A friend of mine received a very interesting memo from her son's school the other day. Water was not to be packed for snack or lunch anymore. Water is not a source of nutrients, only 100% juice will be allowed. Somewhere between laughing from the absurdity and contemplating a call to the school board I realized we are so inundated with "healthy information" we have thrown common sense out the window. Are people really so confused they believe juice is essential? Or even scarier that water is bad for us? Let's set the record straight.....
Juicing collects a concentrated amount of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidents. The most common nutrients found in juice are vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Some juices will even be fortified with additional nutrients like calcium and vitamin D which is an added benefit. Unfortunately many other vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidents, and phytonutrients found in the skin of fruits and vegetables are left behind. This is why it is so beneficial to balance between juice and whole produce as part of a healthy diet.
Technically juicing is a type of processing and can degrade the nutrients extracted from the fruit or vegetable. Without a protective skin the juice is more likely to loose nutritional value the longer it sits. It is best to drink your juice fresh than storing it for days at a time.
Many Internet claims suggest juice is better absorbed from the lack of fiber, reduces cancer risks, boosts immunity, and aids in weight loss. It is important to note most Internet claims are not substantiated with scientific evidence-based research which takes years to establish. It is also important to note whether juiced or whole....fruits and vegetables are great for you and have amazing health benefits to prevent chronic disease! Just don't follow fads, look for solid truth.
Juice is a concentrated source of calories and natural sugar. Typically juice will be higher in calories and will not fill you up as much as a whole fruit. (Think about which would fill you up more: 1 orange or 1/2 cup of orange juice?) If you are trying to loose weight this is important to keep in mind. The fiber in an orange will leave you more satisfied on fewer calories.
Maybe you are looking to cut down on fiber. Juice can be a good alternative to whole fruits and vegetables while maintaining a good intake of vitamins and minerals. This is especially helpful to my marathon and triathlon clients before a big race.
Kids do not NEED juice! Kids do need regular sources of fruits and vegetables. If your kids will not eat whole fruits and vegetables than juice is a good alternative to get more nutrients into their diet. It is important to drink juice in moderation since it can lead to tooth decay, obesity, and displace other essential nutrients. It is best to limit juice to 4-6oz/day in kids 1-6 years old, and 8-12oz/day for older kids and adults.
Juice can quickly raise blood sugar levels. This can be helpful if your blood sugar is low, but could quickly lead to sugar crashes similar to eating a candy bar. Drinking juice with a meal that includes some protein, fat, or fiber will help slow the absorption and limit the effect juice has on your blood sugar levels.
Last but not least..........
We do not NEED calories 24/7. The human body amazingly stores nutrients and allows us to go many hours without taking in calories while still managing to running efficiently. In fact, constantly taking in calories throughout the day can cause kids to be less hungry at meals for important nutrients like protein and healthy fat. It can also lead to weight gain, obesity, and tooth decay.
Water aids in digestion, prevents constipation, transporting nutrients, regulates body temperature, maintains electrolyte balance, and is involved in almost every bodily process. Fluoridated water prevents tooth decay and is especially important for kids. Water is an essential non-caloric nutrient needed for life. While juice contains some water, vitamins, and minerals it is not a replacement for water...nothing is a replacement for water. Juice does have a place in a healthy diet when consumed in moderation, and can be a substitute for some fruits and vegetables in our diet...not a substitute for water. Just like all things in life.....use common sense and keep everything in moderation!