From fad diets and expensive juicing machines to basic store-bought juices, many believe in misconceptions of the health benefits of fruit juices. The factual consensus is that the supposed benefits of fruit juice are not as great as they may seem.
The Washington Post explains that fruit juices, which are essentially just sweet water, do not provide health benefits even remotely comparable to consuming real fruits. Fruit juices omit the parts of the fruit that help us the most: the fibers, phytonutrients, and more.
The diminished fiber content of apple juice, as opposed to a whole apple, causes the body to respond with a spike in blood sugar, prompting the pancreas to release more insulin. Smaller insulin peaks are associated with better controlled blood sugar and more sensitivity to insulin, antagonizing type II diabetes. (Source)
In our gut, fiber promotes the maintenance of healthy blood glucose levels. Soluble fiber slows the rate of digestion which reduces hunger and decreases the speed at which sugar from carbohydrates are absorbed in the intestines, which prevents blood sugar spikes, insulin response overshoots, and long-term insulin insensitivity. As a result, fiber has been shown to improve resilience to type II diabetes. On the other hand, fruit juice may be correlated with childhood obesity. Especially in considering juices with added sugar, precautions should be taken when choosing which juices to drink and in what quantity.
Comparison of the dietary components of whole fruit to juice and soda derivatives. (Source)
The amount of nutrients in comparison to calories do not balance well; however, regular exercise can offset the calories, preventing most detrimental effects. Without exercise, people consuming lots of fruit juices are at higher risk of weight gain and insulin resistance. Hence, while fruit juice is often recommended as a supplement to real fruit, it is definitely not a replacement.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that fruit juice has no benefits whatsoever. Some juices can still be a supplemental source of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and have been associated with health benefits like improved hypertension. More of the beneficial components of fruit, like fiber, can be better preserved by blending instead of juicing.
The outcomes of juicing vs. blending show that blending can be a happy medium for those who prefer not to eat whole fruit, and prefer to obtain their intake via drinks. (Source)
Although the debate on juicing still goes on, there is a consensus that eating whole fruits is still a necessary component of a healthy diet that cannot be eradicated. Depending on activity level and other health factors, it is up to the individual to determine how much fruit juice intake is appropriate for them. In moderation, it is not a likely threat. So, “juice do it”!