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VAS

Eat that fruit! Don’t juice it; Here's why

Beauty By Gardy Chacha
Photo; Courtesy

Have you seen people whose teeth have been removed due to irredeemable pain; the result of a cavity? Don't be too quick to laugh at them – especially if you have a penchant for sweet drinks.

Armed with a blender, many at home are reveling in the ability to convert fruits into instant juices. Allow me to digress a little here. A lot of us love trends. The neighbor has a juicer that converts fruits to juice, I have to get it. He has this, I have to have it. This kind of infatuation at times lands people in trouble they never wished for.

Anyway, back to the story: how often do you 'drink' rather than 'eat' the fruit?

Many are shunning the age old soda (citing how unhealthy its contents are) for the more advocated fresh juice. This, however, has not improved health or has it?

"Shops that sell fresh juices add sugar into it. In reality, fresh fruit juice shouldn't be as sugary as it usually feels. A lot of vendors include sugar for the enhanced sweetness," says Kepha Nyanumba, a nutritionist.

The overall effect is as expected: high blood sugar levels which contribute to obesity predisposing one to ill health. That is not all however. It turns out that juices are bad for the health of your teeth as compared to eating fruits.

Aluvera Hudson is a dentist, "Naturally when food is chewed," he points out, "it serves teeth well in anchorage inside the gums."

One of the methods dentists advocate for in keeping teeth healthy is eating fairly hard foods like maize, nuts and sugarcane. The hardness dislodges developing plaque while exercising the teeth to get stronger in the jaws. Speaking of 'hard', the periodontologist says developing plaque has to be removed mechanically.

Juices, more often than not, contribute heavily to teeth decay. The juice enters the mouth cavity, washes through teeth and is gulped down without active involvement of the pearly whites.

Sugar, which is the most preferred of bacterial substrates, is left behind, prompting the microbes into action. The long term result, if proper oral health is not observed to the latter, is tooth decay.

The obvious advantage though is that the fruit consumed has forms of sugar that has not been processed. The fruit leaves back a substrate that could be acted upon by bacteria but is less prone to germ activity compared to fresh juice with added sugar.

Eating fruits directly, adds Kepha, exploits its nutrition. "When one consumes the fruit as it is picked, one benefits from the fibre content and roughages. The act of eating ensures that the fruit is cut down well and mixed thoroughly in the mouth with saliva. The enzyme, salivary amylase, starts the process of digestion in the mouth."

In most instances, when one is drinking, the process of mixing with the saliva is bypassed. But even so, let's say that we all used our minds to deduce between drinking fruit juice and eating the fruit. Which one seems most natural?

Your guess is as good as mine.

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