Fruits are natural foods that our bodies need. They contain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that make our bodies function optimally and protect us from harm. However, consuming UNLIMITED QUANTITIES of whole fruits and fruit juices may not be good for some people such as those who have diabetes, a family history of diabetes or those who are already borderline diabetics because fruits contain a natural sugar called fructose which can send a patient’s blood sugar shooting up. This should not mean, though, that fruits are off-limits to these people but that they should be taken in appropriate quantities such as 1 small apple or orange or ½ ripe mango per serving.
Of more concern to me is when people mistake the intake of fruit juice concentrates (powdered concentrates such as those that can be bought from the grocery to be reconstituted) or the pre-packaged juices in plastic bottles or tetra bricks (even when they claim to have pulp bits)or juices that are labelled as “no sugar added” as healthier than softdrinks. Even though these fruit juices are fortified with Vitamins, they are not necessarily healthy because of their high sugar content. These juices are often prepared from synthetic ingredients to come up with products that look and taste like fruit juices. They can also contain between 5-10 teaspoons of sugar per 8 ounce serving which is equivalent to the amount of sugar in the same quantity of softdrinks. These are not allowable for patients with diabetes and certainly advisable to be avoided by borderline diabetics. Parents will be well-advised if they refrain from allowing their children to consume these types of drinks because they habituate the children’s taste buds to very sweet beverages. (I know of children and adults, too, who do not drink water at all because their tastes have been accustomed to sweetness and they have grown averse to the natural taste of water). Fruit juices and shakes served in restaurants also are sweetened with either sugar or syrup.
So, juices freshly prepared from the actual fruits are preferred than artificial fruit juices and in consumed only in small quantitites (less than 8 ounces). Adding sugar to fruit juices and shakes must be avoided or if necessary, 1-2 teaspoons only. Let us also learn to read labels and discern which products contain large quantities of added sugar.