Facts and myths about juices - an interview with Dr. Katarzyna Stoś, prof. extra Food and Nutrition Institute

1. Professor, what is juice?

When we talk about juice, we are talking about a nutritional product that is obtained from fruits or vegetables. The term "juice", according to the regulations in force, very strongly defines the product. Juice is always made from fresh, chilled or frozen vegetables or fruit. The production of all juices is subject to strict restrictions and is strictly regulated by the European Union and national laws. Therefore, I want to point out that, in accordance with the regulations that are also in force in our country, it is forbidden to add preservatives and sweeteners to fruit and vegetable juices, as well as dyes and flavors other than those obtained from fruit and vegetables from which these juices are produced . For juices 100% Fruit and tomato juices are also not allowed to add any sugars. These requirements apply to all types of juices available on the market in all types of packaging, and regardless of the method of production, i.e. unpasteurized juices, the so-called one-day, pasteurized with a longer shelf life, juices not reconstituted from concentrated juice, the so-called NFC (Not From Concentrate) juices and juices reconstituted from concentrated juice. Juice should not be confused with other drinking products, which unfortunately is often the case.

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2. Why is it worth drinking juices? Are juices valuable products?

Because juices provide the body with substances necessary for its proper functioning. They are an excellent source of vitamins, the same ones found in the fruits and vegetables from which they were made. For example, a glass of orange juice - also pasteurized juice - covers as much as 60 percent. daily requirement for vitamin C. Carrot juice is a source of provitamin A. Juices are also rich in minerals. Tomato juice supplies the body with potassium and vitamins, e.g. vitamin C, folic acid. In addition to minerals, juices also contain polyphenolic compounds that protect the body against the influence of free radicals. Puréed and cloudy juices are also an excellent source of fiber.

3. The World Health Organization recommends that you eat min. 400 g vegetables and fruit, five portions. Could a glass of juice be one of these servings?

Yes. All juices available on the market are natural products. They do not contain any artificial substances such as preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. However, they contain everything that was in the vegetables and fruits from which they were made. That is why a glass of juice can be one of the recommended daily portions of vegetables or fruit, especially in situations where we are short of time or when we are unable to prepare a meal in a traditional form. It is worth reaching for e.g. breakfast, which in Poland consists mainly of dairy and cereal products. It is also a good solution for lunch or as a healthy snack during the day.

4. There is a common belief that juices with a longer shelf life are fattening products. Are juices really fattening?

It cannot be said that juices are fattening. The cause of obesity is the imbalance between the energy supplied from food and the energy expended, i.e. you can say that eating too many products that provide excess calories and lack of exercise. Therefore, some juices drunk in excess, as well as eating large amounts of fruit despite being low in calories, can be a significant source of sugar. However, as I have already mentioned, the law for fruit and tomato juices and 100 percent. vegetables, you must not add any sugars. So if the label on the nutritional table says that these juices contain sugar, then you should be aware that this is the same sugar that was in the fruit or vegetables from which the juice was made. The producer would be breaking the law if he added any sugar to such a juice. However, small amounts of natural sugar can be added to vegetable and fruit and vegetable juices. This solution is used because of the taste of those products that are often seasoned (also with pepper or herbs, for example), thanks to which they become tasty in the perception of the consumer. To sum up, the caloric value of juices is similar to the caloric value of the products from which they were made. For example, the average calorific value for 100 ml of fruit juice is about 40 - 50 kcal, and for vegetable juice even less. For example, 100 g of oranges is about 45 kcal, and 100 ml of orange juice is also about 45 kcal. Due to vitamins and other nutrients, vegetables, fruits and juices made from them should be an integral part of a balanced diet.

5. How will you react to the statements that juice is an artificial product, containing preservatives and other artificial additives?

Another myth. As already mentioned, the requirements for juices are strictly regulated by law. It is forbidden to add preservatives and sweeteners to the juice, as well as dyes and flavors other than those from the fruit or vegetables from which the juice was made. If the product contains such substances, it means that it is not a juice. It is worth paying attention to the fact that the packaging of juices does not contain the information "does not contain preservatives" or "does not contain artificial colors". This information may appear on other drinking products but not juices. This is due to the fact that the juice cannot contain preservatives or dyes by definition, and providing such information would suggest that other juices may have such an additive, which would not be true. Thus, manufacturers legally cannot write it on the packaging. Unfortunately, these legal regulations are little known and therefore the consumer is less aware. It is also not true that the juice in a carton or bottle reconstituted from concentrated juice is diluted. Here's the word "dilute" which can be confusing. For the concentrated juice is added exactly the same amount of water that was previously evaporated from the vegetables and fruits from which the concentrated juice was made. As a result, the amount of water in the juice reconstituted from concentrated juice is very close to the amount of water in the output products. Each fruit juice and 100 percent. Vegetable juice, including the one reconstituted from concentrated juice that goes to the shelf, must contain the same amount of water as the vegetables and fruits from which the juice was made.

6. Do juices dehydrate and acidify the body?

If that were the case, we would have to recognize that fruit and vegetables are also dehydrating. After all, juice is a product made of vegetables and fruits. It contains a similar amount of water as vegetables and fruits from which it is made. And yet vegetables and fruit in over 80-90 percent. they consist of water. In addition, fruit and vegetables and juices obtained from them provide significant amounts of minerals - primarily potassium, especially important in the context of excessive salt consumption and sodium-potassium balance, as well as the general electrolyte balance in the human body. Therefore, juice is a product that provides the body with fluids, and additionally necessary for the proper functioning of our body nutrients and bioactive substances found in vegetables and fruits. Their effect on the human body is the same as in vegetables and fruits.

7. There is also a belief that pasteurized juices are devoid of micro- and macroelements and vitamins. What's the truth?

The pasteurization process does not take away nutrients or vitamins from juices. Its role is to destroy microbes and enzymes that, if left in the juice, will lead to a natural spoilage process. This is a completely safe and healthy process, because it only consists in raising the temperature of the products for a short time and is very similar to the process that we sometimes use at home when making preserves for the winter. It differs from this home process only in that, thanks to advanced solutions, during pasteurization, the loss of vitamins that are not resistant to high temperatures is minimized. Minerals, most antioxidants and macronutrients are completely resistant to thermal treatment, and sometimes even, for example, the activity of the beneficial antioxidant - lycopene - in pasteurized tomato juice increases 2-3 times. The aforementioned law also regulates that the properties of juices reconstituted from concentrated juices with a longer shelf life achieved as a result of pasteurization must retain physical, chemical, organoleptic and nutritional properties, at least corresponding to those of the juices obtained directly from the fruit of the same species. .

The program is financed by the Fruit and Vegetable Promotion Fund. Organizer National Union of Juice Producers Association.

Information material of the National Union of Juice Producers Association

The program is financed by the Fruit and Vegetable Promotion Fund

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