The tendency is to treat fruit juice as a healthy beverage - after all, it is all-natural, isn't it?
Yes and no - nowadays fruit juices have tons of added sugar so that they taste better. Do an experiment - squeeze out an orange at home - does it taste nearly as sweet as store-bought? The sad truth is that fruit juices often contain the same amount of calories and sugar that sodas do. Considering the amount of junk in many store-bought juices, those few nutrients you get are nowhere near enough.
Is it Even Fruit Juice?
And you cannot always believe the marketing. That mango juice that you buy is probably mostly denatured grape juice to increase volume. I'll bet that there are colorants and artificial flavors added as well.
There is also no such thing as fresh fruit juice in those containers. All fruit juice gets stored in huge holding tanks without oxygen in them so that they stay "good" until packaging. This could for as long as a year. In the interim, most of the flavor and nutrients are lost and they have to add in artificial stuff again.
If you must drink fruit juice - squeeze it at home yourself.
Too Much Sugar and NO Fiber
Whole fruits are excellent for health. It stands to reason then that fruit juice is too. The problem is that the juice is not the whole fruit. It does have some nutrients in it but, for starters, you don't know how long it has been on the shelf and, in addition, it very likely has a whole lot of added sugar and no fiber to ameliorate the sugar's effects.
It Makes Drinking Sugar Easy
If you eat an orange, for example, it takes some time and effort - you have to peel it and then chew the fruit. The fiber in the fruit further slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream and that makes it easier for your liver to handle it.
When you are drinking fruit juice, however, the fiber has been taken out and sugar has been added. You must also remember that it is highly concentrated - it takes around four or five pieces of fruit to get one glass of fruit juice. In nature, you would not be able to eat so much.
The net result is that the liver faces an onslaught of fructose and it is overwhelmed. It starts to convert it into fat.
While a little bit of fruit juice or soda once in a while is bound to be okay for healthy people, it can be very dangerous for those with metabolic issues. Liquid sugar has been shown to increase insulin resistance, elevate blood triglyceride levels and cause a host of other serious health issues in as short a time as ten weeks.
You might as well just drink pure sugar as drink fruit juice or soda. Even if there are nutrients in the juice, it will make little, if any difference to your liver.
One study checked the effect of consuming 480 ml of grape juice daily over ninety days. All participants developed insulin resistance and gained weight around their waists.
Fruit Juice Does Not Quell Hunger
We tend to think that our bodies deal with all calories in the same way - this can be quite dangerous thinking and is certainly not true. The various things we consume travel along different metabolic pathways - each is dealt with differently.
The brain is in charge when it comes to what energy we have at our disposal. When we eat food, our brain makes a note to eat less later. When we drink, though, the brain ignores it - that means that fruit juice will have no influence over our hunger levels at all. In one study conducted with children, it was proven that the chance of developing obesity rose by as much as 60% for every daily beverage sweetened with sugar.
Fruit is Healthy, Fruit Juice is Not
Most nutritional guidelines allow you to count a glass of fruit juice towards the recommended number of fruit servings a day. This is downright dangerous because it makes it seem as though fruit juice is good for you. Considering the amount of sugar we already eat, we should be looking at ways to decrease intake instead of adding more. Sugar can be addictive and have you craving more. If you feel as if you are constantly wanting sugar and finding it hard to cut back, it may be worth investigating certain products to help.
If you really want to be healthy, get whole fruit and eat that. This will allow you to get all the nutrients, fiber, etc. that nature intended and will help you feel fuller.
Indulge once in a while in fruit juice if you must, but make it the rare exception and not the rule.