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Although fruit juices are generally a good source of micronutrients and phytochemicals, the negative effects of the high concentrations of sugars they contain outweigh the benefits these nutrients may contribute.
In fact, the amount of sugars in fruit juices is comparable to SSB (Sugar-sweetened beverages) and the extent of the impact on the cardiovascular health is very similar.
Please note that SSB have no nutritional value, and of the two, fruit juices would be a more nutritious option for an individual with a micronutrient poor diet.
There are several reasons why fruit juices are unhealthy, such as (1):
Fruit juices contain very high amounts of sugars
The table below compares the amount of sugar in some soft drinks and various juices, including vegetable juice for comparison.
|Amount||Coca-cola (1)||Apple juice (2)||Sprite (3)||Orange juice (4)||Mixed tomato and vegetable juice (5)|
|Percent of total beverage||11%||9%||9%||8%||3%|
|Amount of sugar in 355ml (12oz) of beverage||38g |
Fruit juices are high in calories
- Fruit juices contribute significantly to the energy intake. A glass of a fruit juice (e.g. apple juice) of the size of 355ml (equivalent to a can of soda) contains 34 grams of simple sugars (136 calories) which is almost as high as the contents of cans of soda such as Coke or Sprite.
- In addition, fruit juices, just as SSB, are not satiating (as explained in the next point on fructose) which only adds additional calories to the usual intake from food.
Fruit juices have high fructose contents
- High amounts of fructose reduce the circulating leptin – a hormone that makes us stop being hungry. As a result, we are prone to eat more than we really require for our energy needs.
- High concentrations of fructose from fruit juices, just like from SSB, lead to many serious medical conditions such as insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome disease. (read more..)
Fruit juices have high glucose contents
- While the Glycemic Load (GL) of the standard serving of a fruit juice is, on average, in the medium range, in practice, common servings are larger and, therefore, are in the high GL category. Due to the high GL, fruit juices are especially harmful for diabetics, although they cause elevated blood glucose levels in healthy individuals, and may lead to increased insulin resistance.
Fruit juices have negligible amount of fiber
- The process of juicing removes most of the fiber from the fruit, although some soluble fiber still remains. While whole fruit are associated with reduced or neutral risk of diabetes type 2, consumption of juices has been shown to increase the risk. (2, 3)
Packed fruit juices are not as fresh or as natural as claimed
- Processed, long shelf-life fruit juices lack some nutrients and contain various additives.
- “Industrial” fruit juices available in supermarkets, especially the long-life variety, are often mixed with the so called “flavor packs” to compensate for the lost flavor during processing (pasteurization) and storing in super-tanks for long periods (often as long as one year). Although it is unethical, fruit juice companies continue to mislead consumers by either false claims that these products are free of additives or by not disclosing these additives on the labels altogether. These two videos explain in more detail this process.
NUTRITION FACTS VS NUTRITION MYTHS
You will find a summary of the most common nutrition myths and evidence-based nutrition facts here.