Dutch healthy eating guidelines might recommend drinking as little as possible but pure fruit juice without added sugar or other additives can have a beneficial effect on heart health, Dutch researchers have found.
The government food agency Voedingscentrum currently discourages the consumption of fruit juice, both with and without additives, because of its high sugar content which, it says, can cause type 2 diabetes and asthma.
The study, carried out by public health institute RIVM and Utrecht University’s teaching hospital, showed that people who drank up to seven glasses of pure fruit juice can limit their risk of heart disease by 12% to 15%. The researchers also found the consumption of fruit juice did not increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes or asthma.
The study was based on two large-scale cohort studies which monitored 40,000 Dutch adults and 4,000 children for over 25 years and compared fruit juice drinkers with non-fruit juice drinkers.
The reason for the research is the widely divergent advice on the consumption of fruit juice around the world, head researcher Floor Scheffers told RTL Nieuws.
“In the United States and Britain the official guideline is that you can replace part of your daily recommended fruit consumption with a glass of pure juice. Other countries recommend fruit rather than juice. The Netherlands is the only country which tells people to drink at little of it as possible,” Scheffers said.
The strict Dutch guideline is the result of too little available data, she said “We know fruit is healthy and that added sugars are not. Because fruit juice contains a lot of sugar it is often placed in the same category as soft drinks. The guideline is not wrong in itself but our research shows fruit juice is not so bad for you and should be in an in-between category.”
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