I’m not willing to go so far as to say that fruit juice is junk food, but I will say, it’s not terribly helpful when you’re trying to lose weight.
Fruit juice is high is sugar, and because it’s stripped of naturally occurring fiber, it goes down very quickly. Fiber slows down calorie consumption because it makes us feel full faster. Eating a whole orange has fewer calories, plus the fiber, antioxidants and some nutrients you won’t find in orange juice.
One small glass of orange juice has nearly the same amount of sugar as a regular Coca-Cola. That small glass of juice has the sugar equivalent of 2-3 oranges, or 25 grams. An 8 oz. glass of Coke has 27 grams of sugar.
In many ways, fruit juice is closer to soda than it is to the whole fruit.
But not all juice is created equal. If you drink vegetable juice, or combine the two, you may be better off. I’ve made “green smoothies” that combine fruit and vegetables for a juice blend that can be delicious and nutritious.
Just make sure it’s mostly vegetables!
It’s easy to justify loading up your green smoothie with fruit to make it more palatable. Many processed “vegetable” drinks pull this bait and switch: Odwalla Superfood (the green one) has 33 grams of sugar per serving. Geez, no wonder that stuff tastes so good!
Despite the fact that vegetables are best eaten whole, many of us simply do not eat enough vegetables throughout the day. Juicing vegetables at home is a great way to get nutrient-dense foods into our diet in a quick and easy drink. Juicing can become a healthy way of living, if you’re replacing unhealthy meals with vegetable juices.
If you’ve never seen the documentary, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” I highly recommend it. Here’s the movie’s trailer:
It chronicles the journey of Joe Cross, a man 100+ lbs. overweight and seriously ill with autoimmune disease, who spent 60 days on a quest to reclaim his health by giving up junk food and drinking only fruit and vegetable juices.
Spoiler alert: he’s happy, healthy and off his meds at the end. (You probably guessed that.)
Certainly it’s possible to vastly improve one’s diet through juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. Making juices yourself, using primarily vegetables, can be a great way to add important nutrients that your diet may be lacking. If Joe Cross’s experiment is any indicator, it can also be a powerful way to lose weight and regain your health.
Just watch the sugar!