Can people with Type 2 diabetes drink juice?

The answer is complicated.

First, if the juice contains added sugar, then you should avoid it or reduce your intake.

This is because recent research shows that sugar-sweetened drinks are linked to higher risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In one article, we talked about one review study from Endocrine Society. The study reviewed 36 published research articles about the association between drinking beverages with added sugar and diabetes risk factors.

What are diabetes risk factors? They are things related to your lifestyle and health markers. For example, belly fat, high level blood sugar, and reduced good cholesterol (HDL) are important risk factors.

That review found that most of the research in the area showed a positive relation between sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of diabetes. The more sugar beverages you have, the higher diabetes risk you have.

In these studies, included in the review, juice with added sugar was included as one type of sugar-sweetened beverage. Therefore, it is wise to drink less such kind of juice.

The authors comment: “Sugar-sweetened beverage drinking is steadily rising among all age groups worldwide.

Our analysis revealed that frequent intake of these beverages contributes to the onset of the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and hypertension.”

“The findings demonstrate there is a clear need for public education about the harmful effects of excess consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

But our understanding of this topic would benefit from additional research to further clarify how sugar-sweetened beverages affect our health.”

Then how about 100% pure fruit juice? Are they healthy for people with type 2 diabetes?

One study published last year focused on this topic. The French study checked health data from 61,440 women in a large cancer and nutrition project in Europe between 1993 and 2011.

The project aims to improve understanding of women’s health and their risks of developing chronic conditions, such as cancer or type 2 diabetes.

In the project, women completed long questionnaires on their diets since 1993. They give full details of each food intake, including snacks and appetisers prior to the three main meals and evening snacks.

This gives the researchers precise information, including pictures, of both the foods and drinks consumed and the average nutritional intake for each person. The study ended in 2007.

Of the 66,118 women followed during this project, about 2% (1,369) were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

The team modelled the risk of developing the disease depending on drinking of three types of drinks: regular sodas, artificially sweetened sodas and 100% pure fruit juice.

They considered other factors such as physical activity, body mass index and family history.

The authors wanted to distinguish the effects of the three beverages on health. They found that 1.5 litres per week (the equivalent of a large bottle), the risk of diabetes was 60% higher with diet drinks than with regular sugary drinks.

These results are even more striking considering that people then drank less sugar-free sodas than we do today.

The average back then was about 328 ml of sugary drinks each week (about a can), and 568 ml of “diet” drinks.

It is very important that there was no increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes with 100% pure fruit juices, which are naturally sweetened products.

Another recent study from Journal of Nutritional Science shows the similar results.

Researchers found that 100% juice does not have a significant effect on fasting blood glucose, fasting blood insulin, or insulin resistance.

This systematic review and meta-analysis included 18 randomized controlled trials (RCT) to evaluate the impact of 100% juice from fruits, such as apple, berry, citrus, grape, and pomegranate.

The researchers found that a 4-oz. glass of 100% juice counts as one serving (1/2 cup) of fruit and can complement whole fruit to help individuals add more nutrients to their diets.

Thus, it seems that drinking 100% pure juice is okay, at least not as harmful as sugar-sweetened beverages and diet drinks.

But there is another question: is drinking 100% pure juice as healthy as eating whole fruits?

If most or all the whole fruit and/or vegetable is blended into the beverage (skin, pulp, and flesh), then the nutrients and fiber are preserved, making it nutritionally comparable to eating the ingredients in whole form.

But one bad thing is that when you drink fruit juice, even 100% pure with no added sugar, you consume much more calories than eating whole fruit.

You can easily finish a cup of orange or apple juice as a snack. But it takes maybe 3-4 whole fruits to produce that cup of juice. You simply will not eat so much fruit as one snack.

Thus, eating the same foods in whole form will provide longer term satiety and make it easier to avoid excessive caloric intake.

If you get excessive calories from fruit juice, you will gain more weight and have higher risk of overweight or obesity, which is a big risk factor of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Another bad thing is that when you drink juice, you lose the dietary fiber in the whole fruits.

Juice from extractors and bottled juices (even when labeled 100% fruit juice) lack fiber.

There are several studies show that dietary fiber can help fight against type 2 diabetes.

For example, one study published in journal Science found that a diet high in diverse fibers can promote a select group of gut bacteria that improves blood glucose control, helps weight loss, and improves lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

In the study, researchers gave the treatment group a large amount of many types of dietary fibers while ingesting a similar diet for energy and major nutrients. Both groups took the drug acarbose to help control blood glucose.

The high-fiber diet included whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods rich in dietary fibers, and prebiotics, which promote growth of short chain fatty acid-producing gut bacteria.

The control group received standard patient education and dietary recommendations.

After 12 weeks, patients on the high-fiber diet had greater reduction in a three-month average of blood glucose levels. Their fasting blood glucose levels also dropped faster, and they lost more weight.

The researchers explained that in the gut, bacteria break down carbohydrates, such as dietary fibers, and produce short-chain fatty acids that nourish our gut lining cells, reduce inflammation and help control appetite.

A shortage of short-chain fatty acids has been associated with type 2 diabetes and other diseases.

The authors said: “Our study lays the foundation and opens the possibility that fibers targeting this group of gut bacteria could eventually become a major part of your diet and your treatment of type 2 diabetes.”

One study compared the health impacts of whole fruits and fruit juice found that men and women who drank one or more servings of fruit juice each day had a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 21%.

On the contrary, eating at least two servings certain whole fruits such as blueberries, grapes, and apples every week was linked to a lower risk for type 2 diabetes by as much as 23%.

Therefore, eating whole fruits is better than drinking 100% pure juice.

So, our answer to the title question is: You can drink 100% pure juice but should avoid/reduce sugar-sweetened juice.

Eating whole fruits is healthier than drinking juice because you consume less calories and more dietary fibers.

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