America has a sugar addiction. We have altered our opiod and dopamine receptors to maintain homeostasis through excessive sugar intake – and we didn’t even realize we were doing it. So how did this happen? Well, the clear winner as to where this miscommunication of sugar intake lies in one thing: juice.
What exactly is Juice?
Juice is made of fruit that has been squeezed to the smallest volume mechanically possible, thereby releasing the liquid known to us as juice. What remains unused is the pulp, which contains most of the fiber and nutrition of the fruit. The pulp gets discarded, leaving you with just the glucose (sugar)-infused drink. The juice, however, only comes in small yields, so when you drink apple juice you don’t realize that you may have consumed over 6 apples worth of liquid instantaneously in an 8 ounce cup. Without the fiber of the pulp cautioning your body by making you feel more full, the juice allows you to consume more fruits at once – and that’s where the glucose overload occurs.
When you experience a glucose overload, the pancreas releases more insulin to combat the high amounts of blood glucose. The brain begins to secrete dopamine, producing a brief high in satisfaction which ultimately requires more glucose the next next time you consume sugar. Average US children and adults consume 14 and 17% of their calories in added sugar, far above the recommended amount of 10%. That’s for added sugar – but there’s much more to it.
Ingredients Chemicals in Juice
Depending on where it has been purchased, juice has a lot of added ingredients. Vitamin D and calcium found in fortified orange juices are often artificially added, which in my opinion, is a ploy to maintain a “healthy” juice image. In particular, when companies advertise “less sugar” and “less calories,” the consumer oftentimes does not realize that chemical substitutes are used. For example, juice companies take the natural sweeteners that fruits possess in their drinks and substitute it with some sort of artificial chemical sweetener, similar to Splenda. If you take a look at some juice box ingredients, it may very well surprise and even scare you. I was at a Walmart in Alabama, and it took me a whole hour just to find one fruit juice that did not have any added sugars to it.
Just take a look at some “Diet” juices, and you’ll notice that on the ingredients label the list is long. In fact, upon doing my research I discovered that Tropicana’s Trop50 reduced-sugar “orange juice drink” contains 19 ingredients (including a toxic chemical called “calcium hydroxide“), whereas the regular orange juice contains 1 ingredient: 100% juice. Not only this, but the juice never tastes like it should, it always feels less authentic due to the artificial contents it contains. So, if you want the real authentic thing – press the fruits yourself, make a smoothie or just have the plain fruit. Try not to rely on juice, especially not packaged and not reduced of its nutrients in any way, shape or form.
What Does “Natural” really mean?
When I go shopping, I read every ingredient label. More often than not, I find the word “Natural” in it, either to describe flavor or to mask the other ingredients within the product. Food labeled “natural,” according to the USDA definition, does not contain artificial ingredients or preservatives and the ingredients are only minimally processed. However, they may contain antibiotics, growth hormones, and other similar chemicals that are harmful to your health.
“3-day Juicing Cleanse”?
The sad fact of the matter is that the “juicing cleanse” and detox diets that lots of health nuts boast about aren’t always that great for you. Not only may you be removing essential nutrients that your body needs – from proteins, carbohydrates and other vitamins – but juicing removes the fiber found in the skin of the fruits, leaving you with mainly just the sweet, high-glucose parts of it. It will also leave you feeling empty, as the fiber that was in the fruit that would enhance satiety, and make you feel more full. In my opinion, it’s unwise to solely rely on juices.
In short – juice isn’t all what it has been cut out to be.
Stay educated, read nutrition facts, and let us know in the comments below what your thoughts are on juicing!