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Drinking These Fruit Juices is Just as Bad, or Even Worse than Drinking Soda

By: Cat Ebeling, co-author of the best-sellers:  The Fat Burning KitchenThe Top 101 Foods that Fight Aging & The Diabetes Fix

Conventional mindset has always been that drinking pure fruit juice is healthy. We purchase fruit juice smoothies in the store, thinking that will help our health and weight loss, and start our days with a large glass of OJ—for the vitamin C. We ‘juice’ vegetables and fruit for the perfect healthy drink. We think we are giving our kids a healthy alternative by letting them drink box after box of “pure fruit juice”. It’s pure fruit juice, so it’s good for us, right?

Juice, whether it is store bought (the worst), or freshly made at home seems to be a healthy choice. But, contrary to popular thinking, juice, purchased from the store, is not far from a drink made of pure liquid sugar. And in truth, it’s not much better than drinking a soda. So, in spite of the fact that you or your children may be drinking a drink that says “100% pure fruit juice”, it may as well say “pure sugar”. So though you may have thought you were making a healthier choice over sodas or other processed drinks with added sugar, you may be drinking something equally as bad.

The sugar that comes from fruit is fructose. Same as the sugar in high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is not a healthy sweetener, in spite of its natural source. Fructose, unless it is wrapped up in a whole fruit, is bad news for your body and your waistline. Fructose is a non-essential dietary sugar. Fructose is actually known to be a strong contributor to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Additionally, it is thought that fructose has some very definite and sinister ties to cancer. And while it’s okay in fruit, because you are not get large, concentrated quantities of it, drinking in tons of fructose in the form of fruit juice will lead you down a path of poor health.

When you drink a glass of juice, let’s say, for example, a 12 oz glass of orange juice, you hit your system with a whopping 37 grams of sugar in the form of mostly fructose. And when you have a 12oz glass of apple juice, you are gulping down an astronomical 40g of sugar! That’s as much as a can of soda! But wait, that’s not the worst of it—a similar sized glass of grape juice–white or red–contains almost 60g of sugar! That’s like having a can and a half of soda!

Drinking a mixed juice ‘cocktail’ is no better, even if it only contains pure fruit juice. Most often concentrated white grape juice, or apple juice is added for sweetness. That adds even more sugar to the mix! Check out the sugar grams in Tropicana Berry Punch, or Ocean Spray 100% Cranberry Juice. It’s a massive amount of sugar! And don’t be mistaken into thinking the calories and the sugar grams, are worth the vitamins, they are not. There is little vitamin C, antioxidants of anything else of benefit in bottle fruit juice.

One of the biggest problems here is that fruit juice contains NO fiber and is a very concentrated source of liquid sugar—the worst kind. It is extremely easy to consume massive amounts of sugar from juice in a very short time. Fructose gets sent straightaway to the liver for processing and some of it is quickly turned into fat cells. Some of the sugar just goes right into your bloodstream and causes insulin to be released—which stores fat cells. The perfect recipe for quick weight gain.

A lot of those new fat cells are stored in the liver, creating a fast track to fatty liver disease. The rest of those fat cells turn into triglycerides, one of the precursors for heart disease, and due to the release of insulin, many of these fat cells are quickly stored in various parts of the body—i.e., bellyfat, hips, thighs, etc. This particular study shows that just one glass of grape juice a day caused insulin resistance and increased waist size in just three months. Not only that, but 2 servings of juice a day also doubles your chance for developing painful gout.

And the biggest problem with liquid calories is that you still continue to eat as much or more. They just don’t make you feel full—on the contrary, juice just makes you want to eat more, making sugary drinks like juice is one of the most fattening things you can put in your body. Drink juice, eat more.

This study in children showed that the risk of obesity was increased by 60% for each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages. And you are not doing your kids any favors by allowing them to drink juice to their heart’s content. It does the same thing as a sugar-sweetened beverage. If you want to reduce the chances that your child will be obese or develop type 2 diabetes, eliminate the juice drinks, according to this study, and this study. One of the growing problems in the U.S. and other countries is the high rate of childhood obesity, and one of the biggest contributors to this is sweet drinks such as juice and soda. Kids don’t need to be sucking down a box of juice every time they are thirsty, water works fine!

Let’s chat a bit about how most juice is made. It doesn’t get squeezed or pressed straight from the farm into a carton, let me tell you. Most processed juice—even 100% juice–that you buy in a store, undergoes a very UNnatural process to get from the fruit to your glass, and it’s not really even 100% pure juice. As an example, orange juice is picked from the orchards, the juice extracted out, heated and pasteurized, and then stored in gigantic vats, where the oxygen is removed so it can be stored for up to a year or more.

Removing the oxygen removes a lot of the flavor, so big juice companies hire flavor and fragrance people to formulate “flavor packs” that make the orange juice taste like oranges again. That is why big juice companies like Tropicana and Minute Maid, always taste exactly the same. It is because of a flavor pack added to some virtually tasteless liquid that has been sitting in a huge tank somewhere. Yummy. These flavor packs are made from orange byproducts, although they are chemically altered and those in the juice industry will even tell you the flavor packs don’t resemble anything in nature.

Other juices are no healthier. If they are bottled and sold in a store, they are all heated and pasteurized to kill off bacteria, yeasts, and other pathogens, thus reducing the beneficial antioxidants, enzymes, and other healthy compounds. Then the fiber is removed as well, which further degrades the juice. Fiber slows the absorption of the sugar in the fruit, as well as containing healthy fiber to feed your gut bacteria.

Even if you think you can buy ‘healthy’ fruit juice smoothies, they are still very high in sugar, and heated and pasteurized so they can be bottled. They lose most all their antioxidants and vitamins from the pasteurization process, along with just the amount of time they sit on a store shelf. They usually add ‘filler’ high sugar juices like apple juice and grape juice to make them taste better. Most often, even if it is labeled as a smoothie, it may be more fruit juice (read “high sugar”) than actual whole fruit and fiber. So basically, you get a lot of sugar and a little flavor and not much more in a so-called ‘healthy’ smoothie you buy from the store.

All in all, if you are thirsty, or your kids are thirsty, drink water. You can make your own flavored waters by using spring water, chopping up an orange or dropping in a few raspberries, or even slicing up a cucumber to give the water some added flavor. Try adding a squeeze of a real orange slice to your sparkling water or even a lemon or lime wedge.

And if you just can’t do without lots of flavor, try drinking kombucha tea. This fermented tea is reasonably low in sugar (about 1/8th the amount of sugar of juice), but full of gut-healing probiotics, cancer-fighting compounds, and a good dose of healthy phytochemicals.

Kombucha is gaining in popularity, so most stores sell lots of different flavors to suit every taste. Just watch the sugar content, because while most of the sugar in these drinks has been gobbled up by the fermentation process, some could still have some added sugar.  However, most brands seem to have anywhere from 2 grams to 8 grams of sugar in 1 cup of kombucha, which makes it very low in sugar compared to a glass of juice or soda.

In the long run, you may be shocked at how many sugar calories you and your kids may have been drinking. You and your kids will be far better off if you steer clear of the juices and sugary drinks.

The popularity of kombucha is growing very fast, and it’s not uncommon to find kombucha even at many corner stores and gas stations these days.

Here is another article that I recently wrote which reveals the 7 major health benefits of drinking kombucha (including weight loss, gut health, and more)


About The Watchdog

Mike Geary has been a Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for over 15 years now. He has been studying nutrition and exercise for almost 25 years, ever since being a young teenager. Mike is originally from Pennsylvania, but has fallen in love with mountain life and now resides in the picturesque mountains of Utah. Mike is an avid adventurist and when he’s not spending his time skiing, mountain biking, hiking, or paddleboarding on the lake, he has enjoyed skydiving, whitewater rafting, piloting an Italian fighter plane (seriously), scuba diving, heli-skiing, and traveling all around the world, enjoying learning about different cultures. At the age of 40, Mike now feels healthier, stronger, and more energetic than when he was 20... All because of a healthy lifestyle and great nutrition!

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  1. Are you talking about store bought commercial juices OR
    Juices from your own natural sources…..?

    Grapefruit juice is great in a liver flush along with lemons, (olive oil and garlic).
    I cannot believe that all juices are that bad….which is sounds like that is what you are inferring.

  2. I find this information very helpful and a super guide for my wife & myself

  3. I make a fresh fruit smoothie every morning for my wife and myself, with papaya, orange (or grapefruit), pineapple, banana, blueberries, mango, pear, lemon, raspberries, spinach, fresh carrot juice, and vegan protein powder. Is this also an unhealthy overdose of sugar?

    • CharlesWilliamMorganJr

      It appears there are NO answers provided to any of the questions posed here. Perhaps we should ask why God made these fruits for us? When would be an appropriate time to consume this God-given product of nature? Can we ever consume mangoes and kiwi fruit? Should we let these God-given fruits fall from the trees and rot on the ground? What specifically is the purpose of fruits?

      • Not sure why you have to mention God 3 times in one question about fruits but the purpose of fruits is to replicate the plants or trees from which they come. Not everything on earth was put here for you to eat. The plant Atropa belladonna has a sweet but deadly fruit. Socrates died from eating a Hemlock plant. Abraham Lincoln’s mother died from indirectly consuming a plant. Some fruits and plants kill you instantly, the rest if over-consuimed just take a little longer.

  4. What about juice that is made at home like grape, lemon, tomato, etc by using the steam method with nothing else added. Im sure that does concentrate the sugars but what about the other vitamins and minerals that are suppose to be so good for a person. Does the sugar outweigh the benefit.

  5. Juices are part of the standard American diet. And, juices are helping to make Americans fat.

    You note that 12 ounces of orange juice “hit your system with a whopping 37 grams of sugar.” That”s nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar! No sane person would choose that much sugar. But, when it’s hidden in a “healthy” juice it’s acceptable.

    Thanks for this eyeopener.

  6. Sorry to say you have few misconceptions in your article. Fructose from fruit juice and eating fruit is not HFCS.
    Secondly fructose does not use insulin to be processed into energy, glucose does. Yes all fruit has some glucose in it so fruit does use insulin to process glucose into energy but not to get energy from fructose.

  7. My husband makes a beetroot and celery drink in the nutra bullet each morning. IS this good for him?

  8. White and regular grape juice pear juice apple juice all very unhealthy

  9. What kind of liquid should you use in a protein smoothie?

  10. How about juicing fresh oranges at home?? Isn’t this a healthy alternative??

  11. How about the sugar or fructose content in freshly squeezed juices that we prepare at home? Are they “safe” at all?

  12. I’ve been drinking orange, apple or cranberry juice to stay hydrated when I can’t get at my filtered water supply.

    Is there anything else I could do?

  13. Please check out a book called “Eat Right for (4) your Type”, by Dr. Peter D’Adamo. It tells what foods each blood type can and cannot eat. I do believe we shouldn’t drink too much fruit juice because of the sugar, and no fiber. We all need to turn to God’s advice on eating, it’s in the Bible. God bless!

  14. While I love oj, I had stopped drinking it a long time ago because of the sugar content. I recently began drinking it again (just 4 oz. in the a. m.) due to the latest study which seems to indicate that drinking a small amount every morning may help reduce the risk of dementia. I have come to the conclusion that “all things in moderation” applies to juice.

  15. i Bought that kombucha tea from trader joes. it was plain YUK. and when i looked at the ingredients it was loaded with sugar. Organic USDA LEMONS OR BLUEBERRIES ,WATER AND NON GMO STEEVIA………THATS THE JUICE IN THIS DAY AND AGE THAT WONT HURT OUR BODIES.MAKE YOUR OWN THATS THE SURENWAY TO GO.

  16. I’ve been drinking fresh raw cold pressed juices for over 40 years and have never had any issues with weight gain or any other health related problems from it. Quite the opposite. Raw organic juices provide
    the best nutrition and energy that your body needs. I’m sure your familiar with the name Norman Walker
    who was an expert on the subject and wrote many books on the benefits of raw juices.
    Cheers to the RAW JUICE movement!🥂

  17. I do not like vegetables so I dieted on fruits blended. After I finished, I had a blood test and found that it had really messed with my liver results. So please take care.

  18. I love welches grape juice, If wine is good for you, would not grape juice also be similar. You guys are killing me with this one because I absolutely love grape juice and Blueberry smoothies.

  19. It’s called doing everything in MODERATION!!!…And also EXERCISE!!!…walking/moderate cardio, circuit weight training to help burn calories(sugar)…and regardless, drink water…do everything in moderation and your body will have a proper balance!!!…don’t be alarmed and get all confused by this article!!!…CHEERS TO A HAPPY HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!!!…

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