Just when you think you have the right drink to rehydrate, you read the next study that leaves you rethinking that decision. If you’ve switched from carbonated drinks to fruit drinks or fruit juice, you may need to do a little further investigation. Is fruit juice bad for you and should it be part of your diet? People on the go often opt for a glass of fresh juice to quickly get the nutrients they need in the morning. Others choose a fruit drink for their children or as a post workout option, while patting themselves on the back for making a wise decision.
Even if there is fresh fruit on the packaging, it doesn’t mean that’s what you’ll get.
Those little juice boxes certainly look healthy. They show vivid pictures of fresh fruit on the front, so you simply presume that’s what they contain. That’s why reading the label is so important. Many fruit drinks are really just flavored sugar water, but you can’t tell that by the artwork. They often go by names like “fruit beverage” or “fruit drink” in a weak attempt at full disclosure, but the label tells a different tale. Look for words like, “100 percent fruit juice” to get the real thing. Even then, it’s not necessarily a healthy choice.
Fruit juice is concentrated calories and a barrel of fructose to boost your sugar levels.
While there’s no denying it, fruit juice does have almost all the nutrients you’d get from eating the whole fruit, especially if you squeeze it fresh, but it also is loaded with sugar. Whether it’s natural fructose or added sugar or sweetener, it all plays havoc with your body. If you drink just one glass of orange juice in the morning, you’ll be getting eight teaspoons of sugar—four of which comes from the fructose in the juice. Compare that with the ten teaspoons you get from drinking a can of soda and the trade off isn’t nearly as perfect…but still better.
Eating the whole fruit is better than drinking the juice.
When you eat a whole fruit, as opposed to a glass of juice, you get all the fiber from the fruit and less concentrated sugar. For instance, an 8-oz glass of orange juice has 112 calories compared to 45 calories of a whole orange. The glass of juice also contains 2.5 times the sugar and only one third of the fiber contained in a whole orange. No matter which fruit you investigate, the statistics are about the same, far more sugar, far more calories and less fiber. Even home squeezed juice lacks the fiber necessary for good health.
- Fruit juice consumption is linked to increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s also closely associated with childhood obesity, while eating its whole fruit counterpart isn’t.
- Whole fruit contains fiber that has polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that aid in preventing and fighting cancer and protecting your body. Adding back the fiber, as some juice companies do, doesn’t have the same effect as eating the whole fruit.
- The consumption of fructose, whether it comes from fruit juice or other source, is closely associated with the development of gout, heart disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, obesity and diabetes.
- Today, the average American diet contains approximately 135 grams of fructose. Compare that with the average consumption of approximately 15 grams found in the average diet 100 years ago and you can see why there’s a meteoric rise in obesity.