Addressing myths and misunderstandings about fruit juice among health professionals and the scientific community.
Fruit juice is a delicious and healthy beverage category, but in the last few years it has acquired an increasingly negative reputation, partly stemming from the intensified focus on sugar content, but also in large part due to ignorance and misconceptions about the nutritional profile of fruit juice. In some cases it is directly compared with artificially sweetened beverages such as sodas, without any mention of its many beneficial nutritional qualities.
Just like consumers, many health professionals are also confused about what is right and wrong regarding fruit juice. Since misunderstandings about juice prevail among these experts it is important to bridge the knowledge gap, also in order to avoid misunderstandings being transferred to consumers.
Furthermore, the fructose hypothesis is a potential hot topic here in Denmark, since the HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) can now be used freely in the EU.
The European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN) has commissioned the pan-European project Fruit Juice Matters, which aims to offer clear and factual information about fruit juice. The strategy is educational; highlighting the benefits of fruit juice via a strong focus on scientific knowledge, and to communicate these insights primarily in a top-down approach to health professionals and scientific personnel.
The scientific symposium was one of the 2017 tactics we activated towards the target audience. The primary aims were to debunk myths about fruit juice, address the subject of fructose in relation to juice and share relevant and new scientific knowledge.
In order to do that we held the symposium in co-operation with University of Copenhagen and the Danish Nutrition Society, and we teamed up with the influential and internationally recognized Professor John Sievenpiper, University of Toronto; Professor dr.med Arne Astrup, Professor PhD Anne Raben and Professor Lars Dragsted, all from University of Copenhagen.
To debunk myths we did a live quiz, held by Prof. Astrup, which efficiently demonstrated that misunderstandings abound among the audience.
Prof. Raben spoke about fruit juice in relation to obesity and diabetes, while Prof. Sievenpiper’s presentation The fructose hypothesis of cardometabolic disease: What does the evidence say? disclosed brand new research on the subject. The final panel debate with all speakers and Prof. Dragsted concluded the symposium.
95 highly relevant attendees (KPI: 80)from the scientific community, students in nutrition, dietitians, nutritionists and GP’s. Out of these 53% (KPI: 20%) signed up to receive the symposium presentations and future material on fruit juice.
Apart from sharing the presentations post-event, Professor Arne Astrup has shared his own mythbusting slides with all of his 120 PhD students at his Institute NEXS. Furthermore, the presentation will now form part of the formalised education of cand.scient students in Human Nutrition and Clinical Nutrition.