Ask Amelia Nutrition

Enhanced Juices: Are They Worth Drinking?

A walk down the juice aisle of the grocery store might make you believe that just about any condition or disease can be cured by drinking juice.  It seems that every brand is now making a juice that “boosts energy” or “nourishes your brain” or “improves heart health.”  But are these juices really good for you?

Simply put: No.

While 100% fruit juice is slightly healthier than soda (because it’s made from fruit not sugar + chemicals), it’s certainly not the best beverage choice for most Americans, for these reasons:

  • Calories from liquid don’t satisfy you like calories from food
  • Juice is a source of extra calories that most people don’t need
  • Eating fruit is healthier than drinking fruit juice (there’s naturally-occurring fiber in fruit)
  • Drinking juice may raise the risk of diabetes

The latest trend of “enhanced” juices are really no better – they’re just more expensive.  Here are some recent fads in the juice market, and why they’re not worthy of your dollar:

Juice with Omega-3 – These juices only provide a tiny bit (50mg) of DHA and EPA – which is much, much less than you would get from eating a serving of fatty fish

Juice with Fiber – Yes, fiber is healthy.  But the fiber added to juices is synthetic fiber, not the heart-healthy fiber that’s naturally occurring in whole fruits.  Synthetic fibers (e.g. maltodextrin, dextrin) can cause stomach upset and have never been shown to improve health.

Juice with Added “Energy” – These juices often contain B-vitamins and caffeine, but it’s the latter that is making you feel “energetic,” not the vitamins.  Why not just drink a cup of freshly brewed coffee, which really does offer natural health benefits?

Juice with Extra Antioxidants – The term antioxidants doesn’t really mean much when it comes to packaged food, and “antioxidant juices” are no different.  If you want the most bang for your buck when it comes to nutrition, eat plenty of whole foods like fruits and vegetables instead of drinking this juice .  No liquid with added vitamins can beat a freshly made salad or bowl of real fruit.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but just like with every other packaged food – juice is not going to work any miracles!

image source for above: Welch’s website

No Comments

    Leave a Reply