“That’s the sugar from 4 apples in one glass,” says Damon Gameau holding up a glass of apple juice. “Now 1 apple is about 4 teaspoons of sugar, that’s 16 teaspoons of sugar in that glass,” he says.

Holding an apple, he adds, “See nature has given us this perfect little packet and its got all the nutrients, the fibre, that tells us when we’re full and just the right amount of sugar in this. But what we do, is we invent a machine like this which extracts only the sugar and then we through everything else away”

This scene from the documentary That Sugar Film prompted this question to be posted in the Natural Juice Junkie Community on Facebook:

“Having juiced for many years I was never worried about sugar as its from fruit/veg….however having watched That Sugar Film tonight & it highlighting how bad it is for us to juice/make smoothies from fruit (example shown is juicing apples) and the sugar that it contains (even though its natural sugar) and the negative effects it has in the body. …….it has now made me question how healthy juices really are. Anyone else seen the film & have any advice?”

Whilst I am a fan of That Sugar Film and included it a my list of 10 More Life Changing Documentaries About Food and Health, I find this scene incredibly misleading.

Firstly, let’s talk about the number of apples needed to fill a glass…

When I make Jay Kordich’s famous lemonade recipe, juicing 2 apples and half a lemon it fills a glass, so I am a little surprised that in the film Damon Gameau needed 4 apples to get that juice. After all, I don’t think it is the half a lemon that means I only need 2 apples. But let’s talk about the BIG issue I have with this clip…

That sugar statement

How much sugar is in an apple? About 10 grams. This is based on 100 grams of apple and the the average apple weighs between 70 and 100 grams. That is between 1.75 and 2.5 teaspoons of sugar NOT 4 teaspoons. It also important to note that juicing typically extracts approx 70%-80% of the nutrients, which includes the sugar. Hence the sugar in the juice of 1 apple may be as low as 1.2 teaspoons!

Based on this calculation his glass made from 4 apples may contain less than 6 teaspoons of sugar and NOT the 16 he states in the film. Oh, and if you use just 2 apples you may have less than 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Damon Gameau also states that the juicer extracts “only the sugar” and this is factually incorrect.

It is true that highly processed store purchased apple juice is little more than sugar water (remember store bought juices are not the same) but freshly extracted apple juice is full of live enzymes and nutrients, as well as soluble fibre.

Just to give one example of the power of apple juice, science has shown it helps children with asthma, whilst eating apples did not have the same effect!

Are all sugars the same?

That Sugar Film talks about the amount of sugar in the fruit as if all fructose (fruit sugar) is the same. My belief is that there is a BIG difference between natural sugars in foods and highly processed pharmaceutical sugars, in this case high fructose corn syrup (normally labelled as glucose-fructose syrup in the UK).  It is like comparing coca leaf tea (a natural, healthy food consumed in the Andes mountains) with the processed version of the coca leaf… COCAINE!

Whilst I love the way That Sugar Film highlights the hidden sugar in so-called healthy processed foods, I believe it is unclear about the real dangers regarding fructose. Naturally occurring sugars in fruits and vegetables are not the cause of the obesity epidemic, but processed sugars are. Making fresh juice at home is NOT comparable with the processing of mass produced, manufactured juices.

Oh, and did you know that two of the biggest brands of bottled juices and smoothies are owned by Coca-Cola (Innocent) and Pepsi (Naked)!

To find out more about the benefits of juicing apples read: Juicing Apples – An Apple A Day… and Apple a Day Could Prevent 8,500 Deaths from Heart Attacks and Strokes

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