Are Juice Drinks Healthy?


While whole fruits and vegetables have significant health benefits for those without insulin resistance, many healthy juices are detrimental to nerves and the body. 

Are Juice Drinks Healthy?

The US generates the highest revenue in the juice market compared to other countries. As Americans work to improve their diet and lifestyle, juice bottles replace sodas in the market. 

Unfortunately, drinking bottled juice from the grocery store isn’t as healthy as eating fresh fruits or vegetables. 

Loss of Nutrients

First, store-bought juice is pasteurized, killing many natural enzymes and depleting nutrients. 

Furthermore, juice oxidizes immediately. The nutrients in the juice break down and lose effectiveness as they sit on the shelves before reaching the customer. 

While juicing fruits and vegetables at home is better, most juicers use centrifugal force. Their affordability makes them popular, but the high speed increases oxidation and generates heat, which destroys sensitive vitamins and enzymes. 

Furthermore, juice’s exposure to light and oxygen begins the breakdown of nutrients. After 48 hours, the juice discolors from oxidation and loses nutrients, leaving liquid sugar akin to grocery store juices. 

High Levels of Fructose

Unlike fruit, healthy juice contains no fiber. Fiber from fruits plays a vital role in gut microbiome and GI health. 

Without fiber, the fruit fructose becomes concentrated. The sugar pours into the bloodstream at a rapid absorption rate. Unlike glucose, the liver primarily absorbs fructose, which converts to glucose, glycogen, or fatty acids.

When a large amount of fructose reaches the liver, it can’t break down. So, the liver stores the fructose as fat, resulting in a fatty liver, elevated LDL, cholesterol, and elevated triglycerides. 

Furthermore, the accumulation of fructose leads to insulin resistance. 

Fructose is likely to be a contributing factor to the increase in type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Fruit and some vegetable juices often contain more fructose than sodas, and both can be detrimental to your health. 

Why is Fructose Bad for Me?

A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that elevated fructose levels caused a condition known as hyperalgesia–a heightened sensitivity to any pain. Hyperalgesia surfaced highly with neuropathic pain.

Furthermore, the study showed fructose contributes to nerve damage due to significant insulin resistance. Chronic ingestion can deplete cellular ATP, your cellular fuel, resulting in fatigue and mitochondrial damage. Mitochondrial health plays a crucial role in nerve damage severity and recovery speed. 

In addition to peripheral nerve damage, insulin resistance also results in neuron damage to the brain. More and more studies link Alzheimer’s disease with diabetes. 

Fructose also reduces antioxidant levels, leading to early cognitive decline like impaired learning abilities, memory loss, foggy brain, and dementia. Decreased antioxidants also result in mitochondrial function and peripheral neuropathy. 

What is the Difference Between Glucose and Fructose?

Recent research reveals that fructose is a more potent glycating agent than glucose and is ten times more powerful at forming AGEs (advanced glycated end-products).

Fructose causes sugar to bind with proteins or lipids (fats) called AGEs that can gum up cellular receptors in adults and children. The gumming allows inflammation of AGEs and increases oxidative stress, leading to cellular dysfunction.

AGEs also create miscommunication between cells, resulting in many chronic diseases, including:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Renal failure
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (peripheral neuropathy, etc)

Fructose harms the body and nerves in many ways. Limiting your intake, even in healthy juices, is essential for a healthy lifestyle. 

How Much Sugar Should I Have in a Day?

National Institute of Health states that healthy individuals without insulin resistance should consume less than 80-90 grams of fructose daily. For those with insulin resistance, they should consume less than 50 grams.

Most juices contain over half of the daily recommended dosages. 

What Should I Avoid in Juices?

Many top-selling health juices market themselves as healthy alternatives to soda and other beverages. Often, these marketing tactics hide the truth about their juices in the supplement facts. 

What’s in My Healthy Juice?

For example, Bolthouse Farm Green Goddess. On the label, they claim to have Feel Good Nutrition and ‘No Sugar Added.’ When looking at the label, a bottle contains 0 grams of added sugar but 45 grams of sugar or pure fructose. 

Furthermore, the ingredients in these healthy juices are listed in order from the majority content to the lowest content. The further down the ingredient list, the less of that ingredient is in the bottle. Always look at the nutritional facts to determine the healthiness of the juice, never the marketing labels. 

Often, doctors recommend cranberry juice as extremely healthy and beneficial for the urinary tract. While cranberry juice helps the nerves and bladder, most juices on the market add sugar, making them ineffective for either.

The proanthocyanidins in cranberries have remarkable antimicrobial effects and defend against UTIs; however, only pure, unsweetened cranberry juice provides these benefits. Most cranberry juice, such as Ocean Spray Cranberry juice, adds sugars.

Juice and Diabetes

A research study from Harvard, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), showed that one serving of fruit juice (8oz) was associated with a 21% increased risk of developing diabetes. Dr. Qi Sun, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, states,

“The juicing process leads to lower contents of beneficial phytochemicals and dietary fiber. In addition, juice fluids are absorbed more rapidly and lead to more dramatic changes in blood sugar and insulin levels as compared to solid whole fruits.”

The study also found that eating two servings per week of whole fruits–especially blueberries, grapes, and apples–lowered the risk of developing diabetes by 23%. 

While fruit protects against diabetes, fruit juice increases your risk. The amounts of fructose dumped into the body cause:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Elevated Cholesterol and Triglycerides
  • Central and Peripheral nervous system damage

When choosing a drink, marketing labels often deceive consumers. The nutrient facts are the best method for finding the best drinks for your body.

What Healthy Juice Should I Drink?

Making juice from a personal juicer provides the best benefits. But there are a few things to consider.

  1. Use mostly vegetables. The juice recipe should only contain 10% fruit and vegetables for the rest.
  2. Do not use a centrifugal juicer. A masticating or cold press juicer crushes the produce slowly while extracting the juice.
  3. Use Vitamix or a blender to maintain all the fiber.

Not all juices are created equal. When it comes to the health of your nerves and the rest of your body, choose whole fruits over fruit juices, and if you’re going to juice at home, remember the fundamental principles of minimal fruit and using the right juicer. 

Your nerves will thank you for it, and you’ll be on the path to a healthier, happier you. Don’t let those enticing labels fool you; make informed choices and take control of your well-being. 

Struggling with Neuropathy?

Book a consultation with one of America’s leading experts in peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Coppola and Dr. Monteiro have worked with neuropathy patients for almost 20 years and conduct seminars to help patients and doctors improve and reverse neuropathy.

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