cancers, high blood pressure, diabetes, and reproductive problems. Signs of chronic low-level arsenic exposure can be mistaken for other ailments such as chronic fatigue syndrome.
In the U.S., apple juice is considered an appropriate drink for toddlers and children, but the evidence indicates that this attitude needs to change.
Yes, There are Healthy Fruit Juices! Of course, the best juice is freshly-made from organic fruit, but several companies make excellent juices, including Walnut Acres, Mountain Sun, Knudsen, and Lakewood, available at health food stores and some grocery stores and supermarkets. Top of the list are black cherry, pomegranate, grape, and blueberry. Pomegranate juice is wonderful to make at home if you have a juicer—it’s a difficult fruit to eat without juicing it, and it doesn’t need a sweetener. Cranberry juice is also good to make at home, but it does need to be sweetened and is good blended with other fresh fruit, such as Concord grape, which usually can be harvested from the vine or bought in stores at the same time of year that cranberries are in season.
The Bottom Line The Good: Fresh squeezed juice made from organic or home-grown fruit • bottled organic juices not made from concentrate such as Walnut Acres, Welch’s, Mountain Sun, Knudsen and Lakewood
The Not-so-bad: Some processed orange, grapefruit, and apple juice, including Tropicana and Snapple
The Bad: Certain brands of processed and pasteurized juice, such as Juicy Juice, Minute Maid, Mott’s and Ocean Spray
The Downright Dangerous: Processed and pasteurized fruit juice with added sugar or high fructose corn syrup • any fruit juice imported from China and certain other countries • some brands of blended fruit juice and fruit cocktails, such as Hawaian Punch and Capri Sun • Koolaid • Crystal Light • commercial processed lemonade
The Truth About Food: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Dangerous by Gillian Drake