Orange juice, cranberry juice, apple juice—they sound like they should be good for you. After all, they come from natural fruits, right? But is fruit juice really a brain healthy beverage, or is it bad for your brain? It’s time to separate fact from fiction once and for all.
Fiction: Fruit juice is a good way to get more nutrients in your diet.
Fact: Fruit juice typically contains a paltry amount of vitamins and antioxidants. Conversely, it packs way too much sugar and too many calories—as many as some sodas—to be good for you. Did you know that you have to squeeze about 5-8 oranges just to get one 8-ounce glass of juice? And it can be loaded with over 20 grams of sugar, which causes your blood sugar levels to spike then plummet.
Fiction: Fruit juice with pulp provides fiber.
Fact: Even juice that has pulp has only a negligible amount of the healthy fiber you find in whole fruits. Without the fiber that typically slows the digestion of that sugar, you’re giving your system a straight shot of sugar.
Fiction: Grape juice is good for heart health.
Fact: Some people confuse grape juice with resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and grapes that appears to have cardioprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Resveratrol may also be found in tart grape juice, but you would have to drink many glasses to reach the recommended supplement dosage of about 15mg twice a day. Plus, most people do not like the taste of unsweetened, tart juice
Fiction: Fruit juice is a good way to stay hydrated.
Fact: There are so many better options for hydration. Just cutting out sugary drinks and fruit juices can cut an average of 400 calories a day from the typical American diet. Eliminating that extra 400 calories a day can make it easy for you to lose weight if you necessary. If you love the flavor of juice, try adding a few fruit slices to a glass of water. It will add flavor without all the sugar, and it will make you feel like you’re at the spa.
The only time I use any fresh-squeezed fruit juice is when I’m making a salad dressing or sauce for veggies. I typically use about a tablespoon of lemon juice or I might squeeze half an orange—not even close to a full glass of juice. For an example, you can check out my Sautéed Cauliflower with Lemon Basil Dressing in The Brain Warrior’s Way Cookbook.