Cranberry juice is more effective at preventing urinary tract infections than cranberry supplements, according to a new report published in the journal Food Science and Biotechnology. Cool—but not all cranberry juice is created equal, as our analysis of 6 different cranberry juices below shows. To maximize bacteria-fighting potential while minimizing on sugar or high fructose corn syrup, make sure you check your juice’s ingredient list. Added sugars may actually inhibit a cranberry juice’s ability to fight UTIs, since refined sugar can mess with your white blood cells’ ability to destroy bacteria.
Doctors often recommend cutting sugar when you have a UTI or yeast infection. The new edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves instructs:
Avoid refined (white) sugars and starches (white flour, white rice, ordinary pasta)—they may facilitate urinary tract infections by feeding bacteria.
Previous research has showed drinking cranberry juice could prevent bacteria from developing into a UTI within eight hours of consumption. This new study tested two commercially available cranberry juice cocktails and an extract of flavonoids found in cranberries against a strain of E. coli bacteria, the primary cause of most UTIs. The juice cultures completely prevented any biofilm formation, but the extract powder alone “showed only limited” ability to stop the bacteria.