Fruit Juice vs. Soda: which is healthier?

Food, Nutrology

Many of us, in our constant search to eat better and healthier, have limited our intake of sodas. That’s great, but how have we replaced our sodas? Fruit juices from a box? Are they better?

We need to be constantly aware about what we put into our bodies to maximize our chances for a long life, and minimize our chances for chronic diseases such as diabetes. The companies making our foods, for the most part, are not concerned with our health. They are more concerned with what sells, and sweet, meaning sugar, sells very well.

Let’s consider fruit juices sold in the box.

Look at the nutrition label. You can see how many grams of carbohydrate (sugars) are in the juice. Unfortunately, Brazil does not require the manufacturer to list the percentage of fruit in “fruit juice”, but you can be sure that the percentage is very low.

A teaspoon of table sugar contains 4 grams of carbohydrate. A typical fruit juice has about 24 grams of carbohydrate per 200 ml. serving. So in one small cup of juice, you are drinking the equivalent of 6 teaspoons of sugar. And that is for a 200 ml serving, which is not much. A real-life serving might be twice that, so you would be consuming 12 teaspoons of sugar.

Let’s take Coca-cola as an example of a soda. One can has about 40 grams of carbohydrate, which is like drinking flavored water with 10 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in it.

The truth is that both boxed fruit juices and sugared sodas are about equally as bad for your health. Fruit juices might contain some vitamins and, if they haven’t been processed out, a few antioxidants, so fruit juices might be marginally better.

Part of the problem with both boxed fruit juices and sugared sodas is that they provide us with quick, liquid calories. So it’s very easy to take in lots of calories, in probably the worst form possible—simple carbohydrates—in a very short time. A burst of liquid sugars into your system leads to a fast peak in your blood glucose levels, which over time contributes to obesity and diabetes.

So what are the healthier alternatives to sodas and boxed juices?

1) Fruits juices you make yourself in the blender, by adding whole fruits without adding sugar. Do not filter out the fiber, which slows the absorption of the natural sugars in the fruit.

2) Make your own limeaid, which is fast and requires almost no cleanup

3) Water, tea, or coffee

4) If you want to drink boxed fruit juices on occasion, at least dilute the juice 50% with water to decrease the sugar load, and keep your consumption to under a cup.

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Read also in ProcuraMed:

Consumption of soft drinks increases the risk of stroke

How to turn a caiparinha into a healthy beverage

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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