Sugar Content in Fruit Juice (& Dried Fruit) – Healthy or Not?

 

How does Fruit Juice (& Dried Fruit) Compare to Fresh Fruit - Is the Sugar Content Too High to be considered Healthy

Is the sugar content in fruit juice (& dried fruit) too high to be considered healthy? Here we will reveal how fruit juice & dried fruit compares to eating fruit fresh and why you should be wary about how much you are consuming

 

Is Fruit Juice Healthy?

Many fruit juices available for purchase today contain not only the ‘natural sugars’ from the fruit itself, but also have a lot of sugars added to them

Commercial Fruit Juice:

  • contain lots of added sugars – some contain quantities that are even higher than in coke
  • does not have the same amount of fiber you would normally find in a piece of fruit – most contain little to no fiber
  • does do contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh fruit – due to processing
  • can have other additives, colourings & preservatives
  • some may not even contain any remnants of the fruit at all – like with fruit concentrate & cordials

 

While some ‘freshly squeezed’ fruit juices sold can be healthier, you are much better off drinking water to hydrate yourself and eat the fruit fresh. When drinking freshly squeezed fruit juice, it is not hard to imagine how easy it can be to consume it in large quantities. After all, you are essentially consuming fruit sugar in a beverage form. Whilst fruit sugars (fructose) are healthier than refined sugars, sugar is still sugar, so eating too many fruits (or juice) can still add up the calories you are taking in

 

Reasons to Limit Fruit Juice Intake

Here are the reasons why you should limit fruit juice consumption:

  • can easily contribute to excess energy (calorie) intake – sugary drinks, such as fruit juices, are associated with excess weight gain
  • contains high amounts of added ‘refined’ sugars – can contribute to weight gain and tooth erosion & decay
  • lacks fiber (& sometimes also vitamins and minerals too) – does not usually contribute to feeling full
  • consuming sugary drinks has been associated with reduced bone strength

Sugary drinks can cause significant health problems if consumed in large amounts. Drink plenty of water instead. Many people may believe that because fruit contains ‘natural sugars’ they can eat or drink as much as they want. It is easy to be misled in to believing that drinking fruit juice is a healthy choice

 

A Better Alternative to Fruit Juice

A great low calorie alternative is known as the “Green Drink” or “Green Juice” which usually contains green apples, leafy greens, lemons, ginger, cucumber and carrots, celery or broccoli. There has been a growing trend in juicing for health, with many buying juicers/blenders to make their own healthy juices. Adding more vegetables lowers the sugar content and provides a healthier balance of nutrients to keep energy levels consistent. However, there are some important things to consider. This was discussed in this post.

 

Tips to Reduce Fruit Juice Consumption

  • If you choose to drink fruit juice, drink in very small amounts or dilute fruit juice with water
  • To satisfy a sweet craving, reach for some fresh fruit instead
  • Drink water instead of fruit juice

 

What About Dried Fruit? Is Eating Dried Fruit Healthy?

Dried fruit is just fresh fruit with the water removed. In fact, dehydrating fruit can cause come nutrients to become even more concentrated. For example, dried cranberries, grapes (raisons) and plums (prunes) are twice as potent as those in the fresh fruits. Keep in mind though, that dried fruits are a fraction of the size of fresh fruits but pack the same number of calories and sugar. It is very easy to overeat on these little guys

How does Fruit Juice (& Dried Fruit) Compare to Fresh Fruit - Is the Sugar Content in Dried Fruit Healthy

Benefits of Dried Fruits

Dried fruits provide:

  • Natural sugars for energy
  • Fibre for Fullness
  • Tonnes of beneficial nutrients, including disease fighting antioxidants

Including dried fruits in your diet has many other health benefits too

1. Normalizes blood sugar levels

Slows absorption of glucose following a meal. the soluble fiber promotes a sense of satisfied fullness, preventing overeating and weigh gain

2. Help to maintain a healthy colon

Decreases the transit time of fecal matter which decreases the risk of colon cancer

3. Increases the absorption of iron into the body

4. Can help improve memory

Especially blueberries either fresh, dried or in juice form have been shown to not only improve memory but slow down the onset of other cognitive problems

5. Anti-cancer benefits

Initial research is showing that blueberries have anti-caner benefits in regards to breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer and cancer of the small intestine

6. High counts of unique phytonutrients

Damage-preventing substances (neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid) neutralise the dangerous oxygen radical called superoxide anion radical

7. Eye health

Help protect the retina from oxygen damage and sunlight

 

Some Tips

1. Have small quantities of dried fruit at a time – because the water has been taken out, it is not as easy to become full, compared to if you ate the fruit fresh

2. Consume dried fruits with raw, unsalted nuts & seeds to add some healthy fats & protein to the mix

3. When buying dried fruits, check that only fruit is listed on the ingredient list, with no added sugars or preservatives

4. It is usually cheaper to buy dried fruit in individual packets in the ‘baking section’ of the supermarket than from the ‘bulk’ or ‘health food’ sections. Take some time to compare prices, you will be saving lots of money in the long run

 

Bottom Line

Fruit contains ‘natural’ sugars, but having too much can add up calorie intake very quickly

Fruit juice contains, not only natural sugar from the fruit but also high amounts of added sugars. Most commercially sold fruit juices have little to no fiber & the nutrient content may not be the same as the original fruits

Dried fruit, on the other hand, contains only it’s natural sugars, fiber and can provide more concentrated sources of nutrients. However, be sure to eat these in small amounts. Dried fruit is a great snack that can give you a burst of energy and provides many health benefits. Eating dried fruit is a much healthier alternative to fruit juice or other sugary treats

Do keep in mind though that it is easy to overindulge with fruit juice and dried fruit, but not as easy to overeat with fresh fruit. Eat a combination of fresh and dried fruits for variety and limit your fruit juice consumption

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