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Simple Swaps: Is Juice a Healthy Option?


While walking down the juice aisle, have you ever stopped for a moment to read the labels of your family’s favorite juices? It can quickly become confusing – from concentrate, not from concentrate, 100% fruit juice, cranberry cocktail, fruit beverage. This edition of “Simple Swaps” will help you better understand juice labels.


After fruits have been juiced, the freshly pressed juice has two fates:

1. The fresh juice can be heated and condensed to make a final concentrated product. This is what you see in the frozen juice section, but it can also be reconstituted with water to make juices that are from concentrate found in the juice aisle. These fall within the “from concentrate” category.

2. On the other hand, juice that is “not from concentrate” has only been pasteurized and packaged.  These can also be labelled as 100% fruit juice.  This means that things such as added sugars, water or flavourings have not been added to the final products.

Look out for juices that are labelled as a cocktail or a fruit beverage as they are closer to soda than a juice.  These products are typically loaded with added sugars and added flavours, with little nutritional value.

This is why I recommend making a simple swap to: drinking water and enjoying the whole fruit!

Although the nutrient value may be similar among the different types of juices and its fresh fruit counterparts, where they differ are in the amount of sugar present in each serving.  This equates to added calories, especially when you compare it to fresh, whole fruit.  The fibre in fresh fruits is like a network that entraps some of the sugar, slowing its release into the body.  While your orange juice may have extra pulp, it is nearly not the amount of fibre you would get if you ate an orange.

The Benefits of Fibre are:

  • Allows you to feel more satiated

  • Helps you stay regular

  • Lowers cholesterol levels

  • Minimizes spikes in blood glucose levels

Next time you are in need of something to quench your thirst, grab fruits that are higher in water content like:

  • Orange

  • Grapefruit

  • Watermelon

  • Cantaloupe 

Choosing higher-water content fruits helps you meet your daily recommended amount of 25 grams of fibre per day!

I rarely bring juice in the house because once it is in my refrigerator, everyone in the house will start reaching for it instead of water. Before you know it, there is a lot more sugar being consumed throughout the day.

It’s time to stop looking at juice as a “healthy” option. Enjoy juice as a treat once in a while. Focus on drinking lots of water and eating fruits. This applies for the whole family, whether it is children or adults.

Try jazzing up water with citrus slices, frozen mixed berries, cucumber slices and fresh mint, or my personal favourite: sliced strawberries and basil leaves!

You can make a large batch and keep in the fridge as an alternative to juice that the whole family can enjoy – the longer it sits, the more flavourful the water becomes!

Have you tried jazzing up your water? If so, what are you favourite combinations? Let me know in the comments below!

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