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Fruit Juice: Thirsty for Information?

Orange juice, fresh juice, cold-pressed juice, juice from concentrate, apple juice, juice smoothie, fruit cocktail… fruit juices are all the rage these days.

There are so many tempting options out there, in fact, that it can be difficult to even choose! So what’s the difference between 100% juice, concentrated juice and a fruit drink? How do you choose between one type of fruit juice and another, and which ones are the healthiest?

By definition, a fruit juice comes from pressing healthy, ripe and non-fermented fruit. However, some manufacturers add a few additives that can alter the juice’s composition and nutritional value. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the three main categories of juice.

100% juice

100% juice cannot contain any additives. It is obtained by pressing the fruit before being pasteurized and packaged. It therefore contains only fruit juice without any added sugar or preservatives, which makes it a better choice in terms of nutritional value. Its vitamin content is lower, however, than that of the fruit itself, and it contains very little fibre. This means it is much less filling compared to eating a “real fruit,” which takes up much more space in the stomach.

Juice from concentrate

This type of juice is reconstituted from fruit concentrates. The fruit is first partially dried before packaging (to make transporting it easier), and then reconstituted by adding the same amount of water that was removed during the dehydrating process. Fruit juice “from concentrate” is therefore just as nutritious as “not from concentrate” juice. However, “not from concentrate” juice retains more of the natural flavour and taste of the actual fruit.

Fruit drinks

Fruit drinks contain either fruit juice or puree as well as water and sugar. A glance at the list of ingredients will tell you that the main ingredient is water, followed by glucose-fructose (added sugar) and lastly, concentrated juice (roughly 12%). Not surprisingly, fruit drinks are the least recommended option because of the amount of added sugar they contain.

True or false ?

Drinking a glass of juice is the same as eating a fruit.

False. Unlike fruit, fruit juice contains no fibre. What’s more, it contains fewer vitamins than a whole fruit.

An orange juice with pulp contains more fibre than a no-pulp version. 

False. This is simply a matter of taste, since the pulp is not a source of fibre.

You should drink no more than 250 ml (1 cup) of juice a day.

True. Drinking anywhere from 125 ml to 250 ml of juice per day is more than sufficient. Whether it’s 100% pure or freshly pressed, fruit juice contains lots of sugar and very little fibre. For reference purposes, 250 ml of orange juice contains twice as many calories and sugar than eating one orange, and four times less fibre.

The average Canadian drinks nearly 25 litres of juice each year. Many people believe that there’s nothing healthier than drinking natural fruit juice, but keep in mind that juice does not contain any fibre, which means it won’t be satisfying. When you’re a little hungry, it’s always better to eat a piece of fruit. And when you’re thirsty, a glass of water is always the best way to quench your thirst because it contains zero sugar, calories or additives.

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