When it comes to healthy beverage options, most people would probably agree that fruit juice is a better choice than soda or coffee. After all, juice comes from fruit so it must be healthy, right? Many experts are now in agreement that because of over-processing and pasteurization, most fruit juice contains only a hint of the nutrients it originally had and is not much healthier than a can of soda.
Research has shown that a glass of fruit juice typically contains more calories than a glass of soda. Most fruit juices are also very high in fructose, a simple sugar commonly associated with obesity due to its quick conversion to fat. Even though the fructose in fruit juice is natural compared to the toxic high fructose corn syrup most often used to sweeten soda, natural fructose still goes straight to the liver where it quickly metabolizes.
A piece of whole fruit is rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other vital nutrients that work in conjunction with one another to nourish the body. Most fruit juice has been stripped of all these things during processing, rendering a juice that is high in sugar but low in nutrients. A glass of commercial apple juice, for instance, has six apples' worth of fructose and none of the fiber and pulp that helps to properly assimilate that sugar into the body. The result is an overload of sugar that floods the liver, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Some juices, like grape juice, still contain reasonable levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, making them a much better option than soda in terms of naturally-occurring nutrients. However, nutrient levels greatly diminish between the time the fruit was harvested and when it goes into someone's refrigerator in the form of juice. Since many juices are reconstituted from concentrate, their vitamin and mineral content is even further degraded.
Freshly-squeezed juices are preferable to store-bought juice concentrates since they have their full nutrient content and contain some of the pulp and other substances that are typically strained from commercial juices. Fresh juices are also rich in living enzymes that aid in digestive health and help to cultivate a strong immune system. A rich, living food, fresh juice is an excellent way to maintain good health.
Juicing fruits and vegetables together is also a great way to reduce excessive sugar intake from fruit juice alone while obtaining a more diverse range of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and enzymes.
To read how this week's run on juice posts began, read here