There is much more sugar in our diets today than there was 30 years ago, and this has triggered huge increases in obesity, diabetes and conditions like candida. As we become more aware of the effects of sugar, many of us are trying to make improvements to our diets. But did you know that many of the ‘health foods’ marketed by the food industry actually contain high levels of sugars too?
In the ‘80s, we were all told that obesity was caused by eating too much fat. Food manufacturers responded by removing fat from their products and adding sugars like high fructose corn syrup instead. Then, in the 2000s, consumers started to realize that all this added sugar was actually making them fat anyway, and leading to an explosion in type 2 diabetes. So the food industry again responded, this time by marketing ‘healthier’ drinks such as juices and smoothies. They have also started to sweeten their foods with the healthier-sounding ‘fruit juice concentrate’.
But the reality is, these new drinks and foods contain just as much sugar as they used to. Your body does not care where sugar comes from, and it just loves the easy-to-digest fructose typically found in a fruit juice. In fact, recent studies have shown that drinking fruit juices and smoothies can actually have a similar impact on your blood sugar as a can of soda.
Fruit juice is not the same as whole fruit
It’s tempting to believe the hype around certain fruit juices and smoothies. They are marketed as an easy way to get your ‘five a day’ servings of fruit and vegetables, and you don’t need to go near your kitchen to do it! But in this case, it really is too good to be true.
A recently published BMA study looked at whether consuming fruit juices or whole fruit could lead to type 2 diabetes. This was no small study – over 180,000 individuals were included in the results. The researchers found conclusive evidence that eating specific whole fruits (blueberries, grapes and apples) actually reduced the chance of diabetes. On the other hand, regularly drinking fruit juice was found to increase the chance of diabetes.
Why is drinking a juice so much worse than eating the whole fruit? When you eat the whole fruit, all that extra fiber prevents sugar from being absorbed quickly in your gut. On the other hand, when you drink fruit juice, there is nothing stopping the fructose from being absorbed quickly and spiking your blood sugar. In the UK, fruit juices will soon have to be labelled with a red ‘traffic light’ warning sign to signify that they have a high sugar content. That’s why I recommend that Candida sufferers eat some whole fruits later on in their treatment plan, but I ask them to always avoid fruit juice.
Fruit juice where you don’t expect it
Fruit juice doesn’t just come in a bottle! It is also a fast-growing ingredient used by the food industry to sweeten our meals. In fact, if you regularly read the labels on your food, you might have noticed that ‘fruit juice concentrate’ is rapidly replacing High Fructose Corn Syrup and other unhealthy sweeteners in our food.
This has to be a good thing, right? Unfortunately, no. The sugars from fruit juice are really no different to regular added sugar. Your body absorbs them just as fast, and they have just the same effect on your blood sugar levels. Using fruit juice concentrate is simply a clever ploy by the food industry to make your drinks sound healthier than they really are.
You might also be interested to know where most of this fruit juice concentrate comes from. China is the world’s largest exporter of apple juice concentrate, and the largest importer of their product is the United States. After being processed into a powder, this concentrate is shipped across the world in industrial-sized tanks, then added to our food and drink. Given the extraordinary number of problems with food safety in China, this has to be a concern.
Dietary changes can regulate your blood sugar
If you have been regularly drinking fruit juices or smoothies, your blood sugar may well be too high. As you can see, although fruit juice may be derived from a natural food, it is full of sugars that can be easily digested in your gut.
All that sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes, as well as throwing your gut flora completely out of balance. That’s why in my Ultimate Candida Diet plan, I recommend that you avoid all fruits for the first stages, but reintroduce fruits like blueberries and green apples later on. In the long term, I would recommend avoiding fruit juice completely, and sticking to the whole fruits.
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