Sunday, November 4, 2012

Aren't all Juices Healthy?

Some juices should be called cocktails, not juices, because I think they serve to confuse the consumers more than help them. I understand that it is cheaper for manufacturers to produce these 'cocktails' since most of the ingredients are non-perishable synthetic chemicals that don't require effort to keep fresh, and thus can be sold for cheaper. However, the word 'juice' makes people believe they are in some form healthier.

Let's face it: not drinking soda does not mean a person is healthy. In fact, some juices are just as bad as soda, containing just as much sugar and not enough actual fruit. See below for an example of the ingredients in a product that is identified as a juice:

Yikes! All I see is various kinds of synthetic sugar, and then some small references to fruit somewhere in the center. If we're going by the rule that manufacturers identify the ingredients in order of quantity with the largest first, then this poses a major problem. You're basically drinking sugar drinking this juice. Now, if you didn't pay attention to the actual contents or the calorie information, and simply thought "Oh, great! Juice.", then you see how this could lead to some unfortunate decisions.

Okay, but if you shouldn't drink all juices, what should you do? First of all, pay attention to the nutrition content. If one glass contains upwards of 100 calories, ask yourself if it is worth giving up that many calories in your day for a drink. 

Second, do all of the calories come from its sugar content? Look at the ingredients. If it's stuff you don't know (What is Carnauba wax?), maybe think twice. Look out for the "100% pure" on the back with the list of ingredients, not on the front with the name.

Now, wouldn't that feel better? 100% fruit and vegetables sounds good to me. I would rather go for tomato juice and other vegetables than fruit because it contains less sugar and helps me stay fuller.

Thirdly, consider this: Can you make it at home? I know things that are properly packaged always seem prettier and juicier, but in reality, the juices we make at home are fresher, more natural, and contain more nutrients than the ones we buy at the store. Plus, you have the free reign to mix and match fruits and veggies as you'd like. The juice below contains spinach and carrots.

If you must buy juice though, some of the best options are 100% cranberry juice (known to prevent urinary tract infections), pomegranate juice (contains tons of antioxidants), and vegetable juices (low in sugar and calories). If you're not hell-bent on juices, another option to try is flavored water. It usally contains 0 calories and it tastes better than water.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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