Is fruit juice a healthy choice?

Is fruit juice a healthy choice? Why is natural sugar in juice not healthy? Should we drink juice? What about freshly squeezed juice?

‘Drink juice, it’s healthy’

I don’t know about you but I was raised believing that drinking orange juice is a good and healthy choice. My parents used to buy a lot of it and I used to drink juice every day. Today I treat juice the same way I treat fizzy drinks. I try to stay away from them. Why?

Look at the label.

The first thing that can be really bad with juice is what is being added in the production process. Preservatives, flavors and sugar. Have a look at the list of ingredients. In my opinion, there is no need for us to consume all those things. They are not beneficial to our health and in some case can be harmful.

What about natural juice?

By natural juice I understand a kind of a juice you would make at home by squeezing fruit. You can also buy this type of freshly made juices in many places nowadays. They are better as they don’t contain any artificial ingredients but my main concern is the high level of sugars in them.

Why is natural sugar in juice not healthy?

Sugars have a lot of bad press lately and for a good reason. High sugar diets are linked to obesity, diabetes, and other common health problems. Don’t get me wrong, glucose is essential for our survival. In moderation of course. But what we have in the fruit juice is a mix of glucose and fructose. And fructose is the bad guy.

Fruits contain sugar but they also have a lot of fiber and this makes a hell of a difference. Fiber slows down sugar absorption and helps with its digestion.

Fruit must be chewed. While we chew on that chunky piece of fruit we are mixing it with enzymes that are in the saliva. Those enzymes break sugars and start the digestive process. With juice, we miss this important step as we simply swallow it without chewing.

It’s all about numbers. You will need roughly two large oranges to make one glass of juice. You can empty this glass in seconds. In order to eat the same amount of fruit you will need more time and this means that you are spreading the same amount of sugars over a longer period of time on top of that fiber that I just mentioned.

And finally, think about how full you are after drinking one glass of juice compared to after eating two large oranges. When you eat, you fill your stomach with something more than just liquid you feel full and your stomach will signal your brain and say: ‘Hey, that’s enough food for now’ and your hunger goes away. 

The recommendation here is simple – stay away from juice. Drink water instead and eat the whole fruit.

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