This is an interesting question: Should I drink fruit juice or eat whole fruit?
With the popularity of juicing, juice fasts, and juice cleanses, no doubt you may be tempted to join the juice crusade. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of juice on a hot day?
Slow down! Before you go gung-ho with the juicing, there are a few things you need to know…
The Benefits of Fruit
When you eat a piece of fruit, there are a number of nutrients that you are getting:
- Vitamins — Fruits contain all sorts of awesome vitamins, which help to protect your body, fight infections, boost eye health, improve skin condition, and on and on the list goes. Almost all fruits are rich in vitamins, which is what makes them such a healthy food to eat.
- Fructose — Fructose is basically a natural form of sugar that is found in fruits. Have you ever noticed how dried fruit is very sweet? That’s because the fructose sugar crystals remain in the fruit as they are dried. While it is natural, fructose is still a form of sugar–something you DON’T want to eat too much of.
- Fiber — Fiber is the most important part of your fruits, as it helps to reduce sugar absorption, fight toxins, and lower cholesterol levels. You’ll find that fiber plays an important role in your life, particularly in terms of digestive health.
- Enzymes — All fruits contain special enzymes that will aid in the digestion of the fruits that you eat eating. When you eat fruits, you are providing your digestive tract with the acids and enzymes that it needs to digest all of the food you eat.
Now, when you eat a piece of whole fruit, you are consuming ALL of these things. After all, whole fruit is as natural as it gets. But what happens when you drink juice?
The Downside of Juice
Fruit juice is never completely natural, unless you’ve just made it yourself. If you buy juice in the supermarket, even the bottles that say 100% natural are never truly natural. This is due to the fact that juice HAS to be pasteurized in order to be sold in stores.
Pasteurization is a process in which the juice (and milk) is heated to a certain temperature, just hot enough to kill off all the bacteria and pathogens living in the juice. During the heating process, the enzymes and antioxidants are often killed off along with the harmful germs. The manufacturing companies enrich the juice with the antioxidants and vitamins, but it’s never quite the same.
Even if you were to make your own juice fresh every day, the friction of blending or juicing your fruit will kill off some of the enzymes and antioxidants. You’ll never quite get the same benefits from fruit juice as you would from whole pieces of fruit.
As an added drawback, juice contains almost NO fiber. Unless there is pulp in your juice, all juice is completely fiber-free. That means you are consuming A LOT of sugar (fructose, remember?), but with no fiber to prevent it from affecting your blood sugar levels. You can cause drastic blood sugar spikes and crashes by drinking just fruit juice, but that is NEVER the case when eating whole fruit.
Which is Better?
Seems pretty obvious by now, right? Whole fruit is always the way to go, as it’s the most natural, wholesome, complete form of fruit. While fruit juice may be tasty, it’s just not as healthy as a piece of fruit eaten in its original state.