Sweet and refreshing fruit juice, packaged in colorful bottles labeled with “natural” and “fresh”, clearly conveys that they are healthy. However, in face of dazzling fruit juice categories, customers are hard to distinguish pure fruit juice from 100% juice, not to mention other confusing names such as original juice, concentrated juice, natural juice, freshly squeezed juice and juice beverage. To choose healthy fruit juice, you’d make it clear what are their differences.
According to national standard, original juice are squeezed from fresh fruits, without any additives like sugar or water, so it is one type of 100% juice. With regard to their appearance, original fruit juice can be classified into clarified juice and cloudy juice. Clarified juice have all its fibers and polyphenol antioxidants filtered out, while cloudy juice retain the pectin and pulps of fruits, which bears higher nutritive value. Citrus juice, for example, is an important source of vitamin C, pectin and flavone in western diet.
Healthy as original fruit juice is, not all fruits are fit for making original juice. Hawthorn juice, for example, is too thick and sour to drink, which tastes better when added with water and sugar. In this regard, juice drinks with more than 40% pure fruit juice are more popular. Meanwhile, as diluted fruit juice contain water, sugar and essence, it’s less nourishing than original juice. Nevertheless, fruits like hawthorn and jujube contains so many nutrients like vitamin c, pectin and flavone that it is still wholesome even diluted to 40%.
Compared with the 2 types of fruit juice mentioned above, fruit juice beverage and pulp particle drinks is bare of nutritive value. This represent the difference between fruit juice and juice beverage. According to national standard, the fruit juice content in juice beverage should be no less than 10%, usually between 10% and 20%. That is to say, the largest content in fruit juice beverage is water and sugar, and the fruit flavor comes from essence. For this reason, fruit juice beverages are not substitute for fruit. What they offer to our body is mostly sugar. On the other hand, some fruit juice beverage are added with vitamin c, which is a way to improve its nutrition value.
For people in normal condition, original and diluted fruit juice can be regarded as a nutrition source, while fruit juice beverage serves as sweet drink. If you want to choose real healthy fruit juice, pay attention to the ingredient list rather than package or taste. If pure fruit juice ranks first in the list, whose content is over 40%, its nutritive value is approved. In terms of categories, orange, grapefruit, hawthorn, wild jujube, kiwi fruit, tomato and grape juice bear higher nutrition value.
Nutritive as fruit juice is, you are not supposed to drink your fill. First, sweet fruit juice usually contains 10% or more water content. If you have 2 cup of fruit juice intake besides meals, it will add to calories up to 160 Kcal, the same quantity as half bowl of rice. For those who intend to lose weight, drinking too much fruit juice is not a wise choice.
Second, though most fruit juice contains vitamin C, the vitamin B content is rather low, and it contains hardly any protein. Carotene is also scarce in fruit juice other than citrus juice and tomato juice. And vitamin c content is rather low in apple, pear, peach, and apricot, which would be further decreased after squeezing. In this regard, except those nourishing fruits, most fruit juice can only provide water, sugar and calories for human body.
Finally, insoluble dietary fibers will get lost during juice squeezing, even soluble fibers can disappear in clarified juice. So concerning supplement fibers, drinking fruit juice is far from eating fruits.
In addition, according to the latest research, some fruits are rich in fructose, which is not restricted by our appetite. You will feel full after eating a bowel of rice, but this doesn’t go for fructose. In this regard, taking in fructose would disturb food intake. Moreover, starch can break up into glucose, while fructose will be metabolized into fat. Fructose will increase triglyceride level, which raise the risk of heart disease. Meanwhile, glucose can disturb the balance of magnesium ion in human body so as to induce osteoporosis.
For these reasons, yummy as fruit juice is, you are not supposed to drink it too much. 1 or 2 cup per day is enough, which should be drank before or between 2 meals. In terms of diabetes, eating low-sugar fruits like strawberry is a better choice than fruit juice. Hyperlipidemia patients should drink less fruit juice. To be honest, drinking plain boiled water can quench your thirsty better than fruit juice. But if you want to refresh yourself, or supplement calories and vitamin c, drinking healthy fruit juice is an excellent choice.