Reasons To Avoid Drinking Juice
Lots of foods go well with juice, right? Breakfast is often accompanied by a tall glass of Tropicana. Summertime can mean sipping lemonade by the pool. And if I had a dime for every time I saw a commercial for juice on TV, I’d be extremely well off.
So many juice and juicebox companies lay out the idea that juice is healthy. They want to give you the impression that by sucking down a capri sun, or squeezing through a juicy juice you’re eating fruit. But that is not the case at all. Although juice can be better than some drinks, it is just as bad for you as soda, and it is the misconception that can actually make it worse. People think that they are making healthy choices when reaching for a cup of juice, and end up consuming a ton of extra calories and sugar. At least people know that drinks like Diet coke, sprite, and Dr. Pepper are bad for them. Juice on the other hand, is a subtle danger few actually realize. You see things like “all natural” and “freshly squeezed” and assume that fruit is the only thing in it. The bottom line is that you should be drinking mostly water when it comes to hydration, although flavoring it with real, whole fruit or tea is not a bad thing. Anything at all processed should not be in your system, period. Especially if it comes from a cardboard box, container, or can. Juice is not something you should be putting in your shopping cart and here’s why:
Reasons why you should stop reaching for juice:
Processed and artificial sweeteners: Even if your apple juice says 100% real juice, it may not be the truth. Sometimes, the juice that ends up in your juice boxes is stored for long periods of time during the process of distribution. Because of the length of time in which it stays on the shelf, artificial flavors and colors are added. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I want to know what an artificial color is honestly.
Sugar: The amount of sugar you consume when you drink juice is outrageous. Sure, whole fruits have sugar too, but that kind of sugar is all natural. Even still, when you drink a glass of apple juice, there is more sugar per calorie than if you would just pick up an apple and take a large bite.
Calories: Have you bothered to check the calorie count of some of these drinks? Perhaps it’s because when you hear the word fruit, you don’t think of a high calorie drink or meal. But juice, as we’ve mentioned already, isn’t just fruit. One serving of juice can be up to 200 calories. And that may not seem like a lot, but you’re probably going to pair it with something to eat. They have just as many calories as a lot of soft drinks, and sometimes even more.
Fiber: There is no fiber in juices. Despite fruits being a great source of fiber, they lose most of it through the juicing process. If you are looking for fiber, eat whole fruit instead. It contains both skin and pulp, which is where a bulk of the fiber from fruit comes anyway. These two things are gone when you drink processed juice or even organic, all natural juice.
The fact that juice is even labeled the way it is should give you some indication on how bad it is for you. Things shouldn’t have to be labeled “100% natural” or “no artificial flavors.” They should be like that automatically. It should be the other way around. Things should only have to be labeled if they aren’t all natural. Wouldn’t that make more sense? It just goes to show how the food industry works.
But not all juices are created equal. There are some that are better for you than others, and some that should be avoided at all costs. Let’s get one thing clear, anything processed, or where sugar is the first ingredient is a NO. So here’s a list of the best and worst juices for your health:
A Juice gradient:
Capri Sun, HiC and other boxes: capri sun is a kid favorite. But in just one pouch, there are 13 grams of sugar and zero nutritional value. As with most processed juice boxes, there is a ton of sugar and not much else. Leave these on the shelf when shopping.
Juice Cocktails: The name sounds enticing doesn’t it? But cocktail has nothing to do with alcohol. These drinks are usually nothing more than water, and added sugars. These are low density drinks—meaning they have close to no nutrients and a lot of calories.
Pomegranate and acai juice: Although these still won’t give you the complete nutrients that you’ll get from eating whole fruits, it will give you a leg up. These types of juices do have antioxidants and can contain vitamins that are good for your health. Remember however, that they still have a ton of sugar, and it may not be worth it for you to drink it.
Freshly squeezed juices: If you’re going to drink juice, make it yourself. And don’t throw out the pulp or skin! If you really want to reap the health benefits of fruit while drinking a hydrating glass of juice, at least keep the rest of the fruit handy and eat that separately.
Vegetable juice: Better than fruit juice is vegetable juice. It tends to have more fiber, and more nutrients survive the juicing process. Tomato juice is great for your skin because it has vitamin C and carrot juice is great for your eyes and contains a lot of vitamin A. These are not as dangerous as the fruit juices but believe it or not there can be MSG lurking in these and it won’t even be listed on the ingredients. So whenever possible, make your own homemade vegetable juice.
A lot of times, we don’t reach for water when we are thirsty because we have juicier, fruitier options. Why drink a boring water when you can have something with flavor? But if you make drinking juice a part of your everyday diet, you are adding an abundance of extra calories that are going to expand your waistline. There are so many grams of sugar and no nutritional value. If you really want something fruity, try fruit infused water! This is such a refreshing change from plain water, and it has virtually zero calories. Try adding watermelon, berries, lemons, or cucumber to a glass of water for a fun and yummy alternative to juice! Not only will you love the taste, but you will also be adding a little bit of fruit, which you can eat at the end. Juice may seem like a healthy option on the outside, but it is definitely not worth the sugar, or the empty calories.