The Smoothie-Sugar Fail: Is Juicing Really Bad for You?

 Smoothie-Sugar Juicing failA recent news report reported on the sugar content found in fruit smoothies and juices— with the central point being that the sugar in many fruits pose a “hidden danger” to juicing.

Fruits contain what to some may be a surprising amount of sugar, and the report is accurate in saying that a juice blend of soy milk, red grapes, a banana, and a serving of blueberries has more sugar than a king-sized Reese’s peanut butter cup. However, the way this figure is presented—suggesting that such a juice mixture would be worse for one’s health than the candy—is incorrect.

First, most of the sugar in fruit is not derived from carbohydrates. This is a very important distinction since some of the sugar in fruit is bundled up in its fiber content—meaning it will never get absorbed by the body since fiber isn’t digestible. Second, the fructose in fruit comes with essential vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that do more than enough to offset the sugar content. These are vitamins and nutrients that spur the activities of daily life and health, as opposed to the empty calories provided by most chocolate bars.

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Third, it is very telling that the report included soy milk in the mixture, as opposed to regular milk or no milk whatsoever—this is a story about juicing, after all. Soy milk is often sweetened and has a higher sugar content than other forms of milk. The large portions of the fruits from the hypothetical recipe—full servings all around—also do not have any justification attached to them. There is no indication that this level of fruit is common in home juice recipes or is even a popular drink. Lastly, it is also worth noting that a Reese’s cup has lower levels of sugar compared to other chocolate bars.

In other words, the experiment used arbitrary levels of ingredients, the unnecessary inclusion of soy milk, and a non-representative comparison to make a point about nutrition that completely misses common sense facts and easily-accessible information about fruit.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Mallia, R., “Roper St. Francis Chef, Nutrition Expert Warn of Juicing without Checking Sugar Content,” ABC News web site, February 23, 2016; http://abcnews4.com/news/local/roper-st-francis-chef-nutrition-expert-warn-of-juicing-without-checking-sugar-content-of, last accessed February 25, 2016.
“How Much Sugar in Candy?” Sugarstacks web site; http://www.sugarstacks.com/candy.htm, last accessed February 25, 2016.