Personally, I love fruit juice. However, I make sure that at least 90% of the fruit juices I drink are freshly and had squeezed juices. Drinking a glass of fruit juice might sound like a great idea, however, there are remarkable differences in the nutrients that fruit juices supply compare with whole fruit.
Both fruit and fruit juices are readily supplied in the dining halls, and anywhere else you could be eating each day, and it is important to know the nutritional value of whole fruits and fruit juice.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, between 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit juice is recommended in your diet. For those that are not fond of eating fruits, they may not likely meet this recommendation. However, with fruit juice, it will be convenient to quickly drink the needed daily requirements.
Despite this advantage of fruit juice, you are still missing out on certain nutritional elements when aren’t eating enough whole fruits.
According to the results of a study led by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) , eating more whole fruits (especially grapes, apples and blueberries), was significantly associated with a lower risk of Type-2 diabetes.
According to the research results, people who ate at least two servings of certain whole fruits weekly (particularly apples, blueberries and grapes) reduced their risk for Type-2 diabetes by as much as 23%, when compared to those who ate less than one serving per month.
Conversely, it was discovered from the research that those who consumed one or more servings of fruit juice daily also increased their risk of developing Type-2 diabetes by as much as 21 percent. According to the researchers, swapping three servings of fruit juice weekly, for whole fruits, would also result in a 7 percent reduction in diabetes risk.
So, what is Missing in Fruit Juice?
If it isn’t clear to you already, it should be: when you eat whole fruits, it provides you with much more nutrients than fruit juice.
There are two major components of fruit which need to be emphasized- the pulp, and the skin. These two components of a fruit make a great difference in the nutritional value of whole fruits, compared with fruit juice.
There are two types of fiber in vegetables and fruits, soluble and insoluble fiber.
The juicing process extracts most of the insoluble fiber out of fruits and vegetables, while keeping the soluble fiber.
The soluble fiber absorbs water like a sponge, and provides a bulking matter which acts as a prebiotic that supports “good” bacteria growth and your digestive health.
Soluble fiber regulates blood sugar levels, slows the transit of food through your digestive tract, lowers blood cholesterol, and helps you feel full and satiated. Soluble fibers include gums, pectins, and mucilage; and it is normally still present in the juice.
The insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, and helps to keep your bowel movements regular. Insoluble fiber fills you up, and then speeds up the passage of food through your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber includes lignin’s, cellulose, and hemicellulose.
Insoluble fiber is mainly the component of fruits and vegetables that is removed during the extraction of juice, although it is still present in very small amounts.
Understanding the importance of these types of fiber is crucial to truly understanding the difference between whole fruits, and fruit juice.
Health Benefits of Fiber
Dietary fiber is very important to the body, as it helps the body to properly function in several ways including:
- Dietary fiber helps to lower cholesterol
- Dietary fiber helps you to feel full for a longer period
- Dietary fiber helps to control blood sugar levels, which is especially important for people with diabetes
- Dietary fiber helps to keep your digestive system in balance and working regularly
- Dietary fiber reduces your risk of certain cancers, most notable colon cancer
The Benefits of Fruit Pulp and Skins
The edible skins of most of fruits such as apricots, apples, plums, pears, grapes, raspberries, strawberries and others, are the site of many important biological activities in the life of a fruit. It is the skin of the fruit that interacts with sunlight, and forms a variety of colored pigments which absorbs a different wavelength of light.
These pigments (which include flavonoids and carotenoids) are well-researched nutrients that help to protect our health, and nourishment.
The skins of whole fruits such as grapes have been studied for their ability to help lower the risk of cancer, and provide protection from ultraviolet light. When the extraction of fruit juice takes place, you no longer can receive any benefits from the skin of the fruit, because it is removed during the process of extraction.
Another component of the fruit which is removed during the extraction of fruit juice is the pulp. The pulpy part of the fruit is also rich in fiber, and other nutrients.
The white pulpy part of the orange, for example, happens to be the primary source of its flavonoids.
Although the juicy orange-colored section of oranges contains Vitamin C, it is much less beneficial for your body without its naturally occurring flavonoids as well. Vitamin C usually works together in the body and supports good health through its interaction with these naturally occurring flavonoids.
The moment the white pulpy part of oranges is removed, it also loses its flavonoids.
Is Fruit Juice Unhealthy?
Well, the answer to this question greatly depends on what foods it replaces, and how it is consumed.
A fruit juice that has been robbed of a broad range of nutrients and its fiber content is basically a concentrated source of sugar, that does not have the required nutrients to digest and mobilize.
Fruit juice elevates blood sugar faster than whole fruits, and the level of sugar that is obtained from fruit juice is much higher than the level that is found in whole fruits. Another issue with fruit juice is that many fruit juices sold in supermarkets contain just a small percentage of real fruit juice, and they also contain added sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup or sucrose.
As a result, it is much easier to consume a large amount of calories when you intake these beverages, without getting the real nutrition.
Before deciding on which fruit juice to purchase, it is strongly advised that you read the fruit juice label carefully; in order to understand the amount of real fruit juice you are consuming when intaking these beverages.
Benefits of Fruit Juice
Despite the fact that the fiber content of fruits has been greatly omitted, real fruit juice does provide great benefits. Making your own fruit juice is even better, because you are able to blend a variety of fruits together giving you a new flavor combination, and wider variety of nutrients.
You can even combine fruit juices with vegetable juices, making for a tasty way to get the recommended daily amount of both fruits and vegetables.
A significant benefit of juicing is that when combined with vegetables, it helps to mask some of the unpleasant flavors of raw vegetables- a great advantage for picky eaters.
Along with this, according to the American Cancer Society, drinking extracted juice can make several nutrients readily available to your body for absorption. Juicing enables you to enjoy most of the vitamins present in the fruit and veggies, and saves your body from the task of digesting and breaking down all of the fiber.
Considering the fact that most juices are sugar-sweetened unless otherwise stated, it is advisable that you extract your own juice as much as possible and include veggies to reduce the sugar level of the juice. If you are making your own juices and avoiding the ones from the grocery store, you are already on the right track!
Juices can serve as a great alternative to other drinks that may contain less nutritional value, and can have a substantial impact on your diet overall.
They serve as a great replacement whenever you need something sweet to drink.
The intake of fruit juice is beneficial not only because it is a great replacement for a canned soda, but also because when combined with vegetables, it retains the pulp and juice which allows you to take in a large amount of the recommended vegetables. Making use of a home juicer allows you to retain close to 100 percent of the skin and pulp.
Juicing may seem like fad or trend for dieters trying to lose weight quickly, but it can be aptly used in the course of a healthy diet! Making your own fruit juices is an excellent way to fill gaps in your vitamin and mineral needs, and I highly suggest you try this with your own favorite fruits and vegetables!