THE average annual consumption of fruit juices in the United States is about 30.3 liters per person, which is equivalent to 1,004 ounces, or roughly 2.79 ounces a day.

This average is obviously for a person who consumes 6-8 oz every 3 days or so.

Anyway, we have to qualify what we mean by fruit juices.

The processed fruit juices have added sugars (many with high fructose corn syrup and preservatives) which are all unhealthy.

The so-called concentrated ones, the 100 percent juices (may or may not have sweetener, additives or preservatives), are likewise loaded with sugar, natural fructose, which is nonetheless carbohydrate that is absorbed fast (high glycemic index) by the body, causing blood sugar spikes, harmful for all of us, especially for those with diabetes.

It is true that the concentrate has higher levels of vitamins and minerals compared to processed fruit juices, but all these fruits juices, including the 100 percent juice concentrates are very low in fiber, unlike the actual fruits, but fruits themselves are packed with sugar, albeit it natural.

Fruit juices with added sugar is unhealthy because of the negative metabolic effects of fructose when consumed daily, leading to weight gain and elevation of our blood sugar and triglycerides, which increase the risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Soft drinks are toxic

Allow me to digress a bit here to point out that the toxic beverage we call soft drinks (cola or uncola, regular or diet, with or without caffeine) are worst culprits in the causation of metabolic syndrome (clusters of conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, etc.), among the general population, especially among children.

As far as sugars are concerned, an average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar (50 percent fructose), which exceeds the daily recommended  allowance for fructose, which is 15 grams a day, for most of the 80 percent Americans (and Filipinos) who are insulin-resistant.

Indeed, soft drinks are “poison” to our body in the long run, more so to children, whose brain and other vital organs are still in their developmental stage.

I have stressed this scary fact in my preventive health book, Let’s Stop “Killing” Our Children (

Although recently, both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have agreed to remove from all their beverages brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a known flame retardant chemical, which are already banned in Europe and Japan, because it builds up in the body and in breast milk to cause health problems, soft drinks in general are “poisonous” in the long run.

There is no healthier beverage than filtered clean water, taken even a glass 8 times a day.

Sugar versus fiber

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends at least 1.5 to 2 cups of fresh fruits (preferably not juices) per day for women and 2 cups for men, and about 2-3 cups of vegetables daily for optimal health.

While 100 percent fruit concentrate may be more convenient, it is nevertheless loaded with sugar, practically with no fiber.

Example: A cup of apple juice has 0.2 gram of fiber versus an apple which has 3.3 grams; a cup of orange juice has 0.5 gram of fiber, while a cup of fresh orange has 4.3 grams.

Having fruit juice before a meal actually makes people hungrier and eat more calories.

For those with diabetes or for individuals concerned about calories, the amount of sugar from the fruits or fruit juice to be consumed should be figured in when calculating the total daily caloric intake.

Acidity problem

Our blood is normally maintained at an alkaline pH of about n7.35.

Contrary to popular belief, fruits have an alkalinizing (not acidic) effect on our body, but fruit juices with added sugars causes the opposite effect, acidity, which harms our immune system and allows proliferation of bacteria.

Sweetened juices may also cause stomach ulcers and reflux esophagitis.

Clarifying terms

The term “fruit juice,” strictly speaking, can only be used “to describe a beverage that is 100 percent fruit juice.”

The rest, with added ingredients, sweeteners, preservatives, etc., are called juice drinks or cocktails, or nectars.

When the label says “no sugar added,” it does not mean there is no sugar in it, since natural fruits have fructose sugar.

Foods and drinks with high fructose corn syrup are unhealthy because HFCS is rapidly absorbed in the body and cause hyperactive behaviors, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular and other metabolic illnesses.

While fresh fruits are healthy, they must be taken in moderation, as recommended.

People with insulin-resistance or actual diabetes should consult their physician or nutritionist for advice.

PH: diabetes hotspot

Carbohydrates as a whole (like white rice, bread, white potatoes, cakes, ice cream and other sweets, desserts) are food items we must consume with extreme moderation, if at all.

The Philippines is actually “one of the world’s emerging diabetes hotspots.”

It is ranked the top 15 in the world, home to more than 4 million diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and countless unknown or undiagnosed.

One glaring reason is that Filipinos eat “too much” rice.

Not to mention other carbs.

In this health-conscious and aesthetic-inspired generation, there is a growing practice among Filipinos and other Asians, at home and abroad, of severely reducing, if not totally eliminating rice and much other carbs (like bread and sweets) from their diet.

And more are doing daily exercises, even boxing (or tai bo) among women and men.

Studies have shown that by reducing those carbs, blood sugar and A1C levels (average blood sugar level the previous 3 months) have been normally maintained, even among diabetics, and obesity has been significantly  reduced.

High vegetable (multi-color ones and green leafy ones) and moderate protein (fish, lean beef and chicken meats, and legumes) diet is in.

This is a welcome trend, which is obviously facilitated by the various media, especially the social media and television.

There is no question that a healthy lifestyle that includes proper diet, daily exercise, abstinence from tobacco, moderation in alcohol intake, and stress management (personal de-stressing regimen, vacation, etc.) is the key to maximal well-being and longevity.


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