Fruits form an important part of our diet. The range and variety of fruits ensures that practically every vitamin, minerals and trace minerals as well as a good calorie source can be obtained. Fruits have simple sugar and complex carbohydrates. They have good amount of fibers which also contribute to good bowel health. And most interestingly fruits have different types of sugars and not just glucose and sucrose. So different fruits will have different proportions of glucose, fructose, galactose, mannose or sucrose etc.
Sugars other than glucose and sucrose do not increase blood sugar. But they add to the taste component of the fruit. Colored fruits like Jamun or black plum have polyphenols, antioxidants and falvanoids which actually benefits lowering of blood sugars. Colored fruits and its flavors due to naturally occurring ingredients (unlike artificial colors and flavors) can be nutritionally beneficial as well as protective against many illnesses. The bioactive phytochemicals present in various fruits can fight against many chronic illnesses and also has been shown to prevent certain cancers.
Vitamin A and carotenes and various anti oxidants in fruits can help prevent different cancers. Thus fruits definitely should be a regular part of our diet.
So what happens when you make a juice out of these fruits?
- First for a single glass of juice you may require 2-3 fruits.
- This will concentrate and greatly increase the amounts of sugars in it.
- A low calorie fruit gets converted to a high calorie fruit juice.
- All the fibers get removed taking with it many essential and useful phytophenols, carotenes and antioxidants.
- Many add additional sugars to fruit juices further increasing its sugar and calorie content
- An average glycemic index fruit gets converted to a high glycemic index juice thereby increasing blood sugars in diabetics.
- Juices are generally stored and preserved by addition of preservatives.Chemically active antioxidants can lose its properties if stored for a long time.
- Ever wondered how each and every canned fruit juice looks and tastes the same? Wheras fresh fruit juices made at home will have a different taste each and every time. This is because hoteliers and juice stalls and companies adds artificial colors and flavors to the juices .
- A single or even 2-3 glass of juices doesn’t fill your stomach but will add 200-600 calories. And you are like to snack or have a whole meal after that thereby greatly increasing calorie intake.
If you have grasped the above facts you would realize that it is better to eat fresh fruits, not so good to have fresh fruit juices and probably bad to have preserved fruit juices.
The high calorie count with high gycemic index increase blood sugars and weight. Increase in weight indirectly cause rise in cholesterol levels. The lack of protective elements of natural fruits coupled with harmful effects of added chemicals directly and indirectly increases risks of heart attacks, strokes and probably of cancers .
Hence it is always better to have a bowl of fruits once a day for a diabetic or 2-3 courses of fresh fruits if non diabetic for its entire health benefits instead of juices.
Thus sweet juices can come with a dose of bitter truth.
DR JACOB THOMAS
MD (MED); DNB (MED).