Starting the day with a refreshing juice or smoothie may feel like a virtuous option. But many people seriously underestimate the sugar and calories involved - and hidden calories in drinks could be a factor in Britain’s obesity problem. That's according to new researfh from Glasgow University.
Scientists found a typical fruit juice will have 40-50 calories per 100ml, which is equivalent to ten grams of sugar. But people asked to estimate what was in the drinks were found to significantly underestimate the sugar levels in smoothies and fruit juices. People underestimated the amount of sugar in a serving of pomegranate juice by an average of 17.9 teaspoons, while they overestimated the amount of sugar in a serving of fruit squash by almost seven teaspoons.
Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: “I see patients come into my clinic who are struggling with their weight and who believe fruit juice is good for you and they take a lot of it. For people who are fit and healthy, it is fine, but for people who are struggling with their weight it may be a factor."
Sasha Watkins, spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, said: “Research suggests it makes it hard for us to regulate the amount of calories we take in the form of drinks, rather than as food. We would only recommend one glass of fruit juice of 150ml, which does count towards your five a day. But we don’t recommend more than that because of the sugar content. Smoothies can sometimes count as two of your five a day.”