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Fruit juice

Product Review: Fruit and Vegetable Blends Better Than Just Juice

Wednesday, January 02, 2008 by: John Cole
Tags: fruit juice, vegetable juice, health news

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(NewsTarget) Given the choice between a piece of fresh fruit and the juice from that fruit, the juice is often not the better choice. With orange juice, for example, you get a hefty dose of sucrose, fructose, and glucose without the benefit of the fiber found in the white pulp, which slows down the rate of sugar absorption. The white pulp also contains the bioflavonoids. In the case of an apple vs. apple juice, the skin of the apple is where the flavonoids, including the very important nutrient quercetin, are found (http://www.answers.com/quercetin?cat=health&...) . The juice is high in sugar, low in flavonoids, and low in fiber. Goji juice, as I mentioned in a previous article, is not only expensive, but contains lower nutrition than the whole fruit (http://www.newstarget.com/022082.html) .

In some cases, however, juice can be the better choice: when you can't get the fresh fruit, for someone with gastrointestinal problems in need of nutrition that can be easily and quickly digested and absorbed, for people temporarily avoiding solid foods for detoxification and/or religious purposes, and when a juice combines a mixture of fruits and/or vegetables that would be impracticable to obtain and eat on a regular basis.

Enter Kagome, a food company in Japan (http://www.kagome.co.jp/index.html)

Kagome used to be a tomato juice, tomato paste, and ketchup company. In recent years they have introduced fruit and vegetable juice blends. Last year they introduced the purple blend, which contains 18 veggies (including purple carrots!) and 5 fruits. The brand new blend is the red blend, with 10 veggies and 9 fruits. These juices are not "long-life" products, so they have not been pasteurized at very high temperatures for a long time period. They do not contain any added sugar, artificial sweeteners, salt, or preservatives. They do contain added citric acid, vitamin C, and an "aroma agent". In a call to Kagome, we got an explanation of this agent: during the heating, used as pasteurization, some natural aroma escapes; Kagome uses a process to capture the escaping aroma, and later re-introduce it into the heated blend. So this "aroma agent" in not artificial. The added citric acid was said to be for extra flavor, and the added vitamin C just for "fortification".

There is an "open by" date printed at the top of each 1-liter carton; this date is about a week to 10 days after it first appears in the supermarket cooler. On the side panel it says to keep refrigerated before and after opening, and to consume all of the juice within 3 or 4 days after opening. The amount of naturally occurring sugars varies, depending on the blend, from 16 grams up to 22 grams per 200 milliliters (a typical, small juice glass). They also list the amount of naturally occurring sucrose, which is already included in the total amount of all naturally occurring sugars, like fructose, glucose, and sucrose (according to Kagome, this is a Japanese law: when no extra sugar is added to a product, the amount of naturally occurring sucrose must be listed on the label in addition to the amount of total sugars).

Each of the three fruit/veggie blends contains 50% vegetable juice and 50% fruit juice, so although you're getting 10 to 20 or more vegetables, the taste is not noticeably bitter, and even kids love them. There is one all-veggie blend, and although most adults can drink it with no complaints, your typical modern-day, raised-to-have-a-sweet tooth youngster would probably not take a natural liking to it.

The four juice blends

It might be tedious if it weren't so amazing, but it is amazing, so I'm going to list the vegetable and fruit components of the four juice mixes here.

The red mix (86 calories / 200ml) contains: tomato, red bell pepper, beet, perilla, parsley, spinach, kale, watercress, asparagus, lettuce, apple, lemon, raspberry, cranberry, strawberry, pomegranate, acerola, grape, and grapefruit (http://medical-paper-edit.freehostia.com/04i...) .

The purple mix (90 calories / 200ml) contains: purple and orange carrots, purple yam (ube), perilla, purple cabbage, red bell pepper, cabbage, eggplant, asparagus, celery, Chinese cabbage, Japanese daikon radish, kale, lettuce, watercress, spinach, parsley, beet, Japanese pumpkin, apple, grape, lemon, blueberry, and raspberry (http://medical-paper-edit.freehostia.com/05i...) .

The orange mix (68 calories / 200ml) contains: carrot, spinach, asparagus, red bell pepper, "Brassica juncea var. japonica", watercress, Japanese pumpkin, purple cabbage, broccoli, molokheya, beet, perilla, celery, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, kale, parsley, eggplant, onion, Japanese daikon radish, cabbage, apple, orange, and lemon (http://medical-paper-edit.freehostia.com/06i...) .

The all veggie mix (65 calories / 200ml) contains: carrot, tomato, Chinese cabbage, red bell pepper, a kind of leaf lettuce, celery, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, parsley, spinach, kale, watercress, onion, lettuce, molokheya, Japanese pumpkin, beet, Japanese daikon radish, "Brassica juncea var. japonica", ginger, purple yam (ube), Angelica keiskei, eggplant, and burdock (http://medical-paper-edit.freehostia.com/07i...) .

Recently I saw on ABC TV news, during "Breast Cancer Awareness Month", a story about breast cancer survivors. One lady was talking about how she now drinks orange juice fortified with extra vitamin C and D every day. I thought, "Wow, what a lightweight!" Not the woman (she was actually a bit on the hefty side, which as we know can contribute to cancer cell formation and proliferation), but the product: how much more nutrition she could be getting from this kind of mixed fruit & veggie juice!

The "orange juice lobby" and "apple juice lobby" have probably influenced American juice consumption to a large degree, to the detriment of millions of people's health. These are not actual organizations, but the powers are out there, like the Florida Department of Citrus (http://www.floridajuice.com/about.php) , and the Washington Apple Commission (http://www.bestapples.com/about/about_applec...) , disseminating science they find advantageous to promoting their product; while ignoring science, just as real and just as applicable, that they find inconvenient (low fiber, high sugar, etc, as mentioned in the first paragraph). Nothing wrong with oranges and apples, mind you, but consuming a wide variety of fruits and veggies is obviously preferable to the consumption of large amounts of only one or two fruits or juices.

Just take supplements?

"Why not just take supplements?", some people ask me. Well, I do take supplements, but I have a concept about "unknown nutrients". When I was a kid growing up in southern California, the absurd Wonder Bread TV commercials claimed to build strong bodies in 12 ways; a few years earlier it had been eight (http://www.natureinstitute.org/pub/ic/ic11/w...) . The uncritical child (or maybe even parent) at that time may have believed that those 12 vitamins and minerals were all you needed to be healthy. So, we were hearing about eight components you need to build a healthy body in the 50s, twelve components in the 60s. Our knowledge of nutrition has grown exponentially over the past few years and now a sophisticated multivitamin/mineral/phytochemical mix may contain 60 or more components. But does that supplement contain everything you need to maintain optimal health?

Let me explain: Now we know the great health benefits of resveratrol from grapes, epigallocatechin gallate from green tea, and lycopene from tomatoes. What was known about them 30 years ago? Do a Google Scholar search of peer-reviewed research papers with those phytonutrients in the title published from 1986-1987 compared to 2006-2007, and you'll get something like a jump from 3 to 653 for resveratrol, 3 to 309 for epigallocatechin gallate, and 14 to 302 for lycopene, a huge increase in research and knowledge over the past 30 years (so the total for resveratrol from 1986 to 2007 is almost two thousand).

Sure, now you can take those nutrients in supplement form, but 10 years from today, 20 years from today, probably dozens of nutrients unknown today will have been discovered, and discovered essential for optimal health. The only way to make sure you get them, now, is to consume real foods, as unprocessed as possible, every day. My motto is "consume every color of the rainbow, every day". (Junk Food Junkies, listen up: Going to your local donut shop and saying, "Gimme one with blue icing, one with pink icing, one with green icing..." won't cut it!) These Kagome juices help me do it, and the best part is that they are cheap, about US$2.50 a liter, so I can drink them every day. And I do, about half a liter a day.

All nutrients destroyed?

Now, I can hear some raw food proponents saying that this juice is processed, and has had most of the life taken out of it. In the phone call we made, Kagome said the pasteurization used, depending on the specific blend, is 100 degrees Celsius for one to two minutes.

I certainly agree that some sensitive nutrients in fruits and veggies are probably damaged or inactivated by heat, and it would not even cross my mind to broil my broccoli sprouts or roast my Romaine lettuce. However, some vitally important nutrients actually increase in concentration with processing heat. For example:

* Cooked tomatoes have a higher amount of lycopene than fresh tomatoes (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/04...)

* Upto a certain point, the amount of genistein in soy milk increases with heating (http://www.newstarget.com/019860.html) .

* The herbal blood tonic, see (http://www.newstarget.com/022091.html) and the anti-viral tonic, see (http://www.newstarget.com/022189.html) , written about on NewsTarget are in fact boiled for 30 minutes and two hours; if processing heat damaged all important nutrients and made the food "dead", then these concoctions would be worthless; it seems heat processing is necessary to extract some of the nutrients so they can be absorbed and utilized by humans. Thus we can be sure that many of the vital phytonutrients in these mixed juices remain intact and active.

That point made, let me repeat that I do believe some delicate nutrients are lost in the pasteurization process, and I wholeheartedly support the practice of juicing (http://www.newstarget.com/juicing.html) .

None of the fruits and vegetables used to make these Kagome juices is likely organic, and of course organic would be preferable. But, as Jack LaLanne opined in his 2003 book Rejuvenate Your Life, the benefits of eating non-organic fruits and vegetables outweigh the disadvantages of not eating those fruits and veggies because you can't get them organic. You can view another similar quote by Jack LaLanne here (http://www.quotesandpoem.com/quotes/listquot...) .

In a perfect world, I'd live on an organic farm and do my own juicing of a dozen or so freshly picked fruits and vegetables every day. In the real world I live in, these Kagome mixed juices are a practical, inexpensive way to take in a large number of fruits and veggies every day.

Am I telling you this just to torment you, since you most likely don't live in Japan? Nope! I hope this information will be an impetus for you to look around and ask around, you may find in international food markets or Asian food stores; if you find a pretty good company already dealing in any kind of healthful fruit or vegetable juice product, ask them to start working on a good mixed juice, which is one of the easiest and most delicious ways to consume a wide variety of fruits & veggies daily. That kind of clamor from several thousand NewsTarget readers might be just what is needed to spur some companies into action.

A contact in Hawaii just informed me that these Kagome juices are available in Honolulu, at a store called Marukai, under the name Yasai Seikatsu, but are more expensive than in Japan: $4.79 for one liter. The extra cost probably represents the air shipping from Japan to Hawaii.

About the author

John H. Cole has been editing medical manuscripts for publication in mainstream U.S. and European medical journals for the past 15 years in Japan. He also has a small English school in Gifu City, Japan. He believes that natural foods, superfoods, herbs, exercise, sunshine, good sleep, and avoidance of pollution are the answers to most people's health problems. He is a friend of nature.

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