From apple to passion fruit, orange to peach, supermarket shelves are brimming with fruit juices made with all natural flavours and exotic blends. 100% fruit juices have never been so enticing. On top of that, juicing has become a huge trend. Everyone from your gym instructor to your mom downs a glass of it daily. However, as with any dietary trend, it’s important to consider whether these products are truly healthful.
Squeezed from whole fruit, 100% fruit juices have no added sugars, additives or preservatives which makes them popular. They also contain important vitamins and minerals and beneficial phytonutrients at higher levels than fruit juice cocktails and juices with added sweeteners.
With the above mentioned benefits, however, fruit juices should not be used as a replacement for eating whole fruits. Whole fruits contain seeds, peels and fibre – meaning that they are richer in nutrients and also that the sugars are absorbed more slowly in the blood stream.
Moreover, if you’ve ever tried to squeeze an orange you will know that it takes several to make one glass of juice. Which means if you drink it, you’re getting a very concentrated source of natural fruit sugars (fructose) without the fibre to slow down its absorption in the blood stream. Fibre is the parts of plants that your body does not digest. Just because your body does not absorb fibre, however, that does not mean it does not use it. Eating a high fibre diet has been shown to reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The other problem with fruit juices is that they have calories that don’t fill us up – drinking nutrients is less satisfying than eating or chewing them. Our bodies don’t recognize liquid calories as well as whole foods, making it easy to drink more than one glass.
On the topic of juicing, juice cleanses probably wont help you lose weight. While it may help you drop a few kilos in the short term, there’s not any scientific data to suggest that they help burn fat or lead to sustained weight loss over time. In terms of detoxing, well… thankfully we have a liver and some kidneys that do all the detoxing our bodies need.
100% fruit juices can be part of a healthy diet, but only if consumed in a small quantity. Drinking fruit juice can especially be a positive for people who struggle to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Additionally, if you are worried about the sugar content of juices, opting for green juice (juice that is made entirely or primarily from vegetables) is a smarter choice. Be sure to check the nutrition label before buying juice to be sure the product contains 100% juice, with no added sugars.
The best drink in the world in my opinion? Water.