Stocking seemingly healthy packaged fruit juices in households is not uncommon. At the same time, they are also often seen as alternatives to “unhealthy” carbonated soft drinks.
But are these packaged fruit juices really healthy? Or is it just a myth?
The packaged fruit juice market can be divided into three subcategories,viz.fruit drinks, juices,and nectar drinks.
- Fruit drinks, which have a maximum of 30% fruit content, are the highest-selling category. Frooti, Jumpin, Maaza,etc. are the most popular products in this category
- Fruit Juices, on the other hand, are 100% composed of fruit content.
- Nectar drinks have between 25- 90% fruit content, but account for only about 10% of the market.
The rising number of health-conscious consumers is giving a boost to fruit juices. It has been observed that many consumers are shifting from fruit-based drinks to fruit juices as they consider the latter a healthier breakfast/snack option
What are the downsides of packaged fruit juices?
- Often juices contain added preservatives to enhance shelf life. It is very clear that fresh juices extracted at home also get spoilt within a few hours because they are rich in sugars and are an excellent food for microorganisms. Similarly a juice extracted even 10 days ago needs some form of preservative to retain its original flavour.
- Nutritive value of packaged juice cannot match those of fresh ones. Some of the precious nutrients are lost in processing and then the juice is fortified with a chemical agent providing the same nutrient which is so not the same as the natural one. Body understands and recognize food as available in nature but man made chemicals cannot be handled well by the body.
- Fiber content of home-made juices is more because we do not strain it as much to produce an absolute lear sparkling juice. in certain fruits, the peel has the important active functional components that cannot be restored in a packaged juice.
- Juices lack satiety value i.e. you may not feel full even after drinking 2 glasses of juice. Whereas if you eat an apple or 2 oranges instead, your hunger is usually satisfied. The act of chewing a fruit and swallowing it allows for a physiologically suitable means of satisfying hunger.
But, not is all that bad with fruit juices. Here are some positives of consuming fruit juices?
- If you are on a detox plan for a few days and are pressed for time, then some of the fruit vegetable mixed juices can be handy while on the go /traveling
- Some fruits such as cranberry, grapefruit, blueberry, etc are not available all around the year or in specific locations. Such juices in packaged form make these flavour accessible to us.
- The pre-treatment of fruits and vegetables for juicing including thorough washing , cleaning, and then heat sterilization make them more hygienic.
While juices cannot match the nutrition of fresh fruit, they can come in handy in certain situations. Though there are certain positives to consuming fruit juices, one must be aware of downside risks too and exercise caution in consuming fruit juice.
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