So, you’re at a fast-food restaurant, and you’re deciding what to eat for dinner. You chose the classic meal combo. Perhaps, a burger-and-fries combo. That must be delicious. However, you’re left with one decision. What drink to get?
You are deciding between orange juice or soda. Initially, you would think orange juice is healthier than soda. Well, at some point, there’s some truth to that. But, are fruit juices healthy as we make it out to be? Read more to find out.
The Fruit Juice Myth
For quite some time, many people have been thinking that fruit juices are better than eating whole fruits. Perhaps, some people just don’t like eating fruits. Take, for example, kids. Most kids don’t want to eat fruits. So, parents result in just letting them drink fruit juice.
There’s no significant difference in juice and the fruit itself. When you eat the fruit, you ingest as well the juice in the fibers of the fruit. While when you extract it, you’re just drinking the juice without the fruit fibers.
Some say that it’s healthier to drink the juice than the fruit itself. The supporters of this belief say that the body can absorb the nutrients faster. However, there’s no supporting scientific evidence on the matter. Whether you’re eating the whole fruit or just drinking its juice, you pretty much get the same thing.
The Thing About Fiber
Fruit fiber is important in a healthy diet. Fiber doesn’t get digested. It remains pretty much the same throughout the digestive process. Fiber makes you feel full, and it doesn’t make you feel hungry for a long time.
However, fruit fiber has a function. When you eat the fruit, the stomach will have to exert much effort to digest the fiber. But since it’s indigestible, the stomach can only extract the juices and absorb the nutrients thereof.
In effect, the absorption of nutrients takes some time. But, how is this relevant to fruit juices. Well, the juice contains fructose. Fructose is a kind of sugar found in most fruits. Without the fiber, fructose gets absorbed faster in the body, which could result in blood sugar spikes.
If you have diabetes, you should be mindful of your consumption. That’s why it’s imperative to eat the fiber to slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. And most importantly, most of the nutrients and vitamins are in the fiber. So, eat the whole fruit instead.
The pulps of the fruit are the sources of fiber. The pulps contain flavonoids that help improve bodily processes. For example, the pulps of the orange fruits are rich in vitamin C. Thus, it can help boost the immune system.
When the fruit processors extract the juice, most of the pulps and pulp bits are filtered out. The flavonoids are lost in the process. But, it doesn’t render the fruit unhealthy. It is still healthy but not as healthy when eating the fruit.
Drink the Fruit Instead
Wait. What? Is it possible to drink the fruit instead? Yes, it is not mad science but just simple daily home solutions. Some people use a “nutrient extractor” blender. Unlike the juice extractor, the nutrient extractor includes the fiber of the fruit and even the skin.
So, imagine drinking orange juice with tidbits of fiber. That must be delicious to drink and healthy. People who drank fruit juice using the nutrient extractor show signs of stable blood sugar as compared with those who drank pure fruit juice.
Most doctors would recommend eating fruits instead of drinking juice instead. Even for diabetic patients, doctors would recommend a small portion of fruit intake. Indeed, there are so many reasons to eat fruit instead.
Conclusion: Is It Healthy as We Make It Out to be?
Yes, fruit juice is healthy. But, it has fewer nutrients and vitamins as compared when eating the whole fruit. Drinking fruit juice just because you’re thirsty is not in itself healthy. Remember, it is only healthy as long as it supplies you the nutrients that you need.
Anything in excess is additional calories. That’s why when drinking fruit juice, always make it as a supplement in case you cannot eat the fruit. But, make it a priority in eating fruits a priority.
If you think it’s healthy or not, the healthiness of fruit juice depends on your consumption of the juice. Drinking a lot of fruit juice can result in a sugar spike in your blood sugar. This spike could increase the risks of diabetes, and it can be harmful to people with diabetes.
Also, don’t be fooled with powdered fruit juices. These are already processed juice extracts that contain added sugar and artificial flavoring. Though they say that it’s made from real fruit extracts, it’s safer not to trust your daily fruit diet with powdered fruit extracts.
What to Look For
When buying fruit juices in the supermarket, always check the packaging of the product. Check if it contains added sweeteners like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup. When you see those, don’t buy that product because it has high sugar content.
It’s best just to buy real fruits instead. If you have a blender at home, make a fruit shake. But, don’t add sugar anymore. Let the fructose in the fruit be the natural sweetener in your fruit shake. Or perhaps, you’d like to add milk to make it creamy and tasty.
That might be a bad idea. Milk can add more calories to that fruit shake. Just add a small amount for taste only. Don’t make the milk as the highlight of your shake.
If you’re busy to make fresh fruit juices using a blender, you may buy canned fruit juices instead. But, be mindful of the added sweeteners and flavorings. You may be defeating the purpose of drinking fruit juices.
Remember that anything in excess is bad, and anything deficient is bad either. Always have a balanced diet and eat good and delicious food.