Is fruit juice good for you? Turns out it is just as unhealthy as a sugary drink

Is fruit juice good for you? Turns out it is just as unhealthy as a sugary drink

Fruit juice is often perceived to be healthy which is pretty understandable owing to the "fruit" in the drink but what many people fail to understand is that a glass of fruit juice comes loaded with spoonfuls of sugar.

Everybody knows consuming fruits and vegetables as part of a daily diet is a healthy option. Many people, one may be surprised to know, consider taking up a fresh fruit liquid diet as part of their routine, assuming it to be a healthy choice.

Fruit juices. Source: Pinterest

There is a misconception because obviously juice contains fruit and fruits are rich in vitamins and minerals. But juice maybe does not deserve the healthy halo that has been bestowed upon it for generations. 

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In a paper that was published last winter in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, experts scrutinized nutrition-hyped foods - which included juice - and came to the conclusion that “whole food consumption is preferred” over a liquid diet.

Fruit juice isn't always what it seems and here is why:

Fruit juice is missing one important component

While fruit juice does contain the vitamins and minerals akin to that of a fruit, it is missing one thing that makes a whole fruit healthy - dietary fiber! Fiber is that part of the plant that your body can't digest. But because your body can't digest fiber, does not mean it doesn't need or use it.

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Fiber moves through the gastrointestinal tract, helping to regulate a healthy digestion keeping you full for a longer time. Eating foods with high fiber has proven time and again to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Fruit juice can increase risk of type 2 diabetes, new study finds. (Source: Pinterest)

When you consume juice that has no fiber, you don't satisfy your stomach enough. You feel hungry because the juice doesn't keep you full. Research has found that drinking nutrients are less satisfying than eating them. “While your body likes the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants [in juice], juices lack fiber and don’t require chewing, so they’re less satiating than whole produce,” explains New York City-based dietitian Cynthia Sass.

You can consume massive amounts of sugar from fruit juice

Fruits naturally contain sugar, much more so than vegetables. But when we take the effort to chew and swallow a whole fruit, the sugar in the whole fruit gets sent to the liver slower and in smaller amounts. But juice which contains no fiber is essentially just a mixture of the sugary component of the fruit and the water found in its ingredients. 

Though natural sugar may seem harmless, our body does little to distinguish the sugar from an apple to that of a candy, says Scott Kahan, the director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness in Washington, D.C.

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“Whether the sugar comes from a fruit or a vegetable or whether it’s added sugar is probably less of an issue as compared to what goes along with the sugar,” Kahan says.

A 16-ounce juice could probably be the equivalent of eating several bowls of fruit which many people don't normally do. Opting for green juice, however, has benefits. They are entirely or primarily made from vegetables. It is a smarter choice because vegetables are low in sugar and calories when compared to fruits.

Fruit juice is not going to help you lose weight, in fact, it is fattening! 

A large part of the sugar found in fruit juice is called fructose. The liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose. When you consume fruit juice, the liver takes in more fructose than it can effectively handle, and some of it conveniently gets turned into fat. 

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While a liquid diet can help you drop pounds for the short term, there is nothing to suggest that it helps burn fat or helps lose a substantial amount of fat over a long time. Fiber is what actually helps you lose weight but since it's the one thing juice is lacking, it's no wonder it is fattening. 

Also because you don't feel full after a jug of fruit juice, your stomach is likely to get confused and hungry - leading you to overeat later on. When you consume solid foods, you tend to stay fuller and eat lesser. 

Smoothies are a better option!

This does not mean it is the perfect option. It is easy to go overboard with fruit or get tricked into eating more sugar than you eventually set out to consume, say indulging in a sorbet. But smoothies use whole fruits and vegetables, keeping the fiber in check. 

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“I’m a fan of smoothies made with reasonable portions of whole vegetables and fruit, combined with a healthy protein, like plant-based protein powder, and wholesome fat, such as avocado or almond butter,” says New York City-based dietitian Cynthia Sass.

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