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.

Fruit Juice can lead to excess weight

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.

People often choose fad diets after cutting back on alcohol

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.

You can read how much alcohol in orange juice here.

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!

Smoothies are full of sugar

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.

Whole Fruit has Fibre

 

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.

Seedlip Gin is a good alcohol free option

Alcohol free drink are not generally sugar free although there are some exceptions worth thinking about.

Read my review of why seedlip alcohol free gin could be good for our hips

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.

fructose and the 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.

Alcohol and an Empty Stomach

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.

should you swap alcohol for fruit juice ?

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.

Vegetable Juice as part 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.

Sugar and your teeth

 

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.

Mocktails Can Be Full of Sugar

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.

My recommendation is Seedlip and you can read my review of it here

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!

 

 

8 thoughts on “Is fruit juice good for you ?”

  1. Thank you so much for this informative article of fruit juice. I have always been ensure on whether it’s good for us because of the sugar that is in fruit. I know that it is natural, but I still have my doubts about sugar. My friends have had diabetes in the avoid it so I kind of feel like avoiding it sometimes too. Thank you so much for this info

    Reply
    • Hi Misael, thanks so much for your comment on is fruit juice good for you? 

      Its really appreciated. I do think fruit did become the holy grail of health and as you say its has many drawbacks because of the high sugar content. 

      It all about balance but drinking lots of it as a healthy alternative is probably not a good idea. Thanks so much for your interest in the article. I really value your feedback and your contribution. Much appreciated, Phil

      Reply
  2. Being someone who is very sensitive when it comes to my diet I see this article as perfect when it comes to explaining how important not only balance is when consuming anything but tells how too much of one thing is bad for the body. I love how everything in the article was explained with its own sort of detail. For anyone who is looking to learn a thing or two about what are the best things to drink I would highly recommend reading this especially if you are someone who leans too much on the side of one set of drinks in particular. 

    Reply
    • Hi Sutherland, thanks so much for your kind comments on is fruit juice good for you. 

      Its always great to know that the article was useful on some level and it sounds and feels like it was for you personally, that is great! 

      The one word you mention is balance and I think you have hit the nail on the head. Thanks so much for taking time out to comment, it is really appreciated, Phil

      Reply
  3. I don’t have any alcohol problems or any sort of cravings for unhealthy foods. I am very strong minded. I am against any unnatural sugary foods. I would rather stuff myself with lots of whole vegetables and whole fruits than just juicing them. I don’t see the benefits of juicing them when taking out the fibers which are very important for the body. I would rather drink water or honey(organic) water when exercising than any fruit juices. I was surprised to learn that a glass of processed orange juice has more alcohol than low alcohol beer or wine. I will pass this info on to family members who love to chug juices down like it’s water.
    I also want to point out that the part where you’ve noted that wine is good for the heart has some truth to it. But what these advocates for wine drinking don’t tell you is that it’s not the wine it’s self, but it’s the resveratrol that is the key ingredients in wine that is healthy. So drinking wine is like smoking and exercising while thinking you’re actually healthy. Alcohol shrinks the brain over time and that can cause cognitive and age related problems including other health issues later in life like liver diseases as you’ve written here. Sugar, alcohol, unhealthy fats, and processed foods will destroy the body. I am staying clear from them.

    Reply
    • Hi John, a great comment and of course my heart comment was to point out the its the antioxidents that really help us not the alcohol itself so its an an excellent shout out. I do think as you say people see fruit juices as the be all and end all but of course they are not and you really flag this well. 

      Too much sugar is never a good thing.

      Wow you have covered a lots of ground here on is fruit juice good for you and I really do value all the time and effort that you put into your comment. All the best and thanks for stopping by. An excellent contribution. Phil

      Reply
  4. I always had my doubts about fruit juice. If you squeeze fresh oranges and put it in the fridge the out come is completely different from what we see in the juice boxes. Thanks for this post, it is very helpful and informative. I’ll just stay with smoothies and water. 

    Reply
    • Hi Juliet, totally spot on there,  I think there is a big difference to freshly squeezed fruit juice compared to manufactured juice. The fibre is key. What a spot on comment and thanks so much for reading and getting involved. 

      Your advice is spot on I would say. All the best and I appreciate you stopping by on is fruit juice good for you ? All the very best, Phil

      Reply

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