Fruit juice isn’t good for your health. Whole fruit is healthy and a great source of nutrients. The fiber found in fruit can help prevent its natural sugar from causing blood sugar spikes. However, once the fiber is removed and the fruit is left in juice form, all the sugar can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels.
If you want “fruit juice,” the best option is to puree fruit and thin it with water. That way, you lose none of the fiber. You while still have all of the components with no “free sugars” separated from their source.
While this information about fruit juice is far from new, the point was driven home recently. The Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation is a group that reviews nutrition and decides a food’s health star rating. The health star rating is put on food labels in those countries to help people make faster choices in the supermarket. Our team is always interested in learning more about food labels, so a piece of news caught our eye: they want to give 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices a worse star rating than diet soda.
While juice is obviously much higher in sugar than diet soda, soda poses its own risks. Having the star rating on the label is optional. Water gets the top mark of five. The aim of the panel was to get people to drink more water. But it could lead to people picking soda over juice, which could pose its own problems even while being better for blood sugar.
“Orange juice, which is probably the most commonly consumed juice, will still rate between three and three and a half stars,” Cliona Ni Mhurchu, a professor of Population Nutrition at Auckland Univ., said. “It’s really those juices that are particularly high in sugar and very sweet like apple and pear juices that will rank the lowest in terms of stars. They would probably get between one and one and a half stars.”
While we think it’s great to try and mark things clearly, we’re not sure this is the best system. Soda and juice usually aren’t right next to each other in supermarkets, but they often are in convenient stores. Of course, water is your best choice, we all know that. But if someone is looking for something sweet but safe in a 7-Eleven, this packaging might not help them make the best choice at a glance.