Should You Drink Juice?

grape juice If you’re listening to anyone in the alternative health industry, fruit juice is loaded with sugar and if you drink it, you may as well be drinking soda.  Is it really “sugar water” as many are claiming, or is it healthy?

Many fruits are mostly water in the first place.  Apples, blueberries, and apricots all reign in at about 85 percent water.  And the juicy ones - watermelon, grapefruit and strawberries – are all above 90 percent water.

The rest?  Fiber and . . . (gasp) . . . sugar!

The fruit found in sugar is called fructose, otherwise known as fruit sugar.  And no, like most sugars, it is not the devil when ingested in moderation.

Consider the following:

  • A whole, large apple has 28 grams of carbohydrates, and about 100 grams of water.
  • One cup of apple juice has 28 grams of carbohydrates, and a little over 200 grams of water.

So is juice sugar water?  Technically yes – its water and carbohydrates.  But according to the above, an apple is even higher in carbohydrates relative to water content, but I don’t hear anyone running around calling apples “sugar bombs”.

Is apple juice all that bad?  If you only drink a cup of it, it isn’t that different than eating an apple. And there’s research suggesting that drinking apple juice can possibly improve your memory and decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s.

Grape juice isn’t much different.

A cup of grapes (151 grams of grapes) contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates, while one cup of grape juice (250 grams) contains almost 40 grams of carbohydrates.

That may sound like a lot of sugar and it can be, but there’s also a lot of nutrition in it.  Have you heard the health benefits of red wine?  Grape juice has just as many benefits to it according to research.

So when it comes to you or your kids, do you drink the juice or not?  If it is good clean juice and not loaded with a bunch of additives, go for it and enjoy it, in moderation. (Say it with me...M-O-D-E-R-A-T-I-O-N. Remember those little juice cups at Grandma's house? Use that as your barometer.) A cup or two a day is likely not going to cause anyone any problems and might even offer some health benefits.

If you feel guilty about it, water it down a little.  But kids have grown up drinking juice for generations.  As long as it is really juice, go for it.

(For the record, even a bunch of vegetables are mostly water.  Believe it or not, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers, and spinach are all the same percentage of water as watermelon.  Tired of chugging Evian all day?  Eat your veggies!)

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