Despite the sexy commercials and the extreme convenience, fruit juice is not a healthy beverage juice for daily consumption. An occasional juice can be a fun and tasty treat, but America is addicted. In fact, 50% of Americans’ fruit intake is in the form of juice! This is partially the fault of USDA recommendations, which equates fruit juice to fruit. Millions of kids across the country meet fruit at lunchtime in the form of apple juice.
Here is a comparison of fruit juice vs. real fruit:
Fruit juice, even 100% freshly squeezed, is a concentrated dose of sugar that is quickly ingested, spiking blood glucose levels and straining the pancreas to quickly produce insulin. Fruit works in exactly the opposite direction.
In a study on half a million Chinese adults, higher fresh fruit consumption was associated with significantly lower risk of diabetes. Furthermore, among people who already had diabetes, there was a lower risk of death and heart disease for those who regularly consumed fruit.
This is because juice loses one of the most important nutrients that whole fruit provides – fiber. When eating whole fruit, the cell structure keeps the sugars “under control”, and as a result there is no spike in blood glucose levels.
Juicing an entire fruit and consuming the juice without filtration may, theoretically, keep the fiber in your drink. However, the fiber linings are torn by the juicer into minuscule pieces, and their efficacy is lessened. This results in blood glucose spikes as well.
While whole pieces of fruit keep you busy munching for a few minutes and later satiated, fruit juice just makes you want to drink more. It takes 3-4 oranges to make a one-cup serving of orange juice.
You can drink a cup of orange juice in 25 seconds and instantly be ready for another glass. How long does it take to eat 3 oranges, even if they have been peeled and sectioned for you? After eating 3 oranges, will you eat 3 more?
Bottom line: drink water, eat fruit. Save juice for occasional treats.