Monday, 19 May 2008

Is juice good for you?

I've just commented on a post over at http://modernforager.blogspot.com/2007/09/is-juice-good-for-you.html. I've been itching to talk about this myself for some time.

They're pointing out that there are generally as many cals in fruit juice from a carton as there are for the same amount of a fizzy drink. The only difference is that one has vitamins and minerals.

They're right which is a shame but does that mean you shouldn't drink them. In my view no. That's because I don't like to cut stuff out, I like to find a way to include it. Why? because life is to be lived and I like drinking juice. I'm willing to compromise and sometimes I prefer to change it a little anyway. For example I generally think it's too thick straight out of the carton, to be technical I feel the osmotic load means that it may not hydrate me as much as it should because it's too concentrated. No problem I just add some water to it and it's fine.

Need a bit more convincing? well eat an orange, I love oranges, they're sweet if you get a good one and they're a good drink if you get enough juice. What's the juice like, running, like water with a like extra added in. What's it like from the carton? much thicker. I think it does well because not only is it very sweet but do to this osmotic load (it's very concentrated) it doesn't actually stop you being that thirsty. I'ts the same for many drinks that are common. If you don't come back for more then they won't make enough money. Sorry for being cynical but sometimes when products do their job well then the company that makes them can't make enough profit to survive in a highly competitive market. It's just a fact of life.

Solution. I just add a little water to it. It means I get a bigger drink or I save more for later so it's cheaper, yey, and even though it's not quite as sweet or thick I get used to it. Just like when you reduce you sugar or salt intake but one or two spoons, you soon adjust and you're better for it.

You see juices are good because they contains a bunch of vitamins and minerals. Each fruit contains a different type and it's important to get a balance. You dont need to worry about the exact balance because your body is designed to filter out whjat it needs. I use fruit juice because
  • tasty: the most important thing. If it doesn't taste good then is it worth it?
  • They contain lots of vitamin c and that's important because it's water soluble so needed daily and it's easy destroyed by
    • heat: well juices are cold. You lose the vit c from much of your cooked veg because of this
    • it gets destroyed by sunlight: if it's in an opaque carton you're onto a winner
    • many vitamins don't get absorbed because there are other elements in the food that inhibit their uptake. The tannnin in tea for example inhibits iron uptake in food that's eat at the same time as you drink tea. fruits have evolved to supply us with what we need, honestly the tree's need us to eat the fruits and pass the seeds they contain into the soil so they've made this especially for us and it fits our needs
  • It's a quick sugar fix in two ways, a few calories if I need them in liquid form, great if I'm playing tennis or running but also since I have a major sweet tooth. Apple or Pineapple juice is my fave, no wait grape or pear, no wait....:-) I love them all
  • better than plain watter:getting back to osmosis, back in my days as a student on a sports science degree we learnt that plain water isn't the best thing to hydrate you. It doesn't create the right osmotic gradient. That's why sports drinks are important. Juices are important in this as long as you dilute them enough
  • portable: you can get a carton o fit just about any size
  • quick to prepare: just pop it in your babg. It'll last all day if necessary
  • lasts ages: the vit c content'll go down but since there's none in most other drinks you're still better off. and many of the other vitamins and minerals won't be affected
  • cheap: I'm not loaded so cost matters. If you get the right one's then they work out.
  • variety: the amount of flavours there are means I never get bored
So there we go a quick ramble on juices. I could obvious go on but I stopped myself.I hope this helps. It's nice to get it down in writing. I don't like that people are put off juices because they offer so much and they're accessible to everyone. I haven't heard of any one who's allergic and they're totally safe drunk within date.
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