It’s official. Things that are good for you are actually bad for you.
Health advice changes all the time, and the latest victim of a complete about-face is the healthy one-of-your-five-a-day glass of fruit juice, which is now being described as “potentially just as bad for you as drinking fizzy drinks.”
Researchers from the University of Glasgow writing in The Lancet, Professor Naveed Sattar and Dr Jason Gill, called for better labelling of fruit juice containers to advise consumers that they should drink no more than 150ml a day, and that juice should be banned from the five-a-day gang.
Professor Sattar said: "Fruit juice has a similar energy density and sugar content to other sugary drinks. For example, 250ml of apple juice typically contains 110kcal and 26g of sugar and 250ml of cola typically contains 105kcal and 26.5g of sugar.”
He went on: "Additionally, by contrast with the evidence for solid fruit intake, for which high consumption is generally associated with reduced or neutral risk of diabetes, current evidence suggests high fruit juice intake is associated with increased risk of diabetes."
In one scientific trial, for example, it was shown that, despite having high antioxidant content, the consumption of half a litre of grape juice* per day for three months actually increased insulin resistance and waist circumference in overweight adults.
The researchers also polled over 2,000 people, who were shown pictures of full containers of different non-alcoholic beverages and were asked to estimate the number of teaspoons of sugar contained in the portion shown. Although the sugar content of all drinks and smoothies was similar, the sugar content of fruit juices and smoothies was underestimated by 48% on average, whereas the sugar content of carbonated drinks was overestimated by 12%.
Professor Sattar also jumped on the fizzy drink tax bandwagon, saying there are "strong public health reasons" for targeting sugar-sweetened drinks, although he did stop short of recommending an orange juice tax, or joining US calls for a prohibition on fruit juices for children.
* Assuming this isn’t fermented grape juice