Cloudy with a chance of diabetes

I thought I’d heard it all. But as misguided medicine goes, this latest bit of research definitely sets the bar.

A group of German scientists recently followed 68 obese, non-diabetic men for four weeks. They randomly assigned each subject either a daily 750 mL glass of cloudy, polyphenol-rich apple juice, or a control beverage.

As it turns out, study results linked the daily glass of apple juice (which delivered 802.5 mg of polyphenols) with a 1 percent drop in total body fat. That’s compared to a mere .2 percent loss in the control group.

The researchers think this observation traces back to polyphenol-related gene interactions. And I agree that would be a fascinating association to investigate.

But I suggest they find another way to do it. Because pitching apple juice to a bunch of fat people is a dangerous move.

Fruit juices are as heavily implicated in the current obesity epidemic as soda. This is fact–not speculation. Even suggesting that an obese person should drink more juice is like telling a cancer patient to light up a cigarette.

It’s absurd and irresponsible.

Natural or not, sugar is still sugar. And you should consume it with caution… or better yet, not at all. Because whatever benefit those apple polyphenols might confer won’t count for squat when you end up with diabetes.

So do yourself a favor and can the juice. Opt for polyphenol-rich green tea instead. Or food sources like onions and cocoa or dark chocolate (just remember–the darker the better). Needless to say, these alternatives are a whole lot healthier.

“Moderate effects of apple juice consumption on obesity-related markers in obese men: impact of diet-gene interaction on body fat content,” European Journal of Nutrition 2012; 51(7):841-850