People often ask me whether fruit juice is healthy and how often they can drink juices throughout the day.

Government guidelines recommend that one glass of fruit juice counts as one of your ‘5 a day’ but you need to remember that  fruit juices are high in sugars and therefore will contribute to the overall amount of calories you are consuming.

Some interesting research has recently come out of the US, when researchers looked at the drinking habits of 83,000 women over a 10 year period.  They found that women who choose plain water over sweet fizzy drinks or fruit juice, have a lower risk of developing diabetes.

The amount of water women drank did not seem to influence their diabetes risk – those who drank more than six x 250ml glasses a day had the same risk as women who drank less than one glass a day.

However, sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juice were tied to a higher risk of diabetes – about 10 per cent higher for each glass consumed each day.

The researchers estimated that replacing one 250ml glass of a carbonated drink or fruit juice with one cup of coffee or tea could reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 12 to 17 per cent.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also found that unsweetened coffee or tea might be a good alternative to sugary drink.  I would also recommend substituting herbal or fruit teas that are caffeine free.  During the summer, these teas can be nice drunk cold with ice and fresh mint leaves to make a refreshing drink.

I think the most important part of this research is that it points out that fruit juice is not a healthy substitute for fizzy or other sugar-sweetened drinks.

The bottom line is that plain water is one of the best calorie-free choices for drinks, and if you find water is too plain, you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime.

If you need more information on healthy eating, contact Pippa at Luck’s Yard Clinic on 01483 527945