Are you one of many people who enjoy a glass of juice? You may believe the drink is giving your body many nutrients which will help you be your healthiest and meet your fruit servings for the day. The unfortunate news here is this is mostly not the case.
Juice, especially the varieties bought in the supermarket mostly contain no fibre which helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and can support a healthy weight. Some varieties of juice can even contain equal if not more sugar than a soft drink due to the added sugar. Before you label juice as a death drink store bought juice can still give your body vitamins and minerals which a soft drink does not. Another potential problem with juicing is that without the fibre you not only feel unsatisfied but can drink your way through potentially much more fruit than you need. This can be a problem if you want to look after the diameter of your waistline. Also, if you consume more vitamins or minerals than your body needs there is not a more is better correlation and can even cause harmful effects to your body.
Do you enjoy carrot juice? Carrots are a great source of many vitamins which include the fat-soluble vitamin A. If you are a committed carrot juice drinker this can potentially put you at risk of overdosing on vitamin A as it is a fat-soluble vitamin which is stored in your fat cells. You can end up firstly going an orange colour but can even lead to toxicity and death if you consume too much. This overdosing on vitamin A is extremely unlikely if you eat carrots as it takes longer to eat a carrot and you will eat the fibre to make you feel full.
The solution? Enjoy half a cup (125mls) of juice only occasionally rather than as a staple drink. When selecting juice from your supermarket aim for 100% juice, if possible still with pulp and look for no added sugar. If you are juicing at home add back the pulp that the juicer removes to add back the fibre, this will add back most of the benefits of the whole fruit although you still lose the enjoyment of chewing and savouring the different textures and layers of whole fruit or vegetable.
Take home message: If you love juice enjoy a drink in moderation and occasionally and try to eat your fruits and vegetables as whole foods. If possible, try not to drink your calories (except for nutrient dense drinks like milk or soy). It should take effort to take in calories and you might as well use your teeth while you still have them!