Feature

Health scare of the week: Down with fruit juice

Per ounce, a serving of juice contains more calories than soda and just as much fructose.

If you thought juice was good for you, think again. While a tall glass of OJ does contain important nutrients, such as vitamin C and potassium, a growing number of health experts say its value is more than offset by the high levels of fructose—a simple natural sugar—that juice contains. “The upside of juice consumption is so infinitesimal compared to the downside that we shouldn’t even be having this discussion,” pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig tells the Los Angeles Times. In turning oranges into orange juice or apples into apple juice, processors take out all the fiber, and concentrate all the sugar from several pieces of fruit into one serving. Per ounce, a serving of juice contains more calories than soda and just as much fructose. In high concentrations, fructose can overwhelm the liver, which reacts by converting it to fat. A recent study found that high levels of fructose, regardless of the source, increase the risk of heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Physicians also worry that kids who consume juice in large quantities develop a lasting sweet tooth; the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that young children drink no more than one 4- to 6-ounce serving of juice per day and older kids no more than two. 

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