Q:Is drinking juice the same as eating the real fruit? If not, what is the difference?
So many of us have been convinced that juice is a great way to fill in the gaps in our nutrition. The fact is that most juice is almost completely devoid of any nutritional value and only perpetuates weight gain with all the excess sugar.
When juice is processed (i.e. for sale in the grocery store even refrigerated), it does not have the nutrient value of whole fruit or even freshly squeezed for several reasons. It is for the reasons listed below that juice does not add value to any weight loss plan. This answer does not directly address juicing whole vegetables but focuses more on bottled juices found in stores.
- It is all sugar. When a juice is extracted from its skin and fiber, sugar is all that is left. It was once thought that fructose did not quickly raise the blood sugar, but that is no longer widely believed. Without the fiber to slow the glycemic rise, juice is preferentially converted to fat in the liver unless you are engaging in rigorous exercise to immediately burn it off.
- It increases your appetite. Bottled juice (as well as any other liquid, sugar-containing drink) disrupts the bodys appetite regulating signals. Studies show that those who drink juice are more likely to eat more in the hours that follow.
- It does not contain the vitamins that it claims to have. When juice is pasteurized, it is boiled to kill bacteria. This also destroys nutrients and other enzymes that leave the juice very low in natural nutrients. In order to maintain its nutritious look, synthetic vitamins are added back. There is no guarantee what percentage of these vitamins are actually absorbed by the body.
- Do not be fooled by no sugar added or all natural juices. The above rules apply to these juices as well.Check out the table below for a comparison of sugar content in the most popular bottled juices.
Check out THIS CHART for a picture of the sugar in your favorite juice!
With regard to bottle juices, the risks far outweigh the benefits. Eating a whole piece of fruit gives you more nutritional value by an order of magnitude over juice. The risk of blood sugar and insulin spike is far too great when considering juice v/s fruit.
For those of you who are hard core juice drinkers, try cutting your juice with ½ seltzer to start decreasing the sugar content. Slowly increase the seltzer over time while decreasing the juice. Naturally flavored (not sweetened) seltzer can help you make this transition.