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Cranberry juice is the juice of the cranberry. As a pure juice, it is quite tart; as with lime juice, it is seldom drunk on its own. Due to its tartness, it is often combined it with sweeter juices, such as apple or grape. Another solution is to dilute it with water and add some natural sweetener, such as xylitol. The term, used on its own, almost always refers to a sweetened version. In fact, Cranberry Juice available at grocery stores is one of the highest sugar content items across all items carried in any grocery store. An 8-ounce glass of cranberry juice has more sugar than a can of soda at 33 grams. According to info gathered by HealthScience.net, new information and research on cranberry juice suggests the beverage is not as healthy as once considered, and in many cases may be worse for you than soft drinks and sodas considering cranberry juice is higher in sugar and calories. However, this is debatable considering soft drinks often contain caffeine, another controversial ingredient that has both positive and negative characteristics.
Parents have long considered cranberry juice a healthy choice for their children; however, new information about the high sugar content in cranberry juice is emerging and causing concern. A laboratory study found that when fructose is present as children’s fat cells mature, it makes more of these cells mature into fat cells in body fat, contributing to overweight, obesity and subsequently related health issues such as diabetes, higher cholesterol, and higher blood pressure.
Cranberry juice cocktail is sometimes used as a mixer with alcoholic drinks such as a Cosmopolitan, a Cape Codder (1+1/2 ounces of vodka to 4 ounces cranberry juice) or non-alcoholic drinks such as the Bog Grog (2 parts Chelmsford ginger ale [or regular ginger ale] to 3 parts cranberry juice).
Potential health effects
- high in oxalate, and has been suggested to increase the risk for developing kidney stones, although more recent studies have indicated it may lower the risk.
Cranberry juice and urinary tract infection
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Cranberry juice may help prevent and relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTIs) by primary and secondary means. The primary means works on the bacteria directly by altering the molecular structure of the fimbriae on the pathogenic strains of the bacteria that cause the infections. The properties of the proanthocyanidins in cranberries prevents the bacteria from adhering to the surface of the bladder and urinary tract. The secondary means works indirectly on the bacteria by changing the intravesical pH (the pH of the bladder's contents) making it more acidic.[medical citation needed]
However, results from recent randomized controlled trials have been disappointing. A trial of 319 college women with an acute UTI, failed to show that drinking cranberry juice (8 oz of 27% twice daily) would reduce the incidence of a second UTI. Another study performed in the Netherlands randomised 221 women to receive either co-trimoxazole or cranberry capsules. That study found that the antibiotics were superior to cranberry capsules, but were associated with an increase in antibiotic resistance. However, in an accompanying editorial, the dose of cranberries used in the study was criticised for being too low.
A more recent study led by the University of Stirling in the U.K., shows the UTI benefits have been overhyped, and suggests there may not be much benefit from cranberry juice at all. Results from a review of 24 studies with a research sample of nearly 5,000 people suggest that cranberry juice may only be helpful in a select few women. For those select few, cranberry extract pills are recommended in lieu of cranberry juice due to the high sugar content in cranberry juice.[unreliable medical source?]
1cup of cranberry juice (253 mL) contains the following nutritional information according to the USDA:
- Calories: 116
- Fat: 0.33
- Carbohydrates: 30.87
- Fibers: 0.3
- Protein: 0.99
- Cholesterol: 0
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- Tempera, G; Corsello, S; Genovese, C; Caruso, FE; Nicolosi, D (2010). "Inhibitory activity of cranberry extract on the bacterial adhesiveness in the urine of women: An ex-vivo study". International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology 23 (2): 611–8. PMID 20646356.
- Barbosa-Cesnik C, Brown MB, Buxton M, et al. (2011). "Cranberry Juice Fails to Prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection: Results From a Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial". Clinical Infectious Diseases 52 (1): 23–30. doi:10.1093/cid/ciq073. PMC 3060891. PMID 21148516.
- Beerepoot MAJ, ter Riet G, Nys S, et al. (2011). "Cranberries vs. antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: a randomized double-blind noninferiority trial in premenopausal women". Arch Intern Med 171 (14): 1270–1278. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.306.
- Gurley BJ (2011). "Cranberries as antibiotics?". Arch Intern Med 171 (14): 1279–1280. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.332.