The Juicing Scam: Are Juices Healthy or Hefty?

February 20, 2014 4:05 pm

We are still in the first quarter, more or less, of the year: January to May equals diet season. The media hurts our tender, food-saturated brains with images of scrawny (or, indeed, buffed up) men and women who have already begun their weight-loss journey for the summer. We squirm, we yawn, but we do it. We get those gym clothes on, run around our local park for a couple of weeks, and then skulk back to the sofa.

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All of these things, however, are not that physically damaging: we like to believe that we could be healthier, and some of us carry on throughout the year and make positive changes. However, recent trends show that one change in particular might not be as positive as first thought.

In 2000, the government released guidelines for dietary requirements, as Britain was getting too fat. Toddlers and children were swamped with the horrific idea that they might actually have to eat their broccoli, instead of tucking it under the table for the cat to eat. ‘Five a day’ is still very much a biblical idea for dieting adults. However, it is very unlikely that you will see a person eat five different fruit and vegetables for their five a day.

Often, an average adult will factor a fruit smoothie, orange juice and apple juice into these requirements – rather defeating the object of healthy living. Last year, it was revealed that one glass of orange juice contained the same amount of sugar as four Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Recent studies, conducted by dieticians and nutritionists into the dangers of juice consumption, warn that this sugary habit could be more damaging to our health than beneficial.

Imagine yourself shopping in Tesco. You walk to the juice section, and with your revived healthy-thinking brain, you pick up an orange or apple juice, instead of a Coca-Cola. Unknowingly, in a 330ml bottle or can, you are consuming not only more sugar than a Coca-Cola, but also less fibre.

This lack of fibre forces the body to absorb the sugar, plastering it around your waistline: making you put on weight. Recent cases of liver and heart problems; historically known to be caused by products with high saturated fat contents; have been greatly accelerated by the over-consumption of fruity drinks, juices and smoothies.

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As a result of this obsession, and perhaps common misconception of juice; doctors have observed a rise in fluctuation of blood sugar. Any sugar our body doesn’t require solidifies into fat compounds. The increase is vast and rapid: in 2013 it was revealed that drinking orange juice could make you put on weight faster than eating biscuits.

The scam has only become a problem due to our subjectivity to certain media narratives: magazines, television programmes and adverts tell us that fruit, including juice, is healthy. Hence, as robotic and innocent as sheep, most will believe this information. Supermarkets take up on the scam, and make lots of money out of it.

If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t fret: drink water, or check the sugar content on the side of your juice before you drink it. Most juices make you fatter than doughnuts would: just think twice the next time you buy a multi-pack of Tropicana.

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