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Fruit juice and smoothies should not be part of your 5 a day

British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) | British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT)

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The Vice Chair of the British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) supports the call to not include juices in smoothies in recommended 5 a day.

BANTsupports the recommendationthat fruit juice and smoothies should not be included as one of your five a day. Registered Nutritional Therapists have long advocated that extracted fruit juices and processed, concentrated fruit bars, should not be included in the 5 day.

The five a day message came from the World Health Organization’s report that increasing fruit and vegetable intake reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. These health gains are linked to the synergies that come from eating whole fruits and vegetables.

Colourful fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and importantly fibre, but processing and shelf life quickly destroy those, leaving you with flavoured, sweet sugar water. The significance of high levels of sugar, including fruit sugar on weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are well documented. Fruit juice is refined and the concentrated amounts of sugar in fruit juice, without any of the “fill you up” fibre, significantly increases sugar intake. A litre of orange juice has the sugar of 14-17 oranges (20 or so teaspoons).

This is not about calories, it’s about the body’s physiological response to sugar which causes people to store fat.

The research behind the 5 a day message is based on the intake of whole fruits and vegetables and in reality should focussed on eating more vegetables than fruits because of the higher sugar content of fruit.

In an effort to reach 5 a day targets, fruit juices and smoothies, have been accepted as a convenient way to achieve the target, though the objective (better health) is missed because the nutritional value of the product has been diminished by the processing.

People are confused by labeling which requires them to differentiate between juice and smoothies and high sugar fruit bars, when none of these should be included in the 5 a day.

Sarah Green is Vice Chair, Director of Regulations and Stakeholder Engagement at The British Association of Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy.

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