While fruit juice is often touted as a healthy alternative to flavored drinks like soda, it is important to have a clear understanding of just what fruit juice offers and what its drawbacks are. It is true that fruit juice has a high concentration of vitamins as well as antioxidants. However, there are a number of reasons to drink juice only in moderation. Here are five:
1. Humans process fruit differently than do animals.
Many animals, such as birds and orangutans, are natural fruit eaters. Their digestive systems are specially designed to permit the slow digestion of fruit, allowing the simple sugars in fruit to ferment into more complex carbohydrates. Thus, those animals metabolize the simple sugars.
Human digestive systems are different. We have a shorter colon, so the bacteria in our guts have not evolved for the slower digestive processes needed for a high-fruit diet. When human beings eat fruit, our digestive systems push the simple sugars directly into our blood stream.
2. Juicing strips the the natural fiber from fruit.
Nature has designed fruit so that the sugar is encased in walls of complex carbohydrate cellulose. With juicing, our bodies are flooded with simple sugar, which cases an imbalance in our intestinal bacteria to favor faster metabolizing microbes. Because of this, juice causes an imbalance in intestinal microbes, setting the stage for irritable bowel disease and “leaky gut syndrome.”
3. Juicing delivers an onslaught of sugar without the benefits of whole fruit.
Because sugar is soluble in liquid, a 12-ounce serving of orange juice contains up to 7 or 8 teaspoons of straight sugar. While it is true that orange juice is high in vitamin C, it is much healthier to get the vitamin C from a vegetable source.
4. There is so much sugar in fruit juice you might as well be drinking soda.
Sugar is sugar. The sugar in fruit is no healthier than the glucose added to soda. The sugar in fruit juice, like the sugar in soda, contributes to tooth decay, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cognitive decline.
5. Forgo the juice and go for whole fruit instead.
Leave the fruit juice to the birds and the orangutans. Humans should drink healthy water or tea, and enjoy two or three pieces of whole fruit each day.