Growing up, I cherished the occasional lazy Saturday morning when I could sleep in, eat breakfast in my pajamas, and watch cartoons. Back then, it seemed every commercial was a cereal ad that included the phrase “Part of a complete breakfast!” — a meal made up of cereal, milk, and orange juice.
On our family breakfast table, the orange juice was always absent, and only recently did I learn why.
In terms of its nutritional profile, juice isn’t too much better for you than a glass of soda or any other sweetened beverage.
That seems to have been forgotten by most of the customers who were outraged on Wednesday to learn that their pricey juice packs from high-tech juicing machine company Juicero could be squeezed by hand.
Sure, juice has some vitamins — some of it even has a small amount of protein — but research shows that the best way to get both of those nutrients is by eating a balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
More importantly, since juicing fruit tends to remove most of its fibre, the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal, drinking a tall glass of juice can leave you feeling pretty hungry rather quickly. This is one of the reasons calories from sweetened beverages are often referred to as “empty calories” — the mixture is mostly sugar and water, and low in fibre, fats, and protein, and your body processes it relatively quickly. Consistently indulging in beverages or other foods with a profile like this can increase hunger pangs and mood swings and leave you with low energy levels.
Just look at what a Juicero juice packet looks like after it’s been squeezed — all of that crunchy, fibrous, good-for-you stuff gets left behind:
It’s pretty easy to see what happens when you look at the nutritional profile for a 12-ounce glass of orange juice (which ends up being very similar to the same amount of many of Juicero’s juices):
- 153 calories
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 27 grams of sugar
- 2.4 grams of protein
- 0.7 grams of fibre
That’s the same amount of carbs as a bag of M&Ms, with just three fewer grams of sugar.
So instead of adding a glass of juice to your next meal, swap it with a plain old glass of water, and save an actual piece of fruit for your next snack.