What about fruit juice?

Fruit juice products are exploding and it seems like most people believe fruit juices are healthy…they come from fruit, so they must be OK? Wrong. Fruit juices are just basically liquid sugar. 

Unfortunately, many of the “fruit” juice products you find in the supermarket aren’t even fruit juice, just fruit flavored beverages imbued with chemicals that taste like fruit. Many of these products are basically fruit-flavored sugar water.

Even if you’re drinking 100% fruit juice (organic, natural, made in your own juicer, blah, blah, blah), it is still a problem. Fruit juice often has had the fiber taken out and the main thing left is the sugar, now concentrated. Despite their healthy image and brilliant marketing, many fruit juice products contain the same amount of sugar as sugar-sweetened beverages.

A typical glass of orange juice contains 4 oranges. One serving of orange juice (an 8-ounce glass) contains 22 grams of sugar. By comparison, 8-ounces of Dr. Pepper (pick your soda) contains 27 grams of sugar. 

One simple solution is not to drink your calories. Eat whole fruit – with the fiber. Try “spa water” recipes that use small amounts of fruit for flavoring. And when you absolutely need some juice, than make it a small glass.

How many oranges have you consumed in one sitting? The fiber in whole fruit increases satiety and also helps to metabolize the sugar in healthy ways. Since our diet is already so overloaded with sugar, big blasts of sugar tend to be bad for our metabolic health.

And what about blending up your own fruit smoothie at home?

Despite the popularity of smoothies, there’s surprisingly little research about the effects of smoothie fruit on the body versus whole fruit. But Robert Lustig, MD, professor of pediatrics at University of California, San Francisco, and author of Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, thinks smoothies are a no-no.

“The blades destroy the insoluble fiber, which means that the ‘gel’ that forms on the inside of the intestine has no structure,” he says. “The sugar is absorbed at a maximal rate, overwhelming the liver’s capacity to metabolize the sugar, and the excess sugar is turned into liver fat which is the precursor to metabolic syndrome.”

Dr. Lustig won’t begrudge you your glass of green slurry, provided it’s loaded with veggies. “The insoluble fiber is still destroyed, but so what?” he says. “If that’s the only way you can get your kale down your gullet, have at it.”

(Click here for a whole article on Smoothies in Time Magazine)

Below is a table showing the increase of sugar consumption from 1950 to 2000

Source: USDA Profiling Food Consumption in America

 


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