It’s a sad fact that fruit juice is more candy than healthy food. It’s a shame that grabbing a bottle of OJ on the go can’t keep you moving like having the fruit. Unlike the sugar in whole fruit, the sugar in fruit juice can easily upset blood sugar.
So why is fruit good for you and fruit juice bad? Fiber. The fiber found in fruit slows the absorption of sugar within your body and helps maintain normal blood sugar. By separating the juice from the flesh, the sugar is released turning them into “free sugars,” meaning ones that have been separated from their source. While juice does contain many vitamins and nutrients, it can carry a similar amount of sugar to soda and even more calories!
Juice can be a little murky in origin. Both “not from concentrate” and “100% pure” written on labels doesn’t spell quality. The juice can sit in vats for a year before being packaged. After being stagnant for a year, the juice is then flavored with orange extract and “fruit by-products.” That’s why Minute Maid always tastes like Minute Maid, and Tropicana always tastes like Tropicana. If that sounds unappetizing to you, you can make your own juice. While that does cut out the “reflavored sugar water” it doesn’t fix the problem of sugar in general. Losing the pulp means losing the fiber.
Now, a company called Better Juice claims that they have created “patent-pending enzymatic technology [that] uses natural ingredients to convert simple sugars like fructose, glucose and sucrose into non-digestible fibers and sugars.” The company claims the process changes little about the taste save for some loss of sweetness. The changes happen in one step, and the Better Juice believes the product would cost the same as other premium juice brands. More time is needed to find out if Better Juice’s process works.
Until then, if you are looking for something fruity to drink, consider mixing pureed fruit with sparkling water. Unlike juicing, pureeing fruit removes none of the fiber. That means you can have your fruit and drink it too!