So you may notice when you walk around grocery stores and see juices on the shelves saying “100% fruit” or “100% natural”. Most of us will see these labels and think “healthy” which can be true, BUT are these drinks as healthy as freshly squeezed juices? Will they give you the same nutrients, vitamins and minerals that you would get from real fruit? Don’t get the bottle just yet, and here’s why..
What Are The Benefits Of Juice?
Before comparing fresh and store bought juices, it’s important to understand the benefits of fruit and vegetable juices, and why it is good to include them in your diet in the first place.
Fresh juice provides ample of benefits for the body, providing nutrients like vitamins, minerals and enzymes. This allows you to take in all the goodness of vegetables and fruit without having to eat them if you’re not huge fans of eating salads, or vegetables raw. It is also a great source of nutrition if you have a poor appetite or poor diet. Because it’s liquid form, it does not contain insoluble fiber so it makes it easy on the stomach (which is why many people tend to drink fresh juice and smoothies when they want to give their digestive systems a rest from digesting heavily processed food). It also promotes overall health and can help kick start a healthy diet.
What Makes Store Bought Juice Any Different?
So, if drinking juice is a good way to keep you healthy, shouldn’t it be a good idea to pick up a bottle of store bought juice and drink right away? Well, store bought juices differ from fresh juice because of the way it is prepared. While there are some store bought juices that are made on site or prepared like fresh juices, most brands go through a very long process of preparation. Unless said otherwise on the bottle labels. The juices are pasteurized (a process of partial sterilization, especially one involving heat treatment or irradiation, thus making the product safe for consumption and improving its keeping quality) and go through the process of pasteurization or other non-heat processing to kill possible bacteria which may be inside or outside the produce. This increases the shelf life of the product and allows it to last for months or years without fermenting or spoiling; yet the juices are fabricated, making the juice unnatural. The problem with pasteurization is that it kills all the beneficial bacteria we call probiotics as well as damaging the vitamins, minerals and denaturing the proteins leading to some of our health issues.
Do you ever wonder why a brand of fruit juice tastes the same throughout all boxes or bottles? If they’re from completely different fruits, then there’s bound to be a difference in the taste from one bottle to the next, right? But they taste the same! The reason why fruit juices tastes so good (and the same) is because once they are pasteurized and processed, they are then loaded with flavor packs which give them a uniform flavor. These flavor packs are loaded with simple sugars, which have zero nutritional value and do nothing but increase your blood sugar levels.
With all of this being said, most juices in supermarket stalls have very little nutritional value and are loaded with sugars – and they may have traces of chemicals and other compounds as well. All in all, you are simply spending for and just drinking chemically laden, flavored sugar water. That is definitely not something you want when you are planning to go on a healthy diet. If you want to get the most nutrients from your drink, fresh juice is always the way to go. When you extract the juice from the produce, you get all of its important nutrients inside liquid form, allowing you to drink all the phytonutrients (plant chemicals), minerals and vitamins in one drink. The juice doesn’t have any fiber though, so it should still not replace raw produce and vegetables in your diet.
Fresh juice benefits:
- Most often cheaper
- More nutrients are preserved
- You know exactly what’s going into your juice
So if you do need to buy your own juice from the store, here are some things to look for in a juice:
1. Is it organic and gmo-free? You definitely should choose organic and non-gmo.
2. Does it have any odd ingredients that aren’t healthy?
3. Is it pasteurized? Pasteurization kills off all the nutrients.
4. Is it cold-pressed? This is the best option when choosing a juice.
5. Does it have tricky phrases on it like “100% juice” or “not from concentrate”? These don’t necessarily mean healthy at all.
6. Do you trust the company that is producing this juice?