Yes, juice is naturalish, in the sense that you make it by squeezing a piece of fruit to extract juice. However, juice absent of its natural covering, i.e., the fruit, can quickly become a high-sugar, insulin-spiking beverage that doesn’t satiate as well as eating the actual fruit.
Additionally, in all of our six years of travel to more than 135 countries, we never witnessed a remote group of tribe that woke up and enjoyed a tall glass of juice for breakfast. Fruit- yes; coconut water- yes; freshly squeezed exotic Amazon or Tibetan fruit juice- no. While a glass of your favorite juice now and again is not the end of the world, we urge you instead to consume your fruits whole. This will moderate your overall amount of sugar ingestion and maximize micronutrient intake. Remember, local seasonal fruits are best because they have traveled the least distance.
If you still feel that breakfast wouldn’t be the same without that tall glass of juice to wash it down, here are some guidelines to help you identify which juices are the most judicious. The gold standard for juice is to be labeled “100 percent juice”. However, don’t be misled by this first class promise, either, because while the beverage may be from pure juice, there is no guarantee that it isn’t watered down, or that citric acid or artificial flavors or colors have not been added in. It is time to divide and conquer again, as it is only by reading the ingredients that you will see what has been mixed in to the 100 percent pure juice.
Now, it may surprise you to learn that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “about 98 percent of all juices sold in the United States are pasteurized.” Hey, wait a second- an EMD just snuck into the carton of juice! Juice is pasteurized the same way milk is pasteurized and for the same reasons, meaning that your store bought juice has undergone the same micronutrient depleting heat treatment as your milk in order to extend its shelf life. This is true for all juices, including concentrates. And if you have always wondered the difference between juices labeled “not from concentrate” and those “from concentrates”, here’s the deal. Juices that are “from concentrates” often cost less, as they save manufacturers money. Concentrating entails that the water be removed from the juice. This ensures that producers have less waste and can freeze what they cannot immediately sell. By removing the water, this concentrated juice can be inexpensively shipped around the world, further advancing their profits. When the water is removed, what remains is “concentrated” fruit sugar. A carton of “juice from concentrate” contains fresh water that has been added to that concentrated fruit sugar. Voila! You have more processed, less natural, higher margin juice.
To find our choices for the best options in the juice aisle, and the refrigerated juice section grab a copy of Rich Food Poor Food.