photo credit: amberbow92
Update: This article has attracted some poorly informed protests that suggest sugar as a key causal factor in diabetes is somehow a myth. My statements in this article have been upheld by a study published in 2008 that involved 71,346 women followed for 18 years that found adding just one serve of fruit juice per day increased the risk of diabetes. You can read the full study here - Intake of Fruit, Vegetables, and Fruit Juices and Risk of Diabetes in Women.
I’ve also since expanded on this theme in the following articles:
- The Myth that Sugar Causes Type 2 Diabetes is a Myth
- Sugar, Fat, Insulin & Diabetes: The Saga Continues
- Diabetes, Fructose and Natural Appetite Regulation
- The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Yes, you read the title correctly. I’m sure this is going to upset some people but the truth is the truth. Juice causes diabetes. If you are a fan of juice and are into it for what you thought were its health benefits then you might be feeling like scrolling down and leaving me a nasty comment right about now. Hold that thought my friend. If you’ve read just a few of my other health related articles:
- Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk
- Misinformation and Misperceptions about Meat
- Make One Easy Change and Lose Weight
- The Best Diet for You
- Is Cardio Necessary for Fat Loss?
- Are You a Victim of the Great Cholesterol Con?
- Miss Breakfast at Your Peril!
You would know that I wouldn’t throw a statement like “Juice causes diabetes” around lightly. Take a moment to read this article. After I’ve presented you with some information you may or may not be aware of you might have a change of heart about that nasty comment you were planning. If not, then that is ok to.
What do I mean when I say juice?
To start with when I say “juice” I’m referring to the juice you’re buying from both the commercialized over the counter juice bar and from your local supermarket. I am specifically not referring to any juice you may be having after cutting up fresh organic fruit and vegetables, juicing them and immediately drinking the resultant freshly made juice.
How does juice cause diabetes?
Let me break it down for you. If you were to go visit your doctor and have them check your blood sugar levels they will look primarily at the level of glucose in your blood. However, glucose is just one form or type of sugar that is in your blood. There are several other types of sugar. One of which is Fructose, which as the word suggests is a sugar found in fruit.
The catch is Fructose doesn’t have much of an impact upon your blood glucose levels. And your doctor isn’t checking your body’s level of Fructose. What’s more, research has shown that the number one sugar that causes diabetes is Fructose! That’s right. Sugar from fruit is the number one pro-diabetes sugar.
So next time you go to drink some commercially processed and produced juice or consider giving it to your children, stop. Fruit juice may be taking you and your children down the slippery slope to diabetes. That may sound a little alarmist to you. Which is fair enough. I’m sure for many it might be a bit of a shock.
Lets put this into perspective
Consider your ancestors. No more then a couple hundred years ago if you didn’t live close to the equator where the weather is good for year round fruit production you didn’t eat all that much fruit. If your ancestors originated anywhere outside the small equatorial band then your body is not adapted to eating fruit year round.
There were no trains, planes or global shipping using cold storage methods to ship low priced fruit all over the world year round. This goes back to the idea of what constitutes a healthy diet. If the concept of eating what your body is genetically adapted to is a new one for you then you will want to read my article - A Healthy Diet Means Eating What Your Body is Adapted To.
Now think of drinking juice. I love apples. So if I were to make a big glass of apple juice I’d probably have to juice about four or five apples. That means I’ve removed all the skin, the fiber and if we are talking modern processing methods I’ve removed all the vitamins and minerals as well. What is left is essentially Fructose water. Also known as sugar water.
Have you ever eaten four or five apples in less then a minute? I’d be surprised if you have. The problem is, that is what you are doing when you drink a glass of juice. Only there is no fiber to slow the rate of sugar absorption into your blood. If you know something about the Glycemic Index you would know that things like fat and fiber slow the rate of absorption of sugar from the food you’ve eaten into your blood. Thus effectively reducing the G.I of those foods.
What drink is good for you?
If you want to juice your own fresh organic fruit and vegetables that is a good thing. Just make sure you drink it right away. Otherwise the nutrient value degrades very quickly and you’ll end up with regular sugar water. Also if you love eating fruit like I do then make sure you have some nuts like almonds, walnuts, or pecans with your fruit. Between the fiber in the fruit and the good fat in the nuts the rate of absorption of the sugar in the fruit will be sufficiently slowed. That way you’ll get a nice steady release of energy instead of a sudden spike followed by an equally sudden crash. At which point you’re probably going to reach for more sugar and fake energy from things like coffee and just go around in an unhealthy circle.
Now lets check out my favorite drink. Water. There was a time when I disliked the taste of water. But then I did some research and decided that I had to drink a decent amount of it every single day. Surprisingly it wasn’t long before I got into a serious habit of just drinking water and nothing else. Right now I have a 1ltr glass stein of water on my desk in front of me. Most days I drink about 3ltrs. When I exercise or if it’s summer I often drink a lot more.
How much water should I be drinking?
How much water you should be drinking each day depends on your bodyweight. Take your weight in pounds and divide it by two. That is how much water in ounces you should be drinking each day, minimum. If you do things in liters and kilograms then take your body weight in kg x 0.033 = how much water to drink in liters.
Our bodies are composed of roughly 75% water. Water’s chief functions are to maintain a stable environment inside and around our cells. This allows our cells to acquire sufficient nutrition and aids elimination of waste. For normal digestive processes to occur you need to drink the amount of water you just calculated for your body weight.
If you are dehydrated you cannot produce sufficient saliva when chewing food. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that begin to break down food right there in the mouth. This prepares the food for proper digestion and assimilation in the stomach and intestines. If you do become dehydrated your body will scavenge water from your organs and your central nervous system.
I hope you found this article both informative and interesting. Agree with me? Have questions? Still want to write a nasty comment in defense of juice? Please leave a comment below.
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