Some people start their day with a cup of coffee. Some choose tea. Some go for water. And some opt for a nice, refreshing glass of juice. If you’re a juice fanatic, you’re certainly not alone. However, unfortunately, many of the processed fruit juices you find at the grocery store can be detrimental to your overall health and even lead to weight gain over time. They typically share one common pitfall: loads of added sugar, which can take a serious toll on your body.
To learn more about the dangers of sugary fruit juice, we spoke to dietitian Megan Wong, RD for AlgaeCal. She told us all about how ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and other forms of refined sugar can make it difficult to lose weight. Find all of her expert insight below!
Fruit Juices With Added Sugars, Syrups And Fructose
As delicious as a cup of ultra-sweet fruit juice can be when you drink it with your morning eggs and toast, Wong warns that the added sugars found in these highly processed varieties can take a serious toll on your health over time—and could lead to belly fat.
"Added sugars are empty calories, meaning they pack on calories without adding nutritional value," she warns. "Not only that, when you eat sugar your body will use it for energy—but if you eat more than you need at that time, any extra gets stored as fat." Yikes! That means sugary fruit juice is definitely a bad idea for anyone looking to lose weight.
For this reason, Wong says you should "get familiar with reading nutrition labels and before deciding to buy something, take a look at how many grams of added sugar each serving provides." If you're not sure exactly which ingredients to look out for, she offers some help: "Added sugars can be listed as syrups, molasses, or words ending in 'ose' (like fructose, glucose, maltose, sucrose, or dextrose)," she explains. Got it!
As far as how much sugar you should consume, Wong notes that "North American guidelines suggest keeping your added sugar intake to less than 10% of your total daily calories." However, she thinks that's still too much. When in doubt, it's best to just avoid sugar as much as possible—especially first thing in the morning.
Instead of reaching for those store-bought, processed fruit juices, try going with some fresh-pressed green juice without added sugar—you could even invest in a juicer to make your own at home! Another great option is to make yourself a smoothie, which will allow you to get more nutrients from all those healthy fruits and veggies you throw in. But no matter what route you choose to go, the important thing is that you stay away from added sugars. You may be surprised what a difference it can make in your overall health when you cut them out!
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