(Health Secrets) Looking for a drink that’s healthier than soda pop? Most people would probably agree that fruit juice is a better beverage option than soda pop. After all, juice comes from fruit so it must be healthy, right? Well, many experts are now in agreement that because of over-processing and pasteurization, most processed fruit juice contains only a hint of the nutrients the original fruit had, and many brands are barely healthier than soda pop.
Research has shown that a glass of fruit juice typically contains more calories than a glass of soda. Most fruit juices are also very high in fructose, a simple sugar commonly associated with obesity due to its quick conversion to fat. Even though the fructose in fruit juice is natural, unlike the toxic high fructose corn syrup most often used to sweeten soda, natural fructose still goes straight to the liver where it quickly metabolizes and can cause rapid blood sugar spikes.
A piece of whole fruit, on the other hand, is rich in fiber, antioxidants and other vital nutrients that work in conjunction with one another to nourish the body. Most fruit juice has been stripped of these things during processing, rendering a juice that is high in sugar but low in nutrients. A glass of commercial apple juice, for instance, has six apples’ worth of fructose and none of the fiber and pulp that helps to properly assimilate that sugar into the body. The result is an overload of sugar that floods the liver, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as obesity.
Some processed fruit juice, such as grape juice, still contain reasonable levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, making them a much better option than soda in terms of naturally-occurring nutrients. However, nutrient levels greatly diminish between the time the fruit was harvested and when it made it into someone’s refrigerator in the form of juice. And since many varieties of processed fruit juice are reconstituted from concentrate, their vitamin and mineral content is even further degraded.
Freshly-squeezed juices are preferable to store-bought juice concentrates since they have their full nutrient content and contain some of the pulp and other substances that are typically strained from commercial juices. Fresh juices are also rich in living enzymes that aid in digestive health and help cultivate a strong immune system. A rich, living food, fresh juice is an excellent way to maintain good health.
Juicing fruits and vegetables together is also a great way to reduce excessive sugar intake from fruit juice alone, while obtaining a more diverse range of the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and enzymes present in fresh juice.
If you are looking for a bottled beverage that’s healthier than soda pop, go for one of the many teas on the market or simply drink water.
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