I know soda’s bad but 100% fruit juice is ok….right?

The food advertising industry is amazing. The way certain foods are marketed and labeled provides false reassurance that they are healthy. We’ve been conditioned to equate the certain words and phrases with health, like “all-natural”, “made with real fruit/vegetables “, “cane sugar”. When in many cases, it couldn’t be further from the truth!

One example I come across again and again is the juice vs soda debate. By now, EVERYONE knows that soda is not a healthy food (and if this is news to you, honey we have A LOT of work to do). But sometimes, people make the mistake of swapping coke or sprite for fruit juice, patting themselves on the back that they’re making a healthier decision.

As a doctor I’m used to giving bad news, so here’s another one for you: juice is barely any better nutritionally than soda. Even if it’s actual real fruit juice (and not those other flavored sugary drinks that pose as fruit juice but have no actual fruit listed in the ingredients)

So let’s talk about (real) fruit juice. Here are the facts:

  • Fruit juice doesn’t contain as many vitamins and nutrients -like fiber- as the actual fruit since much of it is lost during processing
  • Fruit juice usually has sugar added to it to enhance the taste
  • Even the types of juice that state proudly “no added sugars!” still has lots of sugar in it, even though it is the sugar naturally found in fruit.

The reason why this is bad is that juice is a CONCENTRATED form of sugar water with little fiber and nutrients, that quickly raises your blood sugar and provides LOTS OF CALORIES. Example, 1 orange = 60 calories. 1 8oz glass of OJ= 112 calories. In fact, some types of juice even have more sugar than soda! (Don’t believe me, CLICK HERE)

So, my common-sense tip to patients is; stay away from liquid calories as much as possible. Juice isn’t much better than soda. If you MUST drink juice “for the taste” try to dilute with water and drink it less often. And it’s  ALWAYS better to eat the actual fruit than the juice.

Hope that helps to clear things up. Stay healthy, my friends!

Dr K

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