Naturally lower uric acid levels: Orange juice daily can reduce the risk of gout

Uric acid levels are lowered with a glass of orange juice with meals

Fruit juices have been somewhat discredited in recent years because the high proportion of natural fructose has been linked, for example, to the development of overweight and gout. A current human study by the Universities of Hohenheim and Kiel has now investigated this in relation to orange juice and, in the process, demonstrated one advantage above all to health disadvantages: a glass of orange juice with meals significantly reduces the risk of gout.

Sugary drinks are generally considered to be a contributor to gout and overweight. Not only soft drinks and lemonades, but also fruit juices have been increasingly assessed as a risk factor in recent years. In the two current studies, however, the scientists from the Universities of Kiel and Hohenheim were unable to find any increased weight gain when consuming a glass of orange juice with meals. The risk of gout has also decreased instead of increasing. A glass of fruit juice a day is recommended, because it naturally contains not only sugar, but also vitamins, polyphenols, minerals and fiber and thus represents a valuable addition to the diet, the scientists emphasize.

Fruit juices with an increasingly bad reputation

For a long time, fruit juices were considered to be particularly healthy, but in recent years they have been increasingly critically evaluated. For example, many parents only offer their children fruit juices diluted with water due to their high sugar content. The juices have even been completely banished from some kindergartens and primary schools. "For some nutritionists, they are considered as unhealthy as cola drinks," reports the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel in a press release on the current studies.

Orange juice and soft drink consumption examined

Professor Reinhold Carle from the University of Hohenheim and Professor Anja Bosy-Westphal from the Christian Albrechts University in Kiel examined the effects of organ juice on 26 young, healthy subjects in two human studies. For comparison, the participants had to cover 20 percent of their daily energy needs over two weeks with either caffeine-free cola or with orange juice. "For the juice, this was around 1.2 liters for most of the subjects, and about 1 liter for cola," says Prof. Carle. In the sense of a so-called cross-over study, the participants followed a washout phase of one week after the first 14 days and then the orange juice drinkers switched to cola and the cola drinkers switched to orange juice.

Uric acid levels decreased significantly

In the first study, the researchers first addressed the question of how cola or orange juice affects uric acid. A high uric acid level is responsible for the increasing occurrence of gout diseases in the industrialized nations, according to the Kiel University. "Even with this very high consumption, in contrast to cola, orange juice did not impair glucose metabolism, and uric acid levels were even significantly reduced," emphasizes Prof. Bosy-Westphal. The reduction in uric acid levels was most pronounced at higher starting levels.

Positive effects of vitamin C and flavonoids

According to the nutritionist, the explanation "for the uric acid-lowering effect of the orange juice is both the vitamin C absorption by the juice and its flavonoid content, especially hesperidin." Vitamin C promotes the excretion of uric acid, which leads to Prevention of increased uric acid levels (hyperuricaemia) can contribute. The same effect has already been demonstrated for hesperidin in animal experiments. "If the crystallization of uric acid in joints and tissues is inhibited, this in turn can prevent the development of gout," emphasizes Bosy-Westphal. Therefore, regular consumption of orange juice can reduce the risk of gout.

Effects on body fat

In the second study, the researchers examined the effect of orange juice on the formation of body fat. For this purpose, the test subjects also had to cover 20 percent of their daily energy requirements with orange juice. However, it was initially stipulated for two weeks that they consumed 400 milliliters of orange juice three times a day during the daily meals. They then consumed the juice between meals for the same period. While there was a slight increase in body fat when consumed between meals, the researchers observed no such effect when taken with meals.

Consumption with meals harmless

"We were able to show that even this very high consumption had no negative effects on body weight - if the juice was not consumed in between, but for breakfast, lunch and dinner," said Prof. Drunk to eat, the juice also reduces the spontaneous energy consumption according to the meal and adjust it. Fruit juice can therefore not only be consumed in the usual amount without hesitation, but can also be seen as a valuable addition to a meal, the experts emphasize.

Orange juice consumption in Germany is relatively low

"Orange juice is a valuable source of potassium, folic acid and vitamin C. It contains bioactive substances such as carotenoids and polyphenols with good bioavailability", explains Prof. Although the literary consumption of fruit juice is not recommended against thirst, this is not a common one anyway Practice. Carle reports that the annual per capita consumption of orange juice in Germany is around 7.5 liters. On the other hand, we consume an average of around 75 liters of lemonade per year - ten times as much. Fruit juices are essentially not used as a thirst-quencher in between - in contrast to sugar-sweetened soft drinks that young people and especially young men consume in quantities of up to half a liter a day.

Fruit juice is definitely recommended

According to the researchers, the fruit juice could also contribute to the recommended daily consumption of fruit. Here the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) advises eating 250 grams of fruit a day, which is below 43 percent of Germans. If the fruit juice consumption were excluded from the DGE recommendations, the experts would even say 59 percent below the recommended values. A glass of fruit juice for breakfast, for example, could replace one serving of fruits and vegetables a day. In addition, a study from 2015 at the University of Hohenheim had already shown that the human body absorbs the valuable ingredients of orange much better from orange juice than from fruit, says Prof. Refraining from fruit juices therefore makes no sense. (fp, pm)

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