Phytochemicals: The nutrition facts missing from the label

November 3, 2019 0 By William Morgan


“Phytochemicals: The Nutrition
Facts Missing from the Label” It’s one thing to show Alzheimer’s
benefits in a petri dish. It’s quite another to show
benefit in a human population. That came two years later. About 1,800 people were
followed for about eight years. At the beginning of the study, they asked how often everyone
drank any kind of juice, and then sat back and watched
to see who would get Alzheimer’s. By the end of the study, it appeared that those who
drank fruit and vegetable juices had a 76% lower risk
of developing Alzheimer’s. They conclude that
“fruit and vegetable juices may play an important role in delaying
the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.” What could it be? Here’s the nutrition facts label
for purple grape juice, on the left. According to the label,
there’s basically nothing in it. Not even any vitamin C. And indeed, that’s what the study found, even after controlling for
antioxidant vitamin intake— vitamin E, vitamin C, beta carotene; still, a quarter the risk of Alzheimer’s. Based on the nutrition label, you’d think it was just sugar water, practically indistinguishable
from Coca Cola. In fact, the grape juice has
got even more sugar— nine spoonfuls per cup
compared to seven in Coke. But it just looks like sugar water, because the labels
don’t list phytonutrients. If they did, the Coke label
would remain the same, but the grape juice label
would spill down, and roll along the
floor like Santa’s list. And this would just be
like the first page. There are thousands of phytonutrients
in fruits and vegetables, missing in junk foods and animals foods, yet never listed on the labels. The leading candidate class of compounds responsible for the protection
against Alzheimer’s are the phenolics, like flavones, and
flavonones, and flavonols, which in many cases can rapidly
cross the blood-brain barrier. There are more than 5,000 different
types of flavonoids in the plants we eat. Research suggests that within minutes
of biting into an apple, for example, these phytonutrients are already
starting to light up our brain.