Balanced College Diet: The Truth Behind Fruit Juice

Story by Shayla Gallagher
Photo Courtesy of Google

As a future dietitian, I am all about getting the proper servings of fruits and vegetables, but let’s be realistic – as a college student, that does not always happen.

Between classes, meetings, homework and trying to have a social life, it’s not always easy to eat properly. I’m all about easy, fast, healthy and convenient snacks.

So what’s easier than grabbing a piece of fruit or buying pre-cut vegetables? Drinking it!

That’s right, there are so many juice products on the market that exceed the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables in just one bottle. Some of the most popular brands include V8 and Naked.

I’m a sucker for marketing, and like most people, believe what the bottle says. The bottles of most fruit-vegetable juices say things like “All Natural,” “No Sugar Added,” and “100% Juice.”

It did not dawn on me that maybe I was being fooled until someone had told me that they had heard that drinking a fruit-vegetable juice was equivalent to drinking a Mountain Dew. I was in a bit of shock. I knew that physically eating fruits or vegetables was best, but could drinking them in juice form be all that bad? After hearing this, I did a ton of research and this is what I found.

What Research Shows
Many of the labels advertise that there is “no sugar added”. While this may be true, one bottle typically contains 50-60 grams of sugar. Granted, the fructose from fruit-vegetable juices comes from fruit ingredients and the fructose from Mountain Dew is high fructose corn syrup. However, they are processed the same in our body. Our bodies cannot differentiate where the fructose comes from.

Drinking one bottle of a fruit-vegetable juice in one sitting is more fructose than our body should be consuming for the day. For that matter, there is more sugar in one bottle than your body should be consuming in three days. The average person should be consuming 25 to 37 grams of sugar or less per day.

What makes these drinks even worse is that fructose is processed differently in our bodies than other sugars. It is sent straight to the liver, metabolized and stored as fat.

What the Drinks are Lacking
Fructose is not the only problem with these juices – there’s no fiber! I have learned that fiber is an extremely important nutrient for so many reasons. Fiber is important for the absorption and digestion of the fructose in the fruit, helps slow the rate of absorption of sugar and helps you feel fuller longer, which leads to less snacking.

But it does not end there. Every juice differs, but with the amount of fruits and vegetables in each bottle, consumers believe there are plenty of vitamins. Wrong!The fruits and vegetables are pasteurized when turned into juice, which destroys most of the key vitamins.

Turn to the Real Thing
Fruit-vegetable juices have an inadequate amount of vitamins, no fiber and are filled with crazy amounts of sugar that our body should not be consuming.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should never drink them again. Just do not make a habit of including them in everyday diets and do not rely on these juices to get your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.