Before you buy your next juice…

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Our obsession with juices continues to grow with a juice part of the daily routine for many a health conscious peep whether it is prepared at home or purchased at a speciality juice bar. Whilst fruit and vegetable based juices can be exceptionally healthy, they can also be packed with sugar and become a high calorie daily extra as opposed to a healthy drink choice if we are not careful.

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As a general rule of thumb, we do not want a serve of juice to contain more sugars than a single piece of fruit, or 20-30g of total carbohydrates. The main difference between consuming fruit juiced and eating a piece of fruit is that when we consume a piece of fruit we also get the filling fibre and chewing aspect of eating as opposed to drinking a concentrated amount of calories in a very short period of time. When you consider a 100% fruit juice, it also takes several pieces of fruit to get a reasonable quantity of fruit juice, which is why fruit juice is such a concentrated source of calories.

For juice lovers, this means that in order to strike a balance between the health benefits associated with consuming a juice and avoiding a calorie overload, adding veges to any juice mix not only bumps up the nutrition considerably but keeps the calories low. Contrary to popular opinion the majority of vegetables including carrots, beetroot, celery, kale, spinach, cucumber and lettuce contain very few calories but pack a strong nutrition punch offering potassium, Vitamin C, folate and antioxidants, hence their association with a number of health benefits including reductions in blood pressure and helping to protect our cells from damage. To get the right mix, a ratio of juicing 1 piece of fruit to 3 or 4 different vegetables strikes a good balance between taste and nutrition – not too many calories or sugars but plenty of key nutrients in a tasty drink.

Now onto the harsh reality of what is going on out there with juices. The average juice from a juice bar can contain more than 10 teaspoons of sugar in a large 600ml sized container with more calories than an entire meal due to the large serving sizes and large number of ingredients. Hence if weight control or weight loss is your ultimate goal ordering the right mix of fruits, vegetables and size is crucial to create a juice that is not going to blow out your daily calorie intake.

So before you grab your favourite juice at the local juice bar or café, it may pay to take a closer look at the calorie and sugar content, or better still create your own mix to get the nutrition boost you are after, minus the extra calories and sugar.

Juice and Smoothie Counter kJ Sugar (g) Tsp
Boost Medium All Berry Bang (450ml) 1085 44 9
Boost Medium Banana Buzz (450ml) 1418 53 11
Boost Immunity Juice (450ml) 459 25 5
Top Juice Slim Grin (500ml) 655 26 5
Top Juice Jungle Juice (500ml) 1210 49 10
Nudie Nothing But Oranges (250ml) 425 21 4
Nudie Mango Crushie (250ml) 565 25 5
Banana Smoothie (350ml) 1940 60 12
Orange Juice (250ml) 288 14 3
Coconut water (250ml) 238 12 2 1/2