After targeting noteworthy culprits like fast food, pastries and soda for the past decade, the war on obesity has moved onto a less-than-obvious enemy—fruit juice.
For those trying to lose weight in Scottsdale and Chandler, the third segment of the HBO documentary series The Weight of the Nation and numerous recent studies reveal that fruit juice really isn’t a healthier alternative to soda and other sugary drinks.
Despite the seemingly healthy disguise, be warned—fruit juice is soda’s evil twin.
Despite soda’s long-time reign, the fastest growing marketing sector for big beverage companies today is “fruit drinks,” and parents and children are the new favorite target. One obesity expert believes fruit juice is just like soda—consuming these sugar-sweetened drinks not only contributes to the nation’s epidemic but also accounts for more added sugar in our children’s daily diet than any other food.
Regardless of the fact that fruit is a healthy part of any daily diet, when you just squeeze the juice from the fruit you leave the only healthy, fibrous part behind. The key difference between fruit juice and fruit is that calories and sugar delivered in liquid form don’t trigger feelings of fullness and can potentially lead to excess consumption.
Fruit Juice and Obesity
Though several studies show obvious correlations between increased fruit juice consumption and increased risk of obesity and diabetes, there are no studies that show the opposite or that drinking fruit juice has positive health benefits on weight and diabetes.
One-hundred percent fruit juice or not, fruit-juice beverages can contain as much sugar as a regular soda. How is this possible? Most commercial fruit juice is typically derived from concentrates. This often results in higher sugar content than if the juice was squeezed directly from a piece of fruit. However, critics still argue these claims, saying that some fruit juice provides consumers with their daily recommended allowance of essential vitamins. Though this may be true in some cases, the sugar content of such drinks is on-par with that of a soda, and you can easily get these same vitamins in whole fruit or as a multivitamin.
Don’t drink it, eat it.
Medical weight loss patients need to think twice before drinking their daily fruit allowance instead of eating it. If you need a little more motivation, here are some scary sugary drink facts that big beverage companies may not want you to know:
- The 16 most sugary drinks on the market today are all fruit drinks—not sodas.
- The majority of fruit drinks contain only 10 percent real fruit juice.
- According to the FDA, any drink can be labeled a “fruit drink” as long as it has some fruit juice in it—even if it’s less than one percent.
- Just eight ounces of the popular fruit drink Minute Maid Cranberry contains 150 calories. The same amount of regular Coca-Cola only contains 97 calories. To put this in perspective, one deep-fried chicken leg contains 115 calories.
Whether they contain “fruit” juice or not, avoid high calorie fruit drinks when you’re trying to lose weight. If you’re thirsty, drink the best thing there is for you—water. For children in particular, water and low fat milk are the best beverages. If you’re having trouble cutting out unhealthy sugary drinks such as soda and fruit juice from your diet, speak with Dr. Primack and Dr. Ziltzer for support.