The truth about fruit juices

Sure, fruit juices are healthier than the multitude of aerated drinks available in the market. But are they really a healthy substitute for actual fruits?

If you think that eating a whole fruit or having the juice give you the same nutrition, you are in for a big surprise. Experts warn that this common misconception could be the reason for your failing diet!

Read our article on Top 10 diet myths

Health benefits of fruit juices

Fruit juices are definitely a healthier option when compared to the sodas and aerated drinks which are so popular nowadays. Research shows that a glass of juice meets the daily allowance of having 2 fruits!

Apart from vitamins like vitamin C, B and A, fruit juices are also rich in minerals like potassium and phosphorous. It’s even better if you juice contains fruit pulp! It means that the juice contains fibre as well.

Read our article to find out why vitamins are important for you.

But when compared to fruits, fruit juices fall woefully short. A whole fruit is likely to have more nutrients, more fibre and no preservatives. It’s important to remember that while fruits and fruit juices are healthy, they both contain calories. Fruit juices more so, with the added preservatives and sweeteners.

Fibre, which is present in copious amounts in a whole fruit, tends to fill you up, restricting you to one or at the most two helpings. However in case of juice, this fibre content is greatly diminished. As a result, you end up consuming more calories without feeling full!

Photo from the Yahoo! Contributor Network
Preservatives used in canned fruit juices

Another worrying factor about fruit juices is that preservatives are added to them to increase their shelf life. The following are permitted preservatives used in fruit juices:

  • Sulphites and Sulphur dioxide: Inhibits the growth of yeasts, moulds and bacteria. Sulphur dioxide preserves the colour of fruit while drying.
  • Sorbic acid: Inhibits the growth of moulds and yeasts.
  • Benzoic acid: It has broad spectrum anti-microbial activity and is useful against many spoilage bacteria, fungi and yeasts.
  • Citric acid: It is used as an acidifier of foods.

Due to inappropriate food labelling in India, not much is known about the sugar substitutes used in juices. However, in juices labelled “sugarfree” or “light”, sugar substitutes like Aspartame and Sucralose are used.

Fresh juice or packaged juice?

A fresh juice, straight from the juicer is much better than its packaged counterpart. Fresh juices should best be used within 30 minutes to get the best taste. Also fresh juices have vitamins and enzymes that various preservation processes destroy.

Packaged juices have added preservatives to enhance its shelf life and added sugar or sugar substitutes to reduce the sourness that occurs when juice is kept for long, whereas fresh juice is higher in water content and low in sugar, with no added preservatives or sugar.

Therefore a fresh glass of juice is better in terms of taste and nutritionally in comparison to packaged juices.

But having a fruit is always more beneficial to drinking juices!!!

If you’re trying to lose weight and fruit juices were on your diet plan, you need to read our article on 10 best diet tips!


Written by Misha Sharma, Nutritionist

Photograph via sxc.hu


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