Can drinking juice be just as bad as soda? This is why that pack of orange juice is not as healthy as you think.
While it’s easy to think that fruit juice is good for you, the fact is that it is high in sugar and carbohydrates and low in nutritional value.
Unfortunately, fruit juice is not only a bad way to get the vitamins and other nutrients you get from eating whole fruit, but it’s also a quick way to get your blood sugar off the ground. Let’s go.
The Different Types of “Juice”
For many years, doctors have recommended that you get your daily fluid intake from water, herbal tea, and fruit juice.
However, juice does not equal water. Many juice products contain artificial flavors, added sugars, synthetic nutrients, and even artificial colors.
If you compare the nutritional value of a 12-ounce can of soda to a typical 12-ounce carton of juice, you will see that the juice contains a similar number of carbohydrates and sugars. Many store-bought juices can have even more calories due to the added sugars and artificial ingredients.
Can drinking juice be just as bad as soda? Here’s why that pack of orange juice isn’t as healthy as you might think, and why eating a whole fruit is so much better.
While freshly squeezed juice isn’t as bad as packaged, keep in mind that it’s still full of fructose and doesn’t have the fiber you need to keep your blood sugar from skyrocketing.
4 Reasons Why Fruit Juice Isn’t Healthy
Fruit juice will never be as healthy as the original: very fresh fruit. Even freshly squeezed fruit lacks an important element of nutritional benefits, such as fiber.
1. It’s Nutritionally Incomplete
Although the juice often contains vitamins, such as vitamin C, most of it is added synthetically. But you could say it’s still vitamins, right? The problem is, when you consider the total nutritional value of the juice, macronutrients, and micronutrients, the small amount of vitamins doesn’t make up for the horrible macronutrient makeup. The juice is made up almost entirely of carbohydrates, and although the sugars in it are natural, they still raise your blood sugar and cause insulin problems.
Companies will do their utmost to demonstrate that their products are “all-natural”, “100% pure”, “rich in antioxidants” or provide part of the necessary daily intake of fruits and vegetables. The sad fact, however, is that marketing doesn’t have to tell the truth. Instead, check the nutritional information on the label. If it’s mostly carbohydrates, with no fiber, protein, or fat to balance them out, avoid.
2. There’s No Fiber
Even if you have a 100% organic product with no added sugars, the juice still lacks the fiber that was present in the fruit as a whole.
Why is fiber so important? When it comes to things like fruit, which contains naturally occurring sugars, fiber helps slow down the way the body uses those sugars, preventing insulin and glucose spikes.
3. It’s Filled with Sugar
How often do you sit down and drink only half a cup of juice? When most people drink juice, they take in eight ounces or more, but even a four-ounce serving of juice contains more grams of sugar than is ideal for a single day.
Fruits eaten whole contain fiber and other loose items, so eating an apple, for example, will make you feel fuller than if you had 8 ounces of juice.
If you replace your daily water intake with an amount of juice, you will consume as many grams of sugar as if you were drinking a can of soda. Although it comes from “fruit” sources, the effect of sugar on your cells is the same.
4. It Could Lead to Obesity & Diabetes
The problem with consuming calories is that they don’t make you feel as full as a whole meal. Research shows that juice increases the risk of childhood obesity. Fruit juice is also associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While living obsessively by counting calories isn’t the way to achieve a healthy weight, the bottom line is that not all calories are created equal. A glass of apple juice has less nutritional value than a real apple.
What to Drink Instead
If you really like fruit juice, you don’t have to give it up completely. Here are some healthy ways to enjoy a sugary thirst quencher without the hassle of packaged juice.
- Drink fresh-pressed juice with pulp. Leaving the pulp after the extraction of juice preserves the fiber essential to slow the absorption of glucose and fructose.
- Sip on some kombucha. Rich in gut bacteria, some varieties of kombucha contain fruit juice and are also not loaded with sugar. Make sure to read the label to see if it has added sugars.
- Make your own fruit-infused water. Add the fresh fruit slices to a jug of water and refrigerate for a few hours. This makes it taste sweeter with only a fraction of these natural sugars. Citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwi, lemon, and even cucumber are great options.