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BANT Comments on Call to Banish Fruit Juice as a Part of the 5 a Day

BANT (The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy) comments on Fruit Juice as part of the 5 a day.

BANT supports the recommendation that fruit juice and smoothies should not be included as one of your five a day. Registered Nutritional Therapists have long advocated that extracted fruit juices and processed, concentrated fruit bars, should not be included in the 5 day.

The five a day message came from the World Health Organisation’s report that increasing fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. These health gains are linked to the synergies that come from eating whole fruits and vegetables.

Colourful fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and importantly fibre, but processing quickly destroy those, leaving you with flavoured, sweet sugar water. The significance of high levels of sugar including fruit sugar on weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are well documented. Fruit juice is refined and the concentrated amounts of sugar in fruit juice, without any of the “fill you up” fibre, significantly increases sugar intake. A litre of orange juice has the sugar of 14-17 oranges (20 or so teaspoons).

This is not about calories, it’s about the body’s physiological response to sugar which causes people to store fat.

The research behind the 5 a day message is based on the intake of whole fruits and vegetables and in reality should focussed on eating more vegetables than fruits because of the higher sugar content of fruit.

In an effort to reach 5 a day targets, fruit juices and smoothies, have been accepted as a convenient way to achieve the target, though the objective (better health) is missed because the nutritional value of the product has been diminished by the processing.

People are confused by labelling which requires them to differentiate between juice and smoothies and high sugar fruit bars, when none of them should be included in the 5 a day.