It sounds like a good idea – grabbing a bottle of 100 percent juice – and downing 3 or 4 servings of fruit in one sitting. Based on the simple observation that grocery store and convenience store shelves are filled with these new 100% fruit juice concoctions, I’m guessing a lot of people are drinking them. The green colored ones made with barley grass, wheat grass, spinach, and kale seem especially trendy right now.
What’s Does 100 Percent Juice Mean?
Juice that’s labeled “100 percent” simply means that there’s no added sugar or sweeteners – it’s just the juice of fruits. I picked up a 15.2 ounce bottle that also contained mostly pineapple and apple juice, plus some wheat grass, broccoli, and spinach to give it that green color. But since those vegetable ingredients are low on the list, there’s probably not much. If you didn’t know, ingredients are listed from the most to the least, in terms of the amounts added.
What’s So Good About 100 Percent Juice?
Fruits and vegetables have more vitamins and minerals than soda or juice “cocktails” (juices with added sugars). So, for some people, drinking 100 percent juice is a convenient way to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. For example, my elderly mom has lost her appetite and has lost too much weight – and is drinking it to increase her daily calorie intake. Here are three reasons you may want to leave these drinks on the shelf (besides saving money).
1. They’re Loaded in Calories
Most bottles of 100 percent juice, thought they might look like a single serving, often contain two or more servings. So, while “one serving” contains 130 calories, drinking the whole bottle will give you around 250 calories for a 16 oz drink. That’s as much as a chocolate frosted doughnut. Another way of looking at it, is that this drink provides, for many women, about 1/6 of their total daily calories. And, did it fill you up? (see #3 below)
2. These Drinks are Just about Pure Carbs
Sure, go ahead and call them “healthy carbs,” if it makes you happy, but remember, this is a “juice”. Juices have had most of the fiber strained from the drink. In addition, fruits are naturally low in fat and protein.
That means, if you’re drinking it outside of meal time, 100 percent drinks are High Glycemic (GI). In other words, there’s nothing to slow down the absorption. All of those 60 grams of carbohydrates will quickly enter your blood stream. No differently than if you downed a medium sized soda at the fast food restaurant….and you know that’s not healthy, right? Especially, if you have issues with high blood glucose or diabetes. Hey, if you just finished a long, intense workout, and you want to rebuild your glycogen stores, drinking your green juice might be an efficient way. But, did you? If you want to learn more about the glycemic index, watch my video https://youtu.be/S5_3XenRKZI?list=PLSYjHrkkvKKxH8iOTBewtAT2EcUJRHvKm.
3. Beverages Don’t Fill Us Up
There’s nothing wrong with having 250 calories at a time, even as a snack…if it satisfies your hunger. But, what if you drink that 250 calorie drink…and then still eat what you normally would at the next meal? That could be a problem if you struggle with your weight. And, unfortunately, that’s what seems to happen when we drink high glycemic beverages, like soda and 100 percent juice. They do not fill us up…certainly not in the same way as if we were to eat all the whole fruits and vegetables that have been blended in the drink.
Think about this…the bottle I picked up containsed the juice of one apple, 1/3 pineapple, one mango, half banana, and half kiwi. Could you EAT all of those fresh fruits in one sitting? I couldn’t – and I’m guessing you couldn’t either. And, yet, it’s easy to down the same number of calories in this drink. Chewing our food fills us more than drinking it.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommends limiting 100 percent juice for our kids (none for infants under one year of age). The statement reads, “high sugar content in juice contributes to increased calorie consumption…” Diarrhea in toddlers also improves with removal of juice.
The Bottom Line for 100 Percent Juice
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends a minimum of 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day for women and 2 cups for men.
It’s preferable to eat the whole fruit and vegetables – especially if excess weight is a concern. But 8 oz (or one cup) 100 percent fruit juice can count as one of your fruit servings. Remember, the 15.2 oz drink featured in the picture above contains two servings. One serving is also HALF of a 20oz (small) vegetable/fruit blend at your local smoothie bar.