How fruit juice went from health food to junk food

This week, it looked as if fruit juice might finally lose its claim to healthiness and be put into the same category as fizzy drinks. It emerged that a headteacher, Elizabeth Chaplin, who runs Valence primary school in Dagenham, wrote to parents about a new rule to confiscate juice cartons from children's lunch boxes. Instead, pupils would only be allowed to drink water.

Days earlier, Susan Jebb, a government advisor and head of the diet and obesity research group at the Medical Research Council's Human Nutrition Research unit at Cambridge University, told the Sunday Times that the government's official advice that a glass counts towards your recommended minimum five-a-day servings of fruit and vegetables should be changed.

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"Fruit juice isn't the same as intact fruit and it has as much sugar as many classical sugar drinks," said Jebb, who has stopped drinking juice. "It is also absorbed very fast, so by the time it gets to your stomach your body doesn't know whether it's Coca-Cola or orange juice, frankly. I have to say it is a relatively easy thing to give up. Swap it and have a piece of real fruit. If you are going to drink it, you should dilute it."

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