For many people, juice is practically synonymous with health food. There has been so much emphasis on the consumption of juice over the years in a health context that it isn’t surprising that the two concepts are so strongly linked in the public’s mind. People don’t go to juice bars in order to indulge themselves on sweet, sugary drinks the way they go to soda fountains for a similar task, even though soda fountains are rare today. People don’t do juice cleanses because they’re tired of normal food. They have gotten the impression that drinking only juice for a while will make them healthier, and the juice industry and the celebrities involved with it are all too happy to keep on perpetuating this misconception.
However, it is clear that juice doesn’t measure up when it is finally examined critically. Vegetable juices are healthy. People who can’t eat their vegetables regularly enough should still consider drinking vegetable juices. Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates, calories, and sugar, and they don’t get any worse when they’re juiced unless someone adds in a lot of outside ingredients. Fruit, healthy as it is, is full of sugar. Juicing it only maximizes the amount of sugar you’re getting in each sip, and you’ll probably take more sips along the way. Consider these five ideas before purchasing more of the fruit juice that people tell you is healthy:
1- Fruit juice is as sugary as soda. All it’s missing is the carbonation.
Drinking less soda is always a good move for people who are trying to get healthy. Soda is basically nothing but sugar pills with some artificial coloring added, and it has no additional vitamins. However, fruit juice is nearly as bad. In some cases, it’s worse.
A can of soda has around 40 grams of sugar, and so does apple juice. Pomegranate juice has even more than that at 45 grams of sugar for a 12-ounce serving, and orange juice isn’t much better at 30 grams of sugar for a 12-ounce serving. There are some sodas that have even more sugar, and some juices that can match them gram for gram. Experts recommend that people consume 10 grams of sugar a day or less, so people are consuming more than 4 days worth of sugar in each can of soda or fruit juice.
2- Processing fruit for the sake of fruit juice makes it much less healthy.
People lose all of the fiber that the original pieces of fruit once had when they process it into juice. They also lose plenty of the other nutrients along with it, making juice nearly as empty as the soda that is justly maligned in nutritional circles.
For their trouble, customers get blood sugar spikes courtesy of the pure sugar that they are now ingesting in the form of fruit juice. Fiber slows this process down when people are eating solid fruit, but the fiber has been removed as a result of the industrial processing. People can’t substitute fruit juice for fruit, because a lot of what makes fruit fruit is gone thanks to the processing involved with fruit juice. People should just enjoy solid fruit and leave the fruit juice to the soda drinkers who are looking for a change.
3- Drinking too much fruit juice can raise a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.
People who drink a lot of fruit juice are more likely to develop insulin resistance problems, which they wouldn’t have if they had just eaten regular fruit in the first place. Insulin resistance can lead to Type II Diabetes. Men who drink sugary drinks daily are also that much more likely to develop heart disease. The truly unlucky individuals will develop both, which is a hefty price to pay for the consumption of fruit juice. Fruit juices are just too sugary to be safe for daily consumption.
4- Fruit juice is bad for the teeth and the rest of the body.
Many people have heard that sugar is bad for their teeth. They really shouldn’t underestimate just how bad it is. Sugar damages tooth enamel a little bit more each day it comes in contact with that enamel, especially if people don’t regularly rinse their mouths with water. Fruit juice also has the bonus of being full of acid, which is only going to eat away at a person’s enamel further. The constant consumption of fruit juice can lead to cavities at best. The people who have sustained real damage may need crowns or other costly and painful dental procedures.
5- Juice is not healthy for people or for the environment.
Juicing fruits is not an efficient way of using them. Every portion of juice represents a lot of fruit, and all of the resources that went into making that fruit. Even organic fruit juice is going to be guilty here. A glass of orange juice wasn’t made from one orange: it was made from around 12 of them. People can make an environmentally friendly decision every morning by drinking tea or water instead of juice.
Transitioning to Tea
Some people may have a hard time weaning themselves off of fruit juice. They can try buying fruit juices that emphasize vegetables as a start. They can also add ice or seltzer to their servings of fruit juice in order to cut down on the calories. Some homemade fruit juices can be healthier than commercial versions, especially if people simply juice fruit and avoid adding sugar. Sweetening fruit juice with stevia or cinnamon can also help. Some people are fine with tiny portions of commercial fruit juice, which will be that much less harmful. However, ultimately, juice drinkers should transition to drinking healthy unsweetened tea.