You might not realize how much sugar you’re consuming when you drink fruit juice. And even if you do, you might be under the impression that the sugar in fruit juice is healthier than the sugar in soft drinks. Although fruit juice might contain a few more vitamins than commercial soft drinks, the truth is fruit juice is loaded with the same unhealthy sugar and carbohydrates found in soda pop.
Some fruit juices contain as much or even more sugar than soft drinks. 8 oz. of apple juice contains 117 calories and 29 grams of sugar, whereas 8 oz. of cola contains only 97 calories and 27 grams of sugar. While that cup of apple juice does contain 172% of your daily value of vitamin C, it’s loaded with empty calories. You can easily obtain vitamin C from other low calorie sources.
Fruit vs Fruit Juice
Although the companies that sell and market fruit juice might tell you to get your daily fruit serving from juice, you should remember that eating an actual piece of fruit is always the better choice. When you drink fruit juice, all you’re consuming is the fruit’s sugars. Whole fruit is full of healthy fiber that not only helps cleanse your intestines, but also helps to control your appetite by making you feel satisfied. But, fruit juice doesn’t contain any of the fiber.
An 8 oz. glass of orange juice contains 112 calories, 21 g of sugar and only 0.1 g of fiber. A whole orange, on the other hand, only contains 45 calories and 9g of sugar while providing 2.3 g of dietary fiber. Eating the whole fruit will give you a bit of the sweet taste you crave in fruit juice, while costing you just a fraction of the sugar and calories.
Added Sugar in Fruit Juice
Some juices contain 100 percent fruit juice, but you might unknowingly purchase fruit juice cocktail which might be adulterated or contain added sugars. Fruit juice cocktail is usually cheaper than 100 percent fruit juice, but its affordability comes at a price to your health. Most companies make fruit juice cocktail by diluting fruit juice with water and sweetening the resulting mixture with high fructose corn syrup. Studies have linked high fructose corn syrup consumption with a slew of health problems, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Even if the fruit juice cocktail doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup, chances are it’s still loaded with plenty of sugar.
With a few exceptions, it’s usually not a good idea to drink your calories. Unless you’re drinking low fat or fat free milk, it’s best to stick to water and other calorie free beverages because liquid calories can quickly add up and spoil your diet. If you ever find yourself craving a sweet drink, try eating a piece of whole fruit, like an orange or an apple, with a glass of water. You’ll not only quench your thirst, but you’ll also get the sweetness of the fruit along with its natural fiber and vitamins.