Okay, I get it; we need the vitamins and minerals that fruits and vegetables give us. But are we getting what we think we are getting when we drink the juice? Many juices are made with fruit and vegetable concentrate, not the actual juice. Though juice can be a quick and easy way to get your daily fruit and vegetable requirements, something important might be missing, and something extra might be present. Which do you think is better for you?
Fruit and vegetable juice or whole fruits and vegetables, which is better for you
There are juices (large and small) in the cold section of the grocery store, in the freezer section, on the juice shelf and in vending machines. But are they a good choice?
Who has the time?
Juices are so much easier and faster.
Who has time in this fast paced world we live in to peel, eat and perhaps cook the raw item? Cooking and preparing the raw item takes time and energy that most of us (let’s be honest now) don’t have; nor do we even want to because a quick visit to the store or cooler gives us that boost and the benefit without all the hassle. Juicers are more popular than ever; they are carried on the shelves of nearly every store out there. And health food professionals are constantly toting “If you can’t get your fruits and/or vegetables any other way, then juice them.” But have you read the labels? Have you done the research? If you juice them at home, do you know what you might be missing?
Have you read the labels?
Contains Malic Acid:
Malic acid is found naturally in all fruits and many vegetables. It is often added to fruit juices, candies and wine to enhance the flavor with sour overtones. Although this acid is a natural acid, it can, and usually does, cause excess tooth decay by breaking down the enamel of your teeth. Often, juice companies who claim their juice is “100% Natural” add malic acid to make the juice flavor more intense. Excess malic acid in your diet can cause mouth irritation and/or excess stomach acid while breaking down your enamel which cannot be regrown.
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Many companies add sugar to their products to enhance the flavor, but they list them in many different ways. Did you know, for instance, that Diatase is actually sugar? By listing sugar in other ways on the labels of food products, companies can disguise the amount of sugars you are ingesting when you drink (or eat) their products. This makes it hard to limit our sugar intake when we don't know we are ingesting sugar in other forms.
There are several sites out there that give you other names of sugar, talk about how sugar affects the body, and what products may contain sugars. Check out the ones I have listed to the left.
These sites will give you more information about sugars
50 names for sugar
Gives the names of 50 different sugars that add calories to your foods.
Web Md talks about sugars
Find some of your favorite foods and whether they contain sugar or not.
Sugar and your health
This site gives a great deal of information about sugar: products that use sugar (that you may not know) and how sugar can affect your health.
Sugar comes in many forms so don't just look for the granulated or powdered kind
© Cheryl Simonds
Many companies add large amounts of salt (or sodium) to their juices, especially vegetable juices, to enhance the flavor and preserve the product. Excess sodium can be harmful to your heart, lungs, and kidneys. Excess salt can cause High Blood Pressure, or cause your body to retain dangerous amounts of fluids. Salt comes in other forms as well. Check out the links below for more information about salt, where salt may be hiding, and the dangers of consuming large amounts.
Remember the salty/buttery popcorn at the movie theater? Sadly, it is also bad, though very yummy.
As I'm sure most people know by now, companies often add things like artificial colors and flavors to enhance their juices. They might also add preservatives to increase the shelf life and processed products for vitamin and mineral enhancement. They even add chemicals that we have never heard of: what the heck is Sodium Hexametaphosphate?
These sites can give you more information about the chemicals used in juices and how nutritionally beneficial juice is to the body.
Information on the V-8 juice
Describes the nutritional information for V-8 juices.
This is a site that talks about the benefits and non-benefits of juices.
Truth about juice drinks
This blog describes many juices and how the manufacturers use small percentages of actual juice and high amounts of other ingredients for flavor and balance because it is cheaper.
Are you a juice person, or a fruit and vegetable person?
Have you done your research?
Many manufacturers actually have web sites where they list their products and the ingredients list. They also have contact information so you can find out if there is anything in their products that could be harmful if taken in large quantities. A good site to visit is Wikipedia.org where you can get a detailed list of most juices sold today.
Or you can simply search for the name of the juice you use most often such as Capri Sun, which even has a special section for kids. V-8 juice has a site that offers information about their products as well as coupons and special ads. Even the kids juice boxes have sites like the ones that have Sesame Street Characters and are made by Apple and Eve.
No matter what juice you drink--research it before you drink it. Just like lean meats and exercise, healthy juice means a healthier you!
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If you use a juicer, do you know what you might be missing?
I hear the words even before you speak them--“Enough about what companies add to their products; we don’t want to hear anymore!”
I don't blame you; but I also see you racing to the store to purchase a juicer so that the juices you and your family drink are completely natural without any added chemicals. But are you still serving the best thing to your family? While juices, especially those you make at home, are still loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, they have lost the one thing that makes fruits and vegetables more healthy than the juice---FIBER!
Yes, fiber. Natural fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of fiber that slow down your body’s absorption rate because it needs the natural calories immediately to break down and use the fiber. This means that less sugars, and calories, chemicals, fats and acids are being absorbed and stored in your body. Also, by taking the time to prepare the fruits and vegetables you are also burning calories; calories you wouldn’t be burning if you grabbed up a juice and drank it on the go. Another reason to eat your fruits and vegetables rather than juice them is this: the natural sugars are more concentrated in the juice and are absorbed too quickly giving you a sugar high that doesn’t last and leaves you tired and run down.
So, while juice is a great way to get some of your fruit and vegetable requirements, it should be taken in moderation.
Take a moment to grab and eat an apple on the go; or a pear or banana. Snatch up those baby carrots and snack on them during your break. Many vegetables and all fruits can be eaten raw and give you great servings of fiber along with their natural sugars, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. So when you find yourself reaching for that juice, stop for a moment and think: “Have I had a juice already today? Maybe I should choose something else.”