Fruit juice bad for teeth

orange, grapefruit, juicesAction on Sugar,  discovered many children’s juices contain at least six teaspoons of sugar and come in cartons larger than recommended.  Supported by the British Dental Health Foundation, Action on Sugar recommends removing fruit juices from the recommended list of five a day portions of fruit and vegetables because of the amount of sugar they contain.

According to Dr Nigel Carter, OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation,  ‘While fruit juices can be a good way to get people to consume more fruit, the high concentration of sugar and acids means that they can do real damage to the teeth if sipped throughout the day. Smoothies are thick and stick to teeth, leaving sugar in contact with teeth for longer.’

Dr Sally Norton, weight loss surgeon and founder of,  says, ‘Some juices not only have fruit sugars, but may have added sugar, too – why on earth do some manufacturers do that?  These ‘added sugars’ only fuel our palate into craving sweeter and sweeter foods – increasing our consumption and our weight.  The sugar from fruit is ‘natural’, for sure, but that doesn’t mean it is good for you.’

‘The type of sugar in fruit is called fructose – a sugar that doesn’t cause so many blood sugar spikes (the long-term effects of which can lead to type-2 diabetes) but one that may increase the amount of fat stored in the liver – which in turn can cause disease,’ Sally continues.

‘A small amount of fructose in an apple is unlikely to cause problems as it is mixed in with fibre anyway, which helps protect us from the sugar’s effects and slows its absorption.  So, you will be more full, and take in less sugar if you have an apple and a glass of water than straight apple juice.’

Does that mean a total no to fruit juice?

‘Of course not. Anything in moderation is good. But personally, I would rather find a more filling way to get my few teaspoons of sugar a day than a single glass of fruit juice. Besides, when I do hanker after the vitamin-hit that juice can offer, I much prefer to blitz my own using a lot of veg and a hint of fruit (so reducing the sugar) and blend where possible rather than juice to keep a bit more of the fibre. That way I know it is as fresh as it can be, I know exactly how much sugar it contains and keep as many nutrients in it as possible.’

What can you drink instead?

‘Water flavoured with ginger, lemon or mint and lots of ice is great at this time of year. Tea and coffee is fine too – but a coffee shop latte can contain loads of sugar, so watch out.   Fruit juice spritzer? Mix fruit juice with an equal amount of sparkling water to halve sugar content per glass. Or try coconut water – only about 2.5 teaspoons per cup – so also makes a nice summery, low-sugar option.’

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