Navigating the Juice Aisle
When walking around the supermarket, it’s hard to not notice the area for juices are growing. There are juices in the long life section, juices in the fridge and juices in the health food section too. With so much to choose from, it’s hard to know what you want to look out for when it comes to your weekly selection.
By no means am I saying that store brought juice is better than a freshly juiced juice, particularly that of a cold extraction machine, as it just isn’t. Fresh will always be better, and it’s another blog entirely discussing whole fruit vs. juicing, so I’m not going there either. This is just purely to give you a bit of an idea of what to be aware of when buying your juice each week, because let’s be honest, it’s not always easy to make your own fresh juice each day.
Sugar is a big problem for store brought juices. Make sure the ingredient list doesn’t say sugar, or it clearly says “no added sugar” on the packet. The fruit in the fruit juices are already naturally high in fructose, a form of sugar, so there is certainly no reason to add more to your diet. Even if it has no added sugar, you may find, different types of fruit juices are still quite high in sugar. Try adding some extra water to your juice before drinking it, this way you are diluting the sugar content but not missing out on that refreshing juice taste.
Another quick way to reduce the sugar in your brought juice is to choose a juice that is a combination of fruit and vegetables. Vegetables are generally a lot lower in sugar, so if your juice is a no added sugar juice, with a decent amount of vegetables in the mix, there is going to be less sugar to start out with and therefore less sugar available for you to consume.
Don’t fall for the “fruit drink” trick either. If it says fruit drink, it’s not a juice for you because its’ not technically juice anymore. This again comes back to reading your labels and checking your ingredients, most of these products contain only small amounts of real juice. The main ingredients are usually water and some type of sugar, such as high-fructose corn syrup.
Opt for cloudy juices with visible sediment at the bottom of the bottle. The cloudier the juice, the more skin, pulp, and seeds it contains. For example, a glass of pulpy orange juice packs a stronger nutritional punch than a glass of clear apple juice, so don’t be too afraid of “floaties”.
If possible choose a juice in a bottle that isn’t clear, as light getting through to the juice can lead to oxidation, which is not something you want your healthy juice exposed to. Oxidation is responsible for turning your apple brown after cutting or biting into it, but did you know it is also responsible for significant reduction in vitamins and minerals as they are particularly prone to the chemical reaction of oxidisation.
Choose a super food juice where possible; goji, pomegranate, acai and noni are all substantially higher in nutrients, which means what you are consuming each day really is giving you your money’s worth. Just again read your labels, if a juice has listed something like acai on the front, they will have a percentage after the ingredient in the ingredient list. This tells you exactly how much of that juice is actually acai. Some companies can have as little as 0.05% of the super food, but so long as it’s in the product, they can list it on the front, so don’t be fooled.
The key thing to remember when looking for your juices is to read your ingredient list; this can be the difference between a sugar laden cheap substitute and something that is actually worth drinking for your health like a pure pomegranate juice.