fruit juice is really not very healthy

Fruit juice is really not very healthy—what are the alternatives?

Food, Nutrology

We have been conditioned to think that soft drinks, even diet soft drinks, are not good for us. So many of us have replaced these with fruit juices, thinking they are healthier. The truth is that while fruit juices are not as unhealthy as soft drinks, fruit juice is more unhealthy than healthy.

A recent survey of younger parents showed that 1/3 of them believe that fruit juices are at least as healthy as eating fruit. Let’s see why this is not true, and suggest alternative things to drink.

The problem with fruit juices

The dietary villain of this decade is sugar. Years ago, most nutritionists were worried about fats, but now, the belief  that sugars are worse than fat. And basically, fruit juices are water and sugar, flavored with fruit.

The process of juicing a fruit (or vegetable) starts with something healthy, then removes the best parts of it to make it tastier and easier for us to ingest.

The healthiest part of a fruit or vegetable is not the juice inside, but the other parts: the skin, seeds, and all the sold fiber parts that hold the fruit or vegetable together. These are the best parts for our metabolism.

Of course, the juice part has benefits—often lots of vitamins—but the fruit was made to be eaten as a whole unit. When we extract only the liquid part, we throw out the parts that are most nutritious.

Maybe we just bought an expensive juice at a juice bar, but sorry, without the fiber parts, what we are drinking is really not very heatlhy for our body. While it is easy and fast and nice to drink, what we are drinking is mostly sugar, metabolized quickly, which is not a good thing.

The quick absorption and metabolism is the problem—this leads to a quick spike in blood sugar, which demands that our pancreas gland has to produce lots of insulin quickly, to send the sugars into the tissues. But after some years, our pancreas gets worn out from all this demand. The pancreas was not made for so much quick work, and as we get older, our pancreas wears out and we have problems with our blood sugar levels.

When we eat an entire fruit

When we eat a fruit or vegetable entirely, the fiber inside slows the absorption of the sugars. There is no quick surge of sugar in the blood, and our pancreas does not have to work so hard to send the sugars into our tissues.

Liquids do not satisfy us

Recent research has shown that when we take in liquid calories, we do not feel filled up. Our hunger is not satisfied, so we end up eating or drinking more to feel full. However the liquid juice we swallowed quickly has lots of calories. Then we want more. The liquid calories don’t satisfy us, so we drink or eat more, and gain weight.

The solution

For those who really want to be more healthy, the best thing to drink is water, pure water. Tea, especially green or white (but black tea is healthy too) is an even better alternative to water. Milk, soy milk or whole, while vilified as not healthy, has many benefits. Finally, maybe surprisingly, coffee is a healthy beverage. Do you know that coffee is the biggest source of antioxidants for most adults?

So when you go to the store, look past the fruit juices and buy the real fruits and vegetables instead, and, if you really want to make a juice, make one that includes the fiber of the original fruit or vegetable.

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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