Q: I try not to have soda in the house, but we do drink a lot of fruit juice. I know the juice is pretty sweet, but isn’t it a healthy way to get our vitamin C, etc.? - Concerned Mom
A: This may seem like a very obvious question, but it actually is not. Many people (especially parents) struggle with this question. Most people lean toward thinking that juice is much better than soda because it contains nutrients that are not normally found in soda.
This is true; juice does normally contain more vitamins and other nutrients than a typical soda, but are those nutrients enough to make juice actually a healthy choice for you and your kids?
The answer is no. The amount of nutrients in some juices is actually quite impressive, but fruit juice is not the only place you can find these nutrients - and fruit juice has the same drawback that soda does: It contains a large amount of free sugar.
A twelve-ounce glass of soda contains around 10 teaspoons of sugar, and that is the identical amount of sugar you would find in the same-sized glass of juice.
Sugars that are free and not bound up in a food (like, say, eating a whole piece of fruit) are too easily absorbed into our blood stream. This leads to a large spike in blood sugar that can lead to all sort of illnesses including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and maybe even cancer.
The best choice, when looking out for your health, is not to drink either fruit juice or soda, but to quench your thirst with what your body really wants: water.
- Dr. Scott Olson, ND, author of Sugarettes: Sugar Addiction and Your Health
Note: Dr. Olson is a board certified Naturopathic Doctor, researcher, and author, with expert knowledge of natural medicine and nutrition. He will host a Live Chat Q&A in the ProHealth.com Chat Rooms Friday, January 9. To learn more about the health effects of sugar, and to submit a question for Dr. Olson’s advance consideration, click here.