FRUIT JUICE… more like soda than fruit



When it comes to choosing between sodas and juices in the beverage aisle, the juice industry has long benefited from a health halo.

We know that juice comes from fruit and soda is artificial.  More specifically, the “sugars” in juice, a.k.a., FRUCTOSE are more “natural” than the high fructose corn syrup in the sodas.

Well even so, the human body isn’t designed to process fructose at such high levels. Unlike glucose, which serves as fuel for the body, fructose is processed almost entirely in the liver where it is converted to fat, which increases risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease.  It’s easy to drink 2 or 3 cups of juice in the space of a few minutes. However, you’ll have a hard time eating the 8 oranges it took to make those cups of juice.

Tropicana, Minute Maid, and other juice brands have spent decades educating us that fruit juice is just as healthy as fruit. According to the USDA, fruit drinks and fruit juice are one of the top 10 calorie sources kids ingest. Sadly, people up to age 30 consume half of their daily recommended fruit servings as juice.

This is simply wrong. Consuming your fruit in liquid form is not a healthy habit. Fruit juice is high in sugar, but low in fiber, which is “juiced out” during production. For example, a cup of orange juice, even 100% and freshly squeezed, has about the same amount of sugar as a cup of sugary soda – 6 teaspoons!


Additionally, liquid calories simply don’t satiate as much calories from food that is chewed. This means every time you drink juice, there’s a good chance you are consuming empty calories and adding to your waistline.

Some of you may wonder if 100% fruit juice is better than fruit drinks or fruit juice with some sugar added. The answer is yes, because there are some nutrients present in 100% juice that don’t exist in fruit drinks. However, the nutrition profile is only marginally better. Both 100% juice and fruit drinks are still closer to cola than they are to fruit.

Want to lose weight? Want to avert type 2 diabetes?

Follow these simple recommendations:

  • Don’t drink juice when thirsty – WATER should be your only source for hydration purposes.
  • Limit your juice intake to once in a while. Treat it as … a treat.
  • When you do drink juice, make sure it is 100% fruit juice – the label should state so.
  • Opt for freshly squeezed juice, not “from concentrate”.
  • Drink juice in small amounts – half a cup is a good serving size.  When I rarely opt for juice, I have 1/2 cup and dilute the rest with water.
Forouhi et al  – Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction – BMJ, 2015

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