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Nutrition With Paula Mee; Reading Between The Labels

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Do you really know what is in your morning juice and is it an equivalent of 1 or 2 of your five fruit or veg a day?


Nutritionist Paula Mee:

- BSc., Dip Dietetics., MSc in Health Sciences., Dip Allergy, M.I.N.D.I.

From Galway, Paula graduated from University College Galway with a BSc in Biochemistry. She then completed her postgraduate qualifications in Dietetics and a Masters in Health Science in Leeds Metropolitan University.

Paula has recently been awarded a Diploma in Allergy from Southampton University. She has also completed the British Dietetic Association's Sports Dietitian course. She is a current member and a past president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.

Paula Mee, Nutrition Consulting was set up in 2004 and offers abeled ers s an extensive range of services in nutrition, product development, and marketing communications.
As part of her working week she also operates a dietetic and weight management clinic.

Paula is currently on the board of Consumer Foods in Bord Bia. Paula was one of the presenters of RTE TV's Health Squad programme which ran from 2002 to 2006. Paula is the author of Good Food, Great Life 2008 and a co-author of the Health Squad Guide to Health and Fitness 2005. Her website is www.paulamee.com.

Why are juices so popular?
Juices are often consumed for their health benefits: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, cleansing elements and other anti-aging goodness from a fruit or vegetable.

For Example:
Prune juice is associated with a digestive health benefit.
Cranberry juice has long been known to help prevent or even treat bladder infections, and it is now known that a substance in cranberries prevents bacteria from binding to the bladder.

What are the main nutrients we look for on a juice label?
Today we will look at Sugar, Fibre & Vitamin C

Orange Juice & Ribena:

Freshly Squeezed Organic Juice (250ml)
Sugar 20.3g
Fibre 0.3g
Vitamin C 120mg

"Fresh Juice"
The term 'fruit juice' can only legally be used to describe a product which is 100% fruit juice. Many fruit juices are filtered to remove fibre or pulp, and therefore they are usually low in fibre. This is a concern for many people who are not getting enough fibre and who suffer from constipation and other bowel problems. High pulp fresh orange juice 'with bits' are becoming more popular as they are more natural and contain more fibre.
However, the term 'juice drink' can be used to describe any drink which includes juice, even if the juice content is 1% of the overall volume.

How can a juice be organic?
The oranges would need to be grown using a system which avoids the use of soluble abeled ers, pesticides, growth regulators and other chemicals. Food can only be abeled and marketed as organic when produced on a farm certified as organic and inspected by an official certification body.

Orange juice from concentrate (per 200ml)
Sugar 18.2g
Fibre 2.8g
Vitamin C 56mg

'From concentrate'
'from concentrate' usually involves heating the juice to a very high temperature and evaporating off the water. This leaves a syrup that's a small proportion of the original juice and allows it to be shipped to its destination. When the concentrated juice arrives at its destination, water is added back to restore the juice to its original volume. Usually ''add-backs' are then added back to give the juice a 'fresh' aroma. The process that concentrates juice is harsh. And because it's harsh, using the best fruit when you're doing it may not be practical. So concentrate manufacturers may use lower quality fruits when they're making them. Also it's pretty obvious that concentrating a juice will affect the taste. Typically it won't taste as good as fresh fruit juice. The excess heat can also affect the nutritional goodness. You can see this one has significantly less vitamin C than the organic juice because if the processing.

Capri Sun
DILUTED ORANGE DRINK
Sugar 21g
Fibre Not Stated
Vitamin C: Not Stated


Ribena
BLACKCURRENT JUICE DRINK (250ml carton)
Sugar 26.3g
Fibre 0g
Vitamin C 60mg


Can vitamins deplete the longer the carton has been left on the shelf?
Yes but the values given on the carton should indicate the amount of the vitamin left in the juice on the last day of its shelf-life, so if you drink it before this date, you should be guaranteed at least the same amount of vitamins stated on the label.


The Best vitamin C content:
I would say the organic fresh orange juice as it has the best vitamin C content and has been less processed than the other two. It tastes the most natural to me too. The sugar content of all the juices is high even the organic has the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar (20g) whereas the fresh fruit itself would have less. One piece of fruit has only 59 calories, less sugar and much more fibre and is still a great source of vitamin C.


SMOOTHIES:
What are the benefits of smoothies compared to juices:
With a juice - you get just that - the juice and only the juice, from the fruit (or vegetable) as it is pushed through the extractor or press. The fibre and pulp from the fruit is left behind. A smoothie is the whole fruit including the fibre blended together.
What you get from smoothies is a good supply of fibre - an essential nutrient in itself. Fibre helps to keep your system moving and provides the essential 'good' bacteria that you need in the gut. Because of the higher fibre content, smoothies take longer to digest - so you won't get that instant 'hit' of energy and vitality. What you will get is a sustained release of anti-aging nutrients over time. Depending on the ingredients a smoothie can be low Gi and can keep you going until the next meal without hunger pangs.


Nutritional value of bought smoothie & homemade smoothie:

INNOCENT SMOOTHIE
SHOP BOUGHT SMOOTHIE
Sugar 30.5g
Fibre 3.8
Vitamin C 32.5mg

HOMEMADE SMOOTHIE
Sugar 27.8g
Fibre 2.3g
Vitamin C 116mg

Is having a juice one of your recommended five a day?
A small glass of juice (150ml) can count as one of your 5 a day. Smoothie manufacturers suggest that a smoothie can count as 2 of your 5 a day because they usually contain at least 80g fresh fruit and 150ml of fresh juice. The Dept of Health advises only one juice or smoothie and 4 other fruit and vegetables servings a day to ensure adequate fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Which of these smoothies is the best?
The homemade smoothie is best here in terms of vitamin C. This is because shop-bought smoothies are usually pasteurized to extend their shelf-life, and the heating during pasteurization would destroy some of the vitamin C. There is slightly less fibre in the homemade smoothie, but this could be boosted by adding some oats to the smoothie, or some extra berries or the whole banana.

Reccomended Daily Intake for children:

Sugar: 85g
Vitamin C: 45-60mg
Fibre: childs age + 5


FRESHLY SQUEEZED ORGANIC JUICE (250ml)
Sugar 20.3g
Fibre 0.3g
Vitamin C 120mg

OJ FROM CONCENTRATE (per 200ml)
Sugar 18.2g
Fibre 2.8g
Vitamin C 56mg

CAPRI SUN
DILUTED ORANGE DRINK
Sugar 21g
Fibre Not Stated
Vitamin C: Not Stated

BLACKCURRENT JUICE DRINK (250ml carton)
Sugar 26.3g
Fibre 0g
Vitamin C 60mg

SHOP BOUGHT SMOOTHIE
Sugar 30.5g
Fibre 3.8
Vitamin C 32.5mg

HOMEMADE SMOOTHIE
Sugar 27.8g
Fibre 2.3g
Vitamin C 116mg

Paula's top tips for making your own smoothies:
. Use ripe fruit
. Seasonal and locally grown fruit is usually cheaper, at peak quality and tree-ripened for better flavor.
. Save money by using overripe fruit before it goes bad, like spotted bananas. Use them right away or freeze them in a resealable plastic bag for use later.
. Thicken a smoothie is with yogurt and/or frozen fruit. The yogurt can be plain or flavored, low fat and probiotic for added value.

Paula Mee's Favourite Smoothies
Here's another take on a terrific tasting sweet indulgence - it's the smoothie', says health expert Paula Mee.
Smoothies are a great way to boost your daily fruit intake, and much better for your health than fizzy drinks or juices. When fruit is juiced, the fibre and some other important nutrients are removed, whereas a smoothie contains the whole fruit albeit broken down, so you get more of the benefits of the fruit in one nutritious drink. I also find smoothies are a great way to use up any fruit that's nearing the end of its shelf life!

You can buy smoothies in most corner shops and supermarkets these days, or you could try making your own. You don't need any complicated equipment to do it - if you already have a smoothie maker, you can use that, or you can use a liquidiser or food processor. Or you can use a hand-held blender which will also have lots of other uses around the kitchen, such as blending soups.

Select your fruit, yoghurt, skimmed milk, oats and a little honey, and get your creative juices moving. Don the apron and gather all the ingredients you need to whiz up hundreds of combinations of smoothies! I would also recommend investing in a bag of frozen berries as they are a delicious addition to any smoothie.

Here is a selection of my favourite smoothies. There's one for everyday of the week!

All serve one, and are suitable for Coeliacs as long as the oats are certified gluten free.

Banana, oat & honey smoothie
Blend one medium chopped banana with 1 tablespoon of oats, 1 teaspoon of honey and 200ml skimmed milk. Serve cold.

Green & red smoothie
Peel and slice one kiwi fruit. Blend together with one teacupful of frozen raspberries and 100 ml apple juice. Chill before serving.

Tropical fruit smoothie
Chop 2 large rings of fresh or tinned (in own juice) pineapple. Chop half a fresh mango and blend with the pineapple. Add 1 pot of low fat tropical fruit probiotic yoghurt and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Berry good smoothie!
Blend together one teacupful of frozen raspberries and one teacupful of fresh blueberries with 1 tsp honey and 5 or 6 ice-cubes until smooth. Serve immediately.

Peaches 'n cream smoothie
Chip 1 large fresh peach or 2 tinned peach halves (tinned in own juice). Blend together with one pot of low fat peach probiotic yoghurt or natural yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of oats. Serve garnished with a sprinkle of oats and a slice of peach.

Pink and passion fruit smoothie
Chop 2 large rings of fresh or tinned (in own juice) pineapple. Blend together with the juice of half a pink grapefruit and the seeds of one passion fruit (reserving some seeds for garnishing). Serve chilled, garnished with some passion fruit seeds.

Strawberry banana surprise
Hull and halve 10 strawberries and blend to a paste with 1 medium chopped banana. Add the juice of 1 orange and some ice cubes and blend until the ice is crushed. Serve immediately.

AUTHOR NOTE: You may know Paula Mee from the Health Squad programme on RTE. A nutritionist with common-sense who treats people like adults (a rare commodity these days) Paula previously worked with Superquinn as Nutrition Manager and with the National Dairy Council and is a past president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute. She runs a private practice at the Dublin Nutrition Centre. See www.paulamee.com.

For more information go to www.greatfood.ie


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