Drinks trade body defends fruit juice health benefits

By Laurence Gibbons

- Last updated on GMT

Replacing three servings per week of fruit juice with whole fruit reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes
Replacing three servings per week of fruit juice with whole fruit reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes

Related tags: Fruit juice, Fruit

The British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has reiterated that fruit juice plays a positive role in the diet after a new report found a link between drinking it and an increased risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.

The report, released in the British Medical Journal​, found that people with a greater consumption of fruit juice had a “higher risk”​ of encountering type 2 diabetes than those that eat whole fruit.

However, a spokesman for the BSDA denied there was a need for consumers to cut fruit juice out of their diet.  

“There are many limitations with the research so you can’t conclude that cutting out fruit juice is a good idea,” ​he said. “Don’t forget that a glass of fruit juice is rich in essential nutrients and can count as one of your five a day that makes up a healthy diet.  Fruit and fruit juice play a positive role in the diet.”

Type 2 diabetes

The research stated: “There is a significant difference in the associations between individual fruits and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Greater consumption of specific whole fruits particularly blueberries, grapes and apples was significantly associated with lower type 2 diabetes risk, whereas greater fruit juice consumption was associated with a higher risk.”

Researchers found that replacing three servings per week of fruit juice with individual whole fruits reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 7%.

When juice was replaced with blueberries the risk was 33% lower; 19% lower for raisins and grapes; 14% lower for apples and pears; 13% lower for bananas and 12% lower for grapefruit after adjustments for personal factors and lifestyle.

The risk was also found to be 18% lower when juice was replaced with prunes; 11% lower for peaches; plums and apricots and 8% lower for oranges.

Substitution of whole fruits for fruit juice was not associated with a lower risk when replaced with strawberries and cantaloupe melon.

Researchers from the UK, the US and Singapore used data from three prospective cohort studies among US adults: the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS 1984–2008), the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II 1991–2009) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS 1986–2008).

Of the 187,382 people included in the research, 12,198 (6.5%) developed type 2 diabetes.

Cancer

The study included both men (36,173) and women (151,209). Participants who reported a diagnosis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease or cancer at baseline were excluded.

Information was gathered on participants’ body height and weight, cigarette smoking, physical activity, multivitamin use and family history of diabetes. Information for women was collected on menopausal status, post-menopausal hormone use and oral contraceptive use.

Related topics: Fruit, vegetable, nut ingredients, Drinks

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