Earlier this month yet another article was published in the Guardian highlighting the downside of drinking fruit juices and smoothies. The basic principal is that these drinks are full of fructose, and this has the same effect on our bodies as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in soft drinks.
The guys behind the article, Barry Popkin and George Bray, are the same team that first focused on the dangers of HFCS over ten years ago.
The growing number of campaigners allied against sugar in all its forms is encouraging, but the continuing disappointment is the speed that the anti-sugar movement moves - and the lack of critical appreciation of the bigger picture. Over 5 years ago, a study published in Paediatrics, pretty much made the same point as Barry Popkin and George Bray have in their most recent article, and went so far as to tell parents not to give their children fruit juices or smoothies.
What is even more surprising is that very little is recognised about the sugar content of whole fruit. Our government is constantly wittering on about eating 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day, but not realising that there are some significant differences between the nutritional benefits of fruit verses vegetables (for the record, vegetables are by far superior). Most households in the UK who do comply with the 5 a day rule actually only focus on fruit.
Below is a reminder of the sugar content in fruit.
The first is a raisin:
This is an Apple:
This table shows a comparison of other fruits sugar and fibre contents:
Fruit is a seasonal food and as hunter gatherers we were not eating fruit all year long. Indeed, we ate when it came in season and as you can see the fibre really doesn’t justify the sugar content.
So the innocence of smoothies looks more like ignorance in the face of the facts.