If you’re on a diet or just getting more acquainted with food science, you may be wondering how drinking juice might affect your overall weight loss plan or fitness goals. The facts are kind of disappointing: although a lot of us think of juice as a healthy, natural item, in reality, drinking a lot of juice really isn’t that good for you. In fact, it could ruin your weight loss plan by loading your body with sugars and carbs.
The Natural Nutrition of Juice
It’s true that freshly squeezed fruit juice still has a lot of the essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs, but when you look at how juice is made, some of the differences between eating fruit and drinking their juice become clearer. Natural, unprocessed fruits are a source of dietary fiber, something the body needs. The way some nutritionists explain it, the high sugar content in fruit originally led primitive humans to eat it, thus getting the fiber and other health benefits of plant foods. When you squeeze the juice out of the fruit and drink it, you’re getting all of the sugars without any of the fiber. That changes the way the body processes the sugars, and that can be not-so-great for your overall fitness.
Sugars in Juices
Doctors are telling patients the truth about juice: that it’s loaded with fructose, glucose and sucrose, natural sugars that can overwhelm the liver and cause weight gain in excess. If the first one, fructose, sounds familiar, that’s because it is: the same fructose is the prime ingredient in the high fructose corn syrup that lurks in sodas and other synthetic drinks. When you drink juice, you’re also getting a lot of the same carbohydrates that are in sodas, along with a high calorie count. The similarities between juice and soda are too large to ignore, and although the kinds of vague nutrition information you might see in outdated textbooks might hype juice, it’s almost a sure thing your doctor will tell you that there are some risks to drinking a lot of fruit juice.
In some ways, the difference between juice and fresh fruit mirrors the general differences between other fresh foods and processed alternatives: to hedge against some of the negative effects of excessive juice drinking, you have to spend that extra few minutes cutting up fruit to eat it instead of just reaching for that plastic juice bottle. It can be tough to eat fresh fruit on the go, but your body will thank you. Another way to mediate the effects of fruit juice is to water it down. This way, you’re doing two things at once: you’re cutting way down on the sugar content in your glass, and you’re getting more hydrated at the same time, and hydration is another frequently overlooked key to better overall health.
Think about all of this when you’re at the store looking at the variety of juices (and pseudo-juices) that promote themselves as natural and healthy. Remember, there’s more to juice than meets the eye, and thoughtful nutritional choices help to boost your weight loss plan and keep you in better shape for the long haul.