Is Fruit Juice Good For You?
When cutting back alcohol or cutting alcohol altogether you often hear people say, its OK I will just drink juice. It is good for me! But is fruit juice good for you?
So in the battle between alcohol versus fruit juice as an alternative which one would win?
I am starting to think neither would, especially if your liver health depends on it and of course too much alcohol can literally kill you.
So fruit juice isn’t a poison is it?
But in terms of our health diabetes is awful so I am totally confused.
Luckily after I was ill I was given a dietitian to get me back on track and no it was not just about no alcohol per se but it was about eating the right things and actually not ignoring treats either.
It’s all about balance.
However, even she said that the amount of people who give up alcohol only to make a complete switch to alcohol free then wonder why they pile on the weight was astonishing.
One of the reasons was the amount of sugar they drink in juice as its seen as a healthy go to option.
Even my liver consultant said that he has seen people pile on the weight after giving up or cutting back on alcohol because they went for all the wrong things including fruit juice and in great quantity.
By the way both my consultant and dietitian were not saying fruit is bad on the contrary. Its just that you would not eat 3,000 oranges for example with no skin all in one go.
Together with my dietitian when I went on a diet after being ill and discovering that my life health needed a certain sort of food.
But tons of fruit juice was not listed as part of that.
Now I know why, it was because it was not some fad type diet that you might read on the internet.
Now I am not a medical expert but as a coach, therapist and a liver disease patient I have come to understand what works and what does not when it comes to health.
My life depended on it and I quickly switched away from drinking piles of orange juice after I learned it probably contained more fermented alcohol than a low alcohol beer.
Never mind all the sugar.
But that is another story.
So why should you not just move to fruit juice instead of alcohol. Well cutting back on alcohol is a good idea but moving completely to fruit juice is not so it seems.
I put my investigative head on to find out more.
Were we sold a lie on fruit juice?
Maybe maybe not!
At one point I felt a bit of an outcast. I was drinking wine socially which by all accounts seemed to be low carb. So a big tick or so I thought and I would occasionally pick up a juicing book.
I thought I was missing something in keeping the weight off.
I imagined all these celebrities laughing at me sitting there with my glass of pinot thinking ha-ha idiot he should be drinking fruit juice!
However maybe we were both wrong. I certainly know alcohol nearly killed me just as a social wine drinker.
Wine with all its antibodies and its so -called ability to heal your heart is not the answer but it appears neither is downing tons of fruit juice every day either.
But I would hit the online book stores and read juicing books in case I was missing out on something. It seems every celebrity was making big money so they must be right?
Maybe I am being harsh on juicing!
But here is the thing, and I know this is not juicing per see but I drank pre-made fruit smoothies non-stop for over two weeks and my body just piled on the weight.
I felt terrible.
I had all that sugar in my system with no fibre and it wasn’t great.
I was having big sugar rushes followed by big lows. You know that feeling and you start to get irritated and brain fog that says something is not quite right.
Now the so-called sales of fruit juice and the all in one smoothie have gone down recently as it is becoming more linked to an increase in weight, diabetes and even tooth decay with the erosion of the enamel.
Of course this should not be a shock as we probably know the impact of sugar even more than alcohol. Its talked about much more nowadays.
However, we are all still curious about smoothies as more cookbooks and food websites shout about the value of them.
Any of course like anything they have their place.
Again I am not saying switching from alcohol to smoothies is bad per se but it does need some thought. It one of the reasons mocktails are great but they also need some caution as do many alcohol free drinks.
Alcohol free drink are not generally sugar free although there are some exceptions worth thinking about.
See I am not just aiming it at smoothies and fruit juices here!
However, from talking to some of the best personal trainers out there I am pretty sure drinking fruit juice or tons of alcohol won’t give you a six-pack!
In fact if you have a quick look on the Government website to do with health and food policy they have also started to be a bit more cautious on fruit juice.
Although I read the guidance that one glass of orange juice counts as one of your five a day! But then the advice is to stop!
So what is the issue and why can’t it be a full on alcohol alternative if cutting back or giving up alcohol completely?
It seems like fruit juice without the fibre and lots of it could be a problem!
And here’s the one big reason and it’s obvious really.
Its lack of fibre and drinking fruit juice like its water when clearly its not.
The same could be said for alcohol to be fair but maybe that is another story!
So if we are swapping alcohol for fruit juice and lots of it because it comes under the banner of alcohol free you are effectively just drinking sugar but with none of the benefits of fibre.
An apple a day may keep the Doctor away but not thousands of them without the skin.
Of course many fruit juice drinks also have sugar added so this really adds to the issue.
Crazy when you think about it, embarking on an alcohol free lifestyle only to be told too much juice is a no-no.
Without any of the other ingredients in say an apple then you are left with what is called by dietitians’ fructose which is only really processed by our liver.
If you are just coming off alcohol having been warned about your liver health this may sound a bit familiar. The liver is such a crucial organ.
So fibre is protecting us and also filling up our stomach. The best comparison I can think about in the alcohol world is drinking alcohol without any carbs in our system.
Having food in our stomach can slow down the release of alcohol into our blood system.
It’s often why alcohol can go straight to our head and why even the NHS in the UK says eat before you drink alcohol.
If we are drinking just pure fruit juice and maybe with added sugar it will spike your blood sugar content leading to a big crash later and of course the cycle continues.
No fibre and juice is similar to alcohol and drinking on an empty stomach.
Who would have thought it eh?
Some experts both challenge and support this view
I guess it depends on which camp you sit in so the nutritional or the juicing camp. And I can see both sides to be fair.
I have read quite a few books now on sugar and one expert that comes up a lot against lots of fruit juice is Dr Robert Lustig, author of Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar
He says “Calorie for calorie, fruit juice is worse for you than fizzy drinks. ’When you turn fruit into juice, you are losing the insoluble fibre, which is an essential nutrient and helps delay absorption of the sugar”
He goes on to address the issue of vitamins and says “Take the fibre away and you’re just drinking sugar and calories. There’s some vitamin C, but you would be better off taking a vitamin pill for that.’’
In fact if you research the British Medical Journal referenced 2013, it points to the fact that having whole fruit like apples for example could lower your risk of the terrible condition of type-2 diabetes.
But it does then reference more and goes onto say that if you start drinking more and more fruit juice you could increase your chance of falling foul of this awful condition that now affects millions around the world.
Of course what we don’t know is the balance of swapping alcohol for just juice.
But replacing one unhealthy option for another never works.
Public Health England continues to look into juice being recommended as 1 of your five a day but it seems one glass is fine but drinking lots and lots could lead to issues.
This of course is going to be true if it’s your total alcohol free alternative.
It appears even alcohol free beer and wine as alternatives could be better when it comes down to sugar content.
You can read about my recommended alcohol free wine here that certainly has fewer calories than your regular wine.
I checked the official guidelines very recently and it seems sensible that the advice is that a regular glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice is considered 1 of your 5-a-day.
However there is caution here!
It does say that is one glass and no more, so if you are in pub and downing lots of juice as part of your alcohol free lifestyle then that really goes against the principle, don’t you think?
As I pointed out earlier, even a glass of processed orange juice probably has more alcohol than a low alcohol beer or wine for example!
So the headline seems to be a glass of juice is really one portion of your 5 a day but its just one. We need our fibre.
It probably why juicing using all ingredients is better than just drinking the processed stuff. So maybe juicing has a place after all.
The British Dental Association have also stressed the fruit juice regardless can damage the enamel on your teeth so you need to follow their guidelines as it can really weaken your enamel leading to tooth decay.
Nothing is ever good news is it!
So if you are going to make a smoothie make sure you have plenty of fibre into the mix like nuts for example to slow down the absorption of the sugar.
Use blending if you can as you don’t lose all the other ingredients that most fruit and vegetables have over and above the sugar.
Fruit juice with added sugar is just a bit of a no-no it seems and that makes sense. As if the sugar in the fruit itself was not enough to be going on with!
Are mocktails a problem?
If you are cutting back alcohol or cutting out alcohol completely then mocktails could be considered a perfect choice.
Now if you go into a bar on a night out I will make a bet with you.
I bet there is more choice on the menu for mocktails rather than alcohol free beers and wine, even sparkling wines.
Why? Because they can be easy to make as fruit juice is used in cocktails but even more so where there is no alcohol involved so the taste need to be adjusted.
So mocktails can be great as one drink as part of a night out or home celebration but the same rules apply.
They are just juice based and of course are likely to have added sugar to supplement the lack of alcohol.
Now I am not knocking them and here is one tip that I really do recommend.
Look for mocktails that are alcohol free spirit or gin based. With the right low calorie mixer they can be almost calorie and sugar free.
They are a gift on the no sugar and no alcohol front and also fantastic if you are on a diet of some kind.
The content is well produced but not cheap and you know you are getting full on quality.
And I really do rate it despite the price and give it 10/10 for quality and choice.
So is fruit juice good for you?
Actually small quantities probably are OK, especially if it is a steady one glass alternative to alcohol.
Now to make it your chosen alcohol free go to drink either at home or when you are out is probably not a good idea on many levels for your teeth, blood sugar or your liver!
I would love to know if you have asked: Is fruit juice good for you? What do you think and have you made it your go to alcohol free alternative. I always respond to your comments and enjoy reading them!