Thursday 24 March 2016

Fruit cakes

The sugarphobia carries on. From The Guardian (and everywhere else)...

Fruit juices and smoothies contain 'unacceptably high' levels of sugar

A 'study' has been published in BMJ Open looking at the sugar content of fruit juice, ie. some nutters from Action on Sugar read the nutritional content on the side of the bottles and copied them into a table.

Shockingly, it transpires that pure fruit juice contains sugar! The caps-lock crusader, Simon Capewell, explained why the public should be aghast...

“These are marketed intensively to children as well as to parents,” said Prof Simon Capewell of the department of public health and policy at the University of Liverpool, one of the authors. “They are routinely packaged in garish colours. They routinely have cartoons and other sort of folksy animal creatures being used to market them."

No prizes for guessing where this is leading. Plain packaging for cranberry juice, anyone?

“There is often a health halo – some claim about vitamin C or ‘packed full of fruit’. There are no restrictions around the words industry can use in their marketing. They can claim or imply quite a lot."

Actually, there are quite a lot of restrictions on marketing. Advertising claims - unlike 'public health' claims - have to be 'legal, decent, truthful and honest'. For example, fruit juice makers can say that their products contain vitamin C and are packed with fruit because their products contain vitamin C and are packed with fruit. See how that works? 

“I think it came as quite a surprise to us really that there is so much sugar hidden and that any of the most familiar brands had such a high level.”

Assuming Capewell's surprise is a genuine emotion rather than a rhetorical affectation, he has no business presenting himself as an expert. This guy is a public health professor and a member of a charity, Action on Sugar, that is entirely focused on this one ingredient. If he didn't know roughly how much sugar was 'hidden' in fruit juice, he is in the wrong job.

The researchers analysed 203 fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies stocked by seven major supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, the Co-op and Morrisons. They found almost half contained a child’s entire recommended daily intake of sugar, which is a maximum of 19g or nearly five teaspoons.

Obviously pure fruit juice does not contain 'teaspoons' of anything, but this seems to be the only way the public health loons can talk about sugar these days. 

If you are scandalised by idea of fruit juice containing 'nearly five teaspoons' of sugar, brace yourself as I reveal how many 'teaspoons' of sugar are in the fruits themselves.

A banana contains four teaspoons of sugar!

An apple contains five teaspoons of sugar!

An pear contains four and a half teaspoons of sugar!

A bunch of grapes contains five teaspoons of sugar!

A slice of watermelon contains four and half teaspoons of sugar!

An orange contains four teaspoons of sugar!

Remember, each teaspoon of sugar contains 16 deadly calories! What's more, some of these fruits are packaged in 'garish colours'.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a 'study' to submit to BMJ Open.

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