This Week's Question: Is Packaged Fruit Juice Healthy?
Nowadays, store-bought juices claim to offer many health benefits. But are these packaged fruit juices really healthy? We give you the answers with the help of Ms Mansi Belani, Nutritionist from Evolve Medspa.
She says, "Fruit as a whole offers various benefits to health and is an important part of the food guide pyramid. As soon as fruit is exposed to air some of the sensitive nutrients get lost. Yes, apart from less nutrients, fruit juice is concentrated in terms of sugar so as calories. For instance, if you are making fruit juice at home you’ll require at least 3-4 strained fruits to craft just 1 glass of juice. As a result in 1 glass you are getting sugar (sucrose) + calories of 3-4 fruits collectively with lesser nutrients and fibers.”
She points out the difference in consuming fruits and fruit juice: “There are several advantages to choosing fresh fruits over any fruit juice (fresh or packaged). Fresh fruits have more anti-oxidants such as flavonoids and vitamin C as compare to fruit juice. Fruit juice elevates blood sugar more quickly than whole fruit, and the level of sugar that can be obtained from fruit juice is higher than the level found in whole fruit. Thus if it’s not utilized it can be further stored as fat in your body causing weight gain. Fruit juice is also lacking fiber which is present in fresh fruit.”
Ms Belani elaborates: “Processed bottled juice can last up to 2 years. Once cold pressed, fruit juice is rapidly pasteurized or heat treated. This heating treatment has been shown to destroy a lot of the nutritional value of the ingredients along with the naturally occurring digestive enzyme within the fruit and changes the pH from alkaline to acid. The primary purpose of this processing is to extend the fruit juice’s shelf life. The additives and preservatives added to the juice may cause carcinogenic effect on our body.”
She continues, “It is important to notice the nutritional value labeling behind all packaged fruit juices.”
If fruit juice is the only ‘convenience’ choice, follow these tips:
- If fruits are juiced together with vegetables, the pulp is retained, and juicing allows a
- person to increase intake of vegetables substantially.
- Allow close to 100% retention of pulp and skin while using home juicer.
- Avoid juices with added corn syrup.
- Pure orange juice is a healthy choice, as it offers more vitamin C than any other type of
- fruit juice and contains a high number of phytochemicals. It is also rich in folate, thiamin
- and potassium.
- Choose fresh fruit juice over packaged juice.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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