Last updated January 15, 2017 by Lisa Richards, CNC

How Much Sugar Is In Your Fruit Juice Or Smoothie?

fruit juice

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 Related Complex. 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. Including them in your diet is likely to make a Candida overgrowth worse.

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.

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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 labeled 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 is concerning.

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. The multi-stage diet plan plan that Dr. Eric Wood and I lay out in our Ultimate Candida Diet plan is a healthy, sustainable way to cut back on your sugar consumption.

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Comments

  1. Gabrielle says:

    What about juicing in your own home with mostly veggies and minimal fruit? Or making your own smoothies? Are these not ideal for us as well?

    1. Juicing at home is OK but you should only use vegetables. As soon as you start adding fruits, the sugar content will increase dramatically. You might actually be surprised how good some veggie-only juices taste. The problem is that most people expect their juices to be ultra-sweet, when they really don’t have to be.

  2. jane says:

    You talk about fruit juices being high in sugar but you do not specify if “natural” juices such as what we juice direct from out citrus trees here in Arizona is the same as the juices you talk about. For example I was told by my allergist that I was not to drink any “prepared” juices but I could drink natural citrus juice.

    1. Hi Jane. Even natural juices are high in sugars. If you are suffering from Candida then there isn’t much difference between all-natural juice and added-sugar juice – you need to avoid them both.

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi, i understand what you are saying about the fruit but I’ve noticed that there are a lot of the ‘Green’ juices that contain pear, is that because Pear is not as high in sugar but does slightly sweeten the vegetable based juice? Also is it correct that i can’t add carrot as it’s too high in sugar as well?

    1. Hi Lisa. If you’re looking at the ‘green’ juices typically found in your local supermarket, they all tend to be too high in sugar. The best juices are vegetable-only, and if you are suffering from Candida then you should also exclude those vegetables on my foods to avoid list (like carrots). I like to add in a little ginger and lemon juice to mine.

  4. lesa says:

    Do you also believe that smoothies we make at home with whole fruit mixed in with greens is just as bad as juice? I have read studies saying that blending is better than juicing because fiber is retained. Obviously, I have been excluding fruit while trying to fight candida, but I am hoping this will not be forever.

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