Fruit juices tend to be one of those pseudo health foods -- the type your nutrition fanatic friends warn you against. While they may seem healthy, as they contain fruit, fruit juices pack in calories and sugar -- even 100 percent fresh juice still contains a high amount of sugar and virtually no fiber, according to nutritionist Rania Batayneh. It's not all bad news though, and some juices are better than others.
Store-Bought Fruit Juices
Whether you go for apple juice, grapefruit or pomegranate juice, or go with that old standby orange juice, you may as well be drinking soda, notes coach Marc Perry of Built Lean. These store-bought juices often contain as much, if not more sugar than soda. It doesn't really matter whether you choose fresh or juices from concentrate either; the calorie count is still the same. These juices definitely fall into the bad category.
Putting your blender to good use can redeem fruit juice's reputation. By making your own juice, you know what goes into it and can tailor the ingredients to get the calorie count down. Use the juice from a couple of oranges, then add lower-sugar fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and raspberries. Add water to thin it down so it stays as a juice rather than a smoothie. With this option, you can make far tastier, healthier alternatives.
You can find low-sugar alternatives to traditional options in your local supermarket or health food store. Cranberry is a good choice, as cranberries are typically very low in sugar -- regular cranberry juice is often sweetened. Stick with the natural stuff though -- it may taste a little bitter, but it means you get to keep your morning juice; and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, increasing your cranberry consumption may help ward off urinary tract infections.
It's pretty safe to say that most fruit juices tend to fall on the bad side of the fence, so they're best avoided when trying to lose or maintain weight, or keep up a healthy lifestyle. Rather than drinking carton after carton, the Harvard School of Public Health recommends switching to different types of tea; fruit coolers made with ice, sparkling water, melon or berries, mint leaves and citrus slices; or diluting fruit juice with sugar-free sparkling water.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.