Monday, April 19, 2010

The Unfortunate Truth about Fruit Juice!

Fruit juices and regular sodas can really stand between you and weight loss. Most of you are probably not surprised to hear that about sodas; however, how many of you were surprised to see fruit juices in that sentence? Here are some reasons why you’re better off crossing fruit juice from your grocery list.

Fruit juices…

1. are high in sugar. Even the juices with no added sugar still contain plenty of natural sugar. Have you ever made fresh squeezed orange juice? Think of how many oranges it takes to make a glass of juice. So, even if you don’t add sugar, you’re still getting several oranges worth of sugar.

2. lack fiber. Without the skin of the apple, pulp of the orange, and so on, you are missing out on all of the heart-healthy fiber found in a piece of fruit.

3. lack nutrients. Sure, manufacturers fortify fruit juices with vitamins and minerals, but those will never be the same as the natural form. In addition, you are missing out on many phytochemicals that are found in the whole fruit.

4. are high in calories. This leads to weight gain or the inability to lose weight. Four ounces of orange juice, although not the best choice, won’t kill you. However, if you’re drinking a lot of fruit juice, or some in addition to sodas and sweet teas, then those calories will really add up!

5. contribute to failure-to-thrive in very young children when fruit juice is consumed in excess. Sometimes, children will fill up on fruit juices and have no room left in their tiny tummies for nutrient dense foods. This is tragic and I’ve seen it happen many times!

6. contribute to cavities. All of that sugar isn’t good for your teeth!

7. will raise your blood sugar. For those of you who are diabetic, hopefully this caught your eye. Yes, anything with carbohydrate raises your blood sugar; however, sugar in fruit juice with no fiber, fat, or protein, will raise your blood sugar more rapidly.


  1. Eat the whole fruit---skip the juice. That's my motto, with one exception. I like a little V-8 now and then.

  2. Agree w/ Gramm-E about eating the whole fruit instead. You can buy a LOT of bananas for the cost of a carton of juice.

  3. I guess I should add that I realize V-8 is vegetable juice...and I don't drink V-8 Fusion.

  4. I am amazed at the people that feed their kids fruit juice in the name of giving them a healthy drink! We have to work on getting our kids to eat before they fill up on their favorite milk drink. Some days, I feed them their lunch and "forget" to put the drink on the table until they are almost finished eating. That works pretty well.

  5. Erin'sMom: Great points! I knew what you meant, but thanks for clearing that up for other readers. V-8 Juice is perfectly fine, but those who are watching their sodium intake should opt for a low sodium alternative. V-8 Fusion, as you mentioned, is just as much of an offender as other fruit juices.

    Busy-Dad-E: So true, bananas are dirt cheap! We almost always have bananas at our house! I love a cheap piece of produce!

    Statmom: Very true. Unfortunately, many people really just don't realize that fruit juice isn't really a healthy item for children or anyone. Many people are shocked when I tell them this. When I was younger, I also thought it was a healthy thing to drink. Many daycares offer fruit juice daily to children, and I hope this will change as education increases. That is a good idea about offering food before flavored milks!


    I really like your blog!!

    Common Cents

    ps. Link Exchange??

  7. Dear Erin,

    On behalf of the Florida Department of Citrus, please allow me to share further information.

    Many Americans find it difficult to meet their daily fruit and vegetable serving requirements, and orange juice is a convenient and healthy way to get essential vitamins and nutrients to support good health. Just one 8-ounce glass counts as almost 25 percent of your USDA-recommended daily fruit and vegetable servings, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

    A comprehensive review of studies regarding 100 percent fruit juice intake and increased weight in children and adolescents reported that the preponderance of evidence does not support such an association. In fact, this review suggested that consuming 100 percent fruit juice in moderate amounts “may be an important strategy to help children meet the current recommendations for fruit.”

    While it is true that the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that the majority of fruit choices should be whole fruit, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee did recognize the nutritional value of including 100 percent fruit juice in the diet for providing nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and potassium. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Food Science reported that 100 percent orange juice was more nutrient-dense than many commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices, such as apple, grape, pineapple and prune .

    You can find more information at

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Karen Mathis
    Florida Department of Citrus

  8. Ms Mathis:
    Thank you for your response. I do agree that children and adults can get many nutrients from fruit juices. However, fruit juices are often fortified, and, with the exception of folic acid, vitamins and minerals are better absorbed in their natural form. We definitely have a problem in America with children and adults not meeting their daily requirements for fruits and vegetables. Regardless, I recommend aiming for that quota rather than trying to make up for it with juices and supplements. It is always better to get nutrients from the whole fruit rather than the juice. Obviously I don't need to repeat the reasons that I already listed in this post.

    Although fruit juices do often provide more calories than a piece of fruit, I referred to fruit juices contributing to failure to thrive in children. This means that children are not growing or gaining enough weight to follow a healthy trend on the growth curve. I have seen this many times in practice. Children who drink excessive amounts of fruit juice often neglect whole foods; therefore, they do not get enough protein and fat in their diet. This is a really unfortunate problem. Please note that I am not fully blaming fruit juices for this issue, but it most certainly contributes.

    Lastly, I wanted to reiterate the issue that fruit juices raise blood sugar rapidly. This is very troublesome for diabetics whether they are children or adults.

    I do not feel that a 4oz glass of juice will be detrimental to most people; however, we do not live in a society where we have small portions. Many people fill a 12-16oz glass and then have soda and sweet tea throughout the day. Some children drink juice throughout the entire day. Excessive juice drinking is the problem.

    Although I know that my son will eventually have a taste of fruit juice when he is at a friend's house, a birthday party, or school. However, I am raising him to enjoy water and milk. With this foundation, it is my hope that he will will choose those beverages most often.

    Again, thank you so much for offering your perspective on my blog!

  9. I agree! I as a diabetes educator the first thing i tell my patients is to cut out all sugary drinks...including fruit juice.

    Juice is full of calories and quick acting carbs. Just 4oz can raise a blood sugar 30 to 50 points in 15 minutes! Juice is reserved for low blood sugars only!!

    Thanks Erin for helping to educate on the hidden "dangers" of juice.

    Amy Landing, RD, CDE