PHOTO: modern-day fruits are bred for sweetness, not nutrients. Skip fruit juice, focus on whole form, low-glycemic fruits.

Fruit Juice: Friend or Foe?

Today’s nutritional tip is about fruit juice. Fruit juice has recently become popular, specifically because there’s a few people on the internet or even more so on infomercials, who are promoting juicers. There’s the Juice Master and there’s the Reboot Juice and countless detoxes and diets. However, fruit juice is a challenging one. Maybe 100 years ago fruit juice would have been a more healthful food, but these days fruit juice is very, very sweet and it’s very high in fructose.

What a lot of people don’t realize about fructose is it’s one of the more lipogenic foods on the planet, and what that means is it goes straight to your liver and it’s transformed into abdominal fat very quickly. It’s something you want to avoid. We want to minimize fructose in our diet. When you’re eating whole fruit people tend not to over eat fructose. To eat five apples in one sitting is very rare, most of us would get a really bad belly ache. But to drink five apples worth of apple juice is actually very easy. You could drink 10 or 12 without much notice, and it’s very lipogenic.

The challenge that I see is a lot of people are drinking fruit juice to try to lose weight. So they’re having orange juice in the morning, a big, giant 16 ounce apple juice, maybe adding a little bit of kale in there in the afternoon, and this is not going to help. It’s really, really not going to help. It’s a huge problem and it’s way too much sugar. The best kind of juices are green juices. If you’re using fruit juice you need to make sure it’s diluted. When I do juice cleansing, I’ll do a 4:1 ratio with water to juice if I’m using fruit juice. Even better is just to avoid fruit juice all together.

So why juice at all? Well the reason to juice is because a lot of people are really looking for more minerals. Vitamins are fairly abundant in both fruits and vegetables, but minerals specifically are hard to get, and you’ve got to eat a lot of vegetables to get them because our soils are depleted. And so soils are depleted, vegetables are depleted, you’ve got to eat more to get the same amount. Juicing greens is a great way to get minerals. So juicing your vegetables makes a lot of sense, juicing your fruits not so much. Use fruit as a little bit of a way to sweeten up your juices, but focus primarily on green vegetable juices. Celery and cucumber as your base, add some spinach, then if you get hardcore start adding in things like shard and mustard greens, parsley, and any other green that you like.