In today’s fast-paced world, most people opt for quick fixes for everything. Packaged fruit juice is one such item that is readily available, is filling, and comes at reasonable prices. However, are these packaged juices really healthy for us, or are they victims of an advertising gimmick? NutriNeat gives you the answer in this article on the effects of packaged fruit juices on human health.
According to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 98% of fruit juices sold in the United States have been pasteurized. If a fruit juice is canned, bottled, or in a carton, instead of being good, it becomes an unhealthy choice.
Making healthy food choices has become a necessity today. Due to our busy lifestyle, everyone thinks that instead of grabbing a fruit or two, drinking a glass of packaged fruit juice equates to eating healthy and nutritious food. As per the claims of the companies, they are fortified with vitamins and minerals to boost your health.
However, is packaged fruit juice really a healthy choice? The answer is ‘Yes’, ONLY if contains 100% fruit juice without any added flavors, sugars, or preservatives, that too when consumed in moderate amounts.
Reasons to Avoid Packaged Fruit Juices
- In packaged juices, the skin of the fruit is removed, and it is pasteurized to kill the harmful bacteria present. However, during this process, most of the fiber in the fruit is extracted. The skin of the fruit contains many essential nutrients and fiber, which are lost during this process.
- Heating destroys the beneficial microbes present in fruits. It denatures the enzymes, and minerals and vitamins are destroyed during this process.
- Most fruit juices contain added sugars or fructose corn syrup to enhance their taste. This increases the calorie count of the drink, and the excess sugar, if not consumed, gets stored as fat in the body, resulting in weight gain.
- The additives, artificial food flavors, coloring agents, and preservatives that are added to these packaged foods can be harmful to the body.
Benefits of Fresh Fruit Juices
It is important that you check the nutritional value labels behind packaged fruit juices. Also, more preferable would be those which contain 100% fruits or fresh homemade juices, the benefits of which are listed below.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) defines fruit juice as either natural or pure 100% concentrate without any added sweeteners. Anything less than that is considered a drink, beverage, or cocktail.
- Studies suggest that drinking fresh pure fruit juice is good for weight loss and lowers the risk of obesity.
- According to the American Journal of Health Promotion, consumption of fruit juice as per dietary recommendations, as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet can provide essential nutrients without alleviating weight in children.
- The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals in juices help clear the skin, thereby, increasing its radiance and glow.
- Fruit juices cleanse the digestive system and help detoxify the liver and kidneys. Since fruit juices are easily digested, they are given to people suffering from nausea, poor appetite, or other digestive ailments.
Some Healthy Fruit Juices
Pomegranate juice is abundant in antioxidants, and contains many vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for heart and brain function. In moderate amounts, pomegranate juice is also known to help in preventing certain types of cancers.
Cranberry juice is rich in Vitamin C, and helps maintain a healthy heart by controlling blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol levels, and preventing blood clots.
Orange juice is highly rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, fiber, and folate, which promotes heart health and boosts the immune system.
Acai Berry Juice
Acai berry juice has strong antioxidant properties and is rich in protein. It helps boost energy and increase the overall immunity of the body. It also helps in preventing cancer, improving blood circulation, and alleviating digestion problems. A glass of acai berry juice before going to bed is also known to help you get a good night’s sleep.
Blueberry juice is a rich source of antioxidants, with high amounts of Vitamin C and fiber. It has anti-inflammatory properties, and is excellent for boosting brain functions.
A Few Important Points to Consider
- Fruit juices, when consumed in moderate amounts, prove beneficial for the body.
- Fruit juice should be taken as a supplement, and not a substitute, for a healthy diet. As juice is quickly digested, you may feel hungry often which can lead to overeating. You can have juice as a filling snack between meals that will prevent unnecessary snacking between meals.
- According to Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RD, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Drinking juice in lieu of eating food is not healthy or sustainable, no matter how nutrient-packed.”
- Also, the juice has to be consumed immediately after preparation. Prolonged exposure to light and air destroys the properties of fruits, and hence, it is advisable to store the juice in airtight containers if it is to be consumed later.
The best option is to have whole fresh fruit, which is also ideally recommended by physicians worldwide. However, having these healthy supplements are also beneficial for our overall health and well-being. Hence, instead of opting for unhealthy packaged fruit juices, you can have 100% fruit juices which are good sources of essential nutrients that will improve your health.