Natural fruit juice is no worse than the fruit itself, European scientists came to this conclusion in a global study initiated by the World Health Organization.
The study was carried out, in particular, in order to find out how replacing fruit with juices in the diet affects the development of certain diseases – type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, coronary heart disease and stroke. 35 thousand people aged from 20 to 70 years underwent observation for 15 years. Scientists wondered if pure fruit juice is an acceptable alternative to whole fruit, or is its health impact more comparable to that of soft drinks and sugar-added fruit juices?
To assess the relationship of replacing pure fruit juice with fruit or beverages, their relative contribution (%) to the total consumption of fruit, pure fruit juice and beverages was calculated. During all 15 years, their consumption and health status of the group were monitored. This took into account age, gender, educational level, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, family history of diabetes, and other factors.
The researchers concluded that pure fruit juice is not comparable to drinks in terms of the risk of developing these diseases, despite their similar sugar content. And pure fruit juice does not differ from fruit in terms of the degree of influence on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
Together with juice and fruits, not only sugar, but also many other useful substances (about 500 compounds) enter the body, explains Lyudmila Khomich, vice president for quality of Soyuznapitkov. And in this regard, according to some scientists, you chewed the fruit or consumed it in liquid form, there is no difference. But as for secondary metabolites (carotenoids, polyphenols, etc.) – compounds that have an antioxidant effect, studies show that their bioavailability from juices is even higher than from fruits, the expert says.
The “nutritional matrix” of juices and fruits is different: it is not only the content of the amount of a substance that affects, but also its “environment. For example, dietary fiber can inhibit the absorption of some nutrients. So, it is known that carotenoids are absorbed better if received in carrot juice. Therefore, the juice can better protect the body from these diseases, “- says Khomich.
She reminds that each juice or fruit contains its own set of nutrients. Citrus fruits are known to contain more vitamin C, red berries and juices contain anthocyanins and flavonoids, apple juice contains chlorogenic acids (which also have a powerful antioxidant effect). There are vitamins that are destroyed during heat treatment – for example, vitamin C. But it is enough to keep the daily dose in a glass of orange juice. Secondly, fruits and juices contain a rich composition of trace elements – potassium, magnesium, etc. Potassium is abundant in all fruits and juices. Pineapple juice is rich in manganese, grape juice is rich in magnesium.
At the same time, according to Lyudmila Khomich, about 95% of Russian products in stores are of good quality. On this score, Soyuznapitki conducted a large study last year. With the participation of a large number of experts, the authors assessed, firstly, the authenticity of juices in stores, that is, how close they are to the fruits themselves. And, secondly, the content of nutrients in them was studied in comparison with fruits.
For example, apple juice has been found to contain less iron than apples. But on the other hand, there was more chlorogenic acid in apple juice than in green coffee, which some time ago was promoted as the main source of this particular substance. And, for example, orange and grapefruit juice contained a lot of folic acid (a vitamin necessary for the growth and development of the circulatory and immune systems).