News Feed: Sugar in Juice, Chocolate and Exercise, and the Benefits of Japanese Diet Guidelines

The truth about juice

Sure, “100% fruit juice” sounds healthy, but guess what? Just one serving of many kid-targeted fruit juices, juice drinks or smoothies contains a full day’s worth of sugar, or more, according to new research published in BMJ Open. “Most people assume, wrongly, that fruit juice is healthy and contains little free sugar,” study author Dr. Simon Capewell, of the University of Liverpool, told Time, referring to added sugars, including glucose, fructose, sucrose and table sugar as well as honey and syrup.

However, many of the products Capewell and his colleagues tested “contained up to six teaspoons of sugar in a standard 200 ml serving, twice the daily recommended limit for a young child,” he said. Smoothies were often even worse, containing as much as eight teaspoons of sugar — three times the U.K.’s recommended daily amount — in the standard serving. Whoa.

Chocolate a performance enhancer?

It sounds almost too good to be true, but a new sports-nutrition study indicates that if you want to give your workout a little extra oomph, a bit of dark chocolate may be just the ticket. Researchers at Kingston University, in England, studied the effects on cyclists of dark chocolate — which contains a nutrient, epicatechin, that prompts the body to release more nitric oxide, which affects the body in many ways, including improving blood flow and cardiac function.

They found that the cyclists performed better in a variety of physical tests after two weeks of integrating a modest amount (40 grams per day) of dark chocolate into their diets than they did when supplementing with white chocolate. In light of these findings, “recreational athletes who would like to improve their performance” may want to try eating a square or two of dark chocolate, lead researcher Rishikesh Kankesh Patel told The New York Times. Well, if we must …

Photo by: Mistera ©Weerawath

Mistera, Weerawath

Follow Japan’s advice and live longer

Following Japan’s dietary guidelines could launch you on a path to a longer life, lowering your risk of death from all causes, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, according to a new study in the BMJ. Researchers found that the mortality rate of men and women who stuck closely to the Japanese guidelines, which stress a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, was 15 percent lower over 15 years.

“Our findings suggest that balanced consumption of energy, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, dairy products, confectionaries, and alcoholic beverages can contribute to longevity by decreasing the risk of death, predominantly from cardiovascular disease, in the Japanese population,” the researchers concluded.

Amy Reiter is a writer and editor based in New York. A regular contributor to The Los Angeles Times, she has also written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Glamour, Marie Claire, The Daily Beast and Wine Spectator, among others, as well as for Salon, where she was a longtime editor and senior writer. In addition to contributing to Healthy Eats, she blogs for Food Network’s FN Dish.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Nutrition News: Added-Sugar Labeling, Mediterranean Diet Benefits, Panera Bread Slices 150 Artificial Ingredients

Mars, Inc. isn’t so sweet on added sugars, a study reveals the brain-boosting benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and Panera Bread boots 150 artificial ingredients off of their menu.

News Feed: Fish and Brains, Sugar in Fruit, Pomegranate Healthfulness

Eating fish may aid your brain, sugar in fruit beats sugar in soda — plus, parsing pomegranates and health.

News Feed: Genetically Modified Salmon, Sugar Limit, Frozen Produce

Genetically modified salmon faces hurdle; U.S. adults move to limit sugar, survey finds. Plus: Why you should warm up to frozen fruits and veggies. 

The New Cholesterol Guidelines: Do They Affect Your Diet?

The new guidelines include recommendations for adhering to a "healthy lifestyle," encouraging patients to exercise, not smoke and follow a heart-healthy diet.

News Feed: Wood Pulp in Cheese, Starbucks Sugar Shocker, Cage-Free Trader Joe’s

Is there wood pulp in your grated Parmesan? How much sugar is in your Starbucks drink? Plus: Trader Joe’s goes 100 percent cage-free.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: A buzzkill study related to red wine emerges; a documentary suggests not all calories are created equal; and food dyes appear in unexpected places (et tu, pickles?).

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: California takes a hard stance on soft drinks; marketers realize there's more bread to be made in the gluten-free aisle; and an amino acid in spinach gets the spotlight.

This Week’s Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: Vending machines may soon have to dispense more than just candy bars; nutrition professionals say count kale in (again) for 2014; and a dietitian explains the secret to making realistic New Year's resolutions.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

School lunch, going vegan, and your metabolism, all in this week's nutrition news feed. More health news on Food Network.

This Week's Nutrition News Feed

In this week's news: The organic set has a told-you-so moment; the calories-in-calories-out theory loses cachet; and the veggie burger seizes the gourmet spotlight.