Should we ban fruit juice from our five a day?

My older brother sent me this article recently – it’s a revisiting of the old fruit juice / sugar debate. As I say, this is hardly a new area of disagreement, but is interesting nonetheless, and fits in nicely with some of my recent posts on sugar and the five a day message. I couldn’t help but notice one of the comments underneath the article, stating:

This disjointed approach to healthy eating is counterproductive. We are hit by isolated messages that say eat this, don’t eat that – and then every organisation wants to get their opportunity to gain some media attention to make some point or other. 

There are four organisations giving advice in this article – no wonder the message doesn’t get through.’

I do have some sympathy for this guy! Most of the time, I quite like the neutral way in which the BBC presents its science stories, but in this piece, Action on SugarPublic Health England, the World Health Organisation and the British Soft Drinks Association are all given a mention, as well as quotes from other individuals. Rather than clear things up, it simply clouds the message and doesn’t really help the reader.

That being said, this whole debate gets to me a little, in that it’s really not very complicated! People have jumped on the idea of ‘five a day’, so why is it so difficult to understand that only one of these can be from fruit juice? This advice reflects the fact that a small (150ml) portion of juice can be healthy and a useful provider of vitamins, but we should not regularly exceed this, due to the high sugar content. Pretty straightforward, I would say.

I really don’t think the whole message should be changed – as this article is contemplating – simply because people choose to ignore it. Moderation has always been at the very essence of healthy, balanced diets, and this is just another example. Yes, it requires a little self control, but it would be nice to think that we are all capable of that. Balance and control are, after all, the key to good health.

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