Last week I made first ever appearance on T.V. – live on BBC Breakfast! I was asked to talk about my opinions on fruit juice, and if it should no longer be allowed to contribute to one of your five a day; 150ml of fresh fruit juice currently counts as one portion of fruit.
P.S. Yes I was VERY nervous!! My heart was pounding but I really enjoyed it!
Background to the Fruit Juice Story
The group ‘Action on Sugar’ have found that many of the fruit juices marketed to children contain at least six teaspoons of sugar; more than that found in cola and most come in cartons larger than recommended. Official advice currently states that a 150ml glass of unsweetened fruit juice counts towards your five a day, where as other juice drinks, such as squash and sweetened juice, do not.
National figures currently show that the vast majority of adults and children are not getting the recommended five fruit and veg a day and Action for Sugar fail to mention the established health benefits of 100% fruit juice, such as vitamin C.
My Comments on Fruit Juice & Health
The average individual in the UK doesn’t eat enough fruit and vegetables and fruit juice does provide vitamins, minerals, soluble fibre and antioxidants, HOWEVER, portion size is key and it should be kept to a small glass (150ml), so that sugar intake does’t become an issue (fruit juice is a more concentrated form of fruit sugar in comparison to fresh fruit).
Comparing fruit juice to a can of coke, although they both do provide calories, it’s coke that contains added sugar (which just rots your teeth) and fruit juice that contains phytonutrients (such as flavanoids) to keep us healthy. We need to make sure though to check the ingredients list and look for 100% fruit juice and keep a glass to just 150ml – you can always top it up with water if you want!
If people are drinking more than 150ml of fresh juice a day then swapping the excess for water and whole fruit/vegetables would be better. The problem is when people think they can drink as much as they like – that’s when sugar levels can become an issue. Keep to 150ml (one small glass) of fruit juice a day and you’ll be ok – remember that it shouldn’t be drunk like water!
You get more fibre (in particular insoluble fibre which is great for digestion) from drinking smoothies, which contain the whole of the fruit (including skin), however always check the ingredients list first (buy no added sugar varieties) or make it at home so you know what’s in it. Smoothies can count for up to two portions of your five a day.
Regarding the different types of sugar in our diet, we have milk sugars (from milk and yoghurt), fruit sugars (from fruit) and table sugar (found in fizzy pop and sweets etc.). Milk and yoghurt provide calcium and protein as well as some natural sugar, fruit provides vitamins, minerals and fibre, as well as natural sugar (just keep fruit juice to 150ml a day if you choose to have is as a part of your 5 a day), and table sugar provides empty calories (i.e. no nutrients) and it rots your teeth.. so you can see which foods/drinks are going to be more beneficial overall!
I really hope you find my comments & what I said in the interview useful – you don’t need to stop buying 100% fresh fruit juice, just keep it to 150ml a day :).
P.S. Thank you everyone for your kind comments and support on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube – I appreciate it so much and they really do keep me going!!