This article is based on information from Josh Bezoni’s “8 Healthy Foods that Cause Flab.” Be certain to check out the full article to learn more.
Many people seeking to lead a healthier lifestyle feel confident in their ability to identify a few of the longtime staples of a balanced diet. Fruit, for instance, is commonly grouped with things like vegetables and whole grains as items that should make up the bulk of a healthy meal. For a large number of people, this is great news. Fruits and fruit products taste great, tend to be affordable, and are easy to find.
However, every consumer should understand fully there is a world of difference between a fruit and a fruit product. Fruit juice, one of the most ubiquitous fruit products in stores across the world, is a great example of why people looking to live more healthily should stick to eating their fruits, not drinking them.
Common knowledge points to considering what gets lost in the juicing process. The edible skins of many fruits, like apples, apricots, and blueberries, are often the healthiest parts of the plant. The skin holds nutritional value, not enough of which makes it into the final juice product. Another great loss is usually the pulp. Fruit pulp is a critical source of fiber and other nutrients. Even when commercial products claim to have “pulp added,” there is no guarantee that it is even the original pulp or that it hasn’t been overly processed at the factory.
The discerning consumer should also pause to wonder what gets added in the juicing process. All too often, the answer to that question includes a wide variety of sweeteners and artificial additives.
These observations are well reflected in the scientific literature. In 2013, the European Journal of Nutrition published a study comparing the nutritional value of consuming whole apples to drinking apple juice. Researchers identified and tracked the impact of either the juice or the fruit on a portfolio of overall health markers. These included any variation in lipoproteins or blood pressure in the group of 23 healthy volunteers.
Over the four weeks that the study ran, no significant changes in body weight occurred. However, there was an observable difference in the LDL cholesterol of subjects who ate whole apples. These participants enjoyed a reduction in LDL cholesterol, which is indicative of an increase in overall health. However, the subjects who drank apple juice actually suffered from an increase in LDL cholesterol.
The scientists concluded that this difference is the result of the juicing process which significantly diminishes the polyphenol and pectin (fiber, for example) content that is found in whole apples. Low fiber intake is associated with increased risk for both obesity and diabetes. So, most of the time, it remains better to take a big bite of your fruit instead of a gulp, when possible.
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