My husband and I decided to take the apples from our 4 apple trees and make hard apple cider. Why not? Oh but WHY??? Five hours of cutting, pressing, and juicing the apples produced 5 gallons of juice. We started with almost 90 lbs of apples. This process of pressing the apple juice out of the apples and leaving all of the skin, fiber and pulp behind catalyzed my thought process on the actual health of fruit juice.
It took roughly 20 of our apples to make 1 cup of juice…..I could never eat 20 small apples in one sitting but I could drink a cup of juice. Could consuming the sugars (mainly fructose and some glucose) in 20 apples be good for the human metabolism, liver, and regulation of blood sugar?
I dug out my Nutrition 500 series graduate notebooks and looked up various research references and refreshed my memory on fructose metabolism. Fructose is mainly metabolised by the liver and actually depletes the cells of their main source of energy called ATP. ATP looses it’s phosphate and is eventually reduced down to uric acid. Uric acid is the main contributor to a disease called gout. In addition uric acid causes high blood pressure.
I listened to a lecture called the Bitter Truth by Dr Lustig. He gives detailed biochemical reactions that describe how fructose metabolism in the body can lead to not only high blood pressure (via high uric acid) but increased insulin resistance, increased leptin resistance, and decreased energy (via reduction in ATP).
Dr Lustig provides some history regarding the increase in fructose consumption in the US since the introduction of high fructose corn syrup in the late 1960’s. In the 1950’s Americans consumed about 15 grams of fructose daily (equal to 3 servings of fruit). Americans today, on average intake 75 grams of fructose daily. Dr Lustig presents recent studies that showed fructose (in the form of juice) was linked to higher BMI’s in todlers, and increased risk of type 2 diabetes in adults. apparently fructose metabolism is similar to alcohol metabolism in the liver and leads to increased VLDL (the bad type of cholesterol).
My curiosity on the health of drinking juice led me to some very compelling conclusions:
- There are many endocrinologist who are researching the possible role that fructose may play in diabetes, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and obesity.
- Many baby formulas contain a high amount of fructose in some form or another. Could this be predisposing the metabolism of infants to a lifetime of health complications?
- One 12 oz soda contains 20 grams of fructose.
- We should stick to an intake of 15-25 grams of fructose a day, (equaling 3 servings of fruit, and including any fructose present in other food stuffs especially processed food).
- Bottom line drinking juice and soda is like any other sweet pleasure enjoy in moderation as a treat. On a daily basis drink water, herbal tea, kumbucha, Keifer, kavass, organic whole milk (raw if tolerated), and, nut milks.