Fruit – it’s loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre that can help fight disease, boost your immune system, and allow your body to perform at its best. Reaching for fruit juice seems like a speedy way to get all the goodness of fruit in a glass, right? Let’s take a closer look …
A trip down the juice aisle at the grocery store reveals a world of options! “Fruit juice”, “fruit drink”, “fruit beverage”, “fruit cocktail” … so what’s in a name?
Canada's Food Guide provides examples of fruits and vegetables that are part of a healthy diet. It includes 100 per cent fruit juice as an option. To be labeled as “fruit juice”, a product must be 100 per cent fruit juice. Fruit “drinks”, “beverages”, or “cocktails” on the other hand may contain only a small amount of real fruit juice along with added sugars. Check out this Guide to Sugars to learn more about natural versus added sugars.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has new guidelines on sugar intake for children and adults. WHO advises keeping added sugars and sugar from fruit juice below 50 g (12.5 tsp) each day. The sugar in a 355 ml can of fruit juice adds up to more than half of this. Health Canada says that a serving of fruit juice is 125 mL (1/2 cup); having more than this could add too much sugar to your diet, depending on what else you are eating.
The Not-so-sweet Side of Fruit Juice
Fruit juice contains about 32 grams (8 tsp) of sugar per 355 mL. That’s only slightly less than the 41 grams (10 tsp) of sugar found in a can of pop. While juice is more nutritious than pop, your body treats the sugars in the same way. It takes about three medium oranges to produce just 250 mL (1 cup) of orange juice. When squeezed into a glass, you get all the sugar found in three oranges, but none of the filling fibre.
Too much sugar can contribute excess energy (calories) to your diet leading to weight gain. Fruit juice is also high in acid that can cause tooth decay. Find out how much sugar is in your favourite drinks by checking out this tool.
To Drink or Not to Drink Juice?
- It’s better to eat your calories than to drink them. Choose whole fruits and vegetables more often than juice.
- Water is the best choice to satisfy thirst. It’s a calorie and sugar free way to stay hydrated, energized and alert.
- If you drink juice, remember, less is best!
- Babies – juice is not recommended for babies 0 – 6 months
- Children – offer no more than 125 mL (1/2 cup). For dental health, fruit juice is best taken with meals rather than between meals.
- Teens and adults – have no more than 250 mL (1 cup) each day
The bottom line: Although fruit juice contains many of the nutrients found in whole fruits, it is high in sugar. When it comes to fruit juice, less is best!