Monday, February 18, 2013

Why We Don't Drink Juice

Juice is another one of those things that we have been tricked into believing is good for us. The reality is that it's not. Here are a few of the reasons we don't drink juice (even 100% real fruit juice).

1. Pesticides- If your juice isn't organic, it's likely loaded with pesticides and fungicides. Do you remember hearing about arsenic in apple juice? The EPA allows levels of up to 10 parts per billion in drinking water. Here is a glimpse of the levels found in 3 major brands:

Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 4 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 16 parts per billion

Juicy Juice 
Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 2 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 22 parts per billion

Lowest Sample for Arsenic: 3 parts per billion
Highest Sample for Arsenic: 36 parts per billion

That's right, some samples of GERBER Apple Juice, which is meant for babies, had 3 times the legal level of arsenic. You can read the full study here.

2. Our good old friends the GMOs. Apples and papaya are now being genetically modified. Who knows what else is? 

3. Sugar and calories- Juice is basically sugar water. It's packed with calories and sugar, almost as bad as soda. Yes, it's a natural form of sugar, but that doesn't mean we should be drinking it every day.

4. Lack of nutrients- Juices are pasturized to kill bacteria before being bottled, which means they are heated to such high temperatures that all the good stuff is killed as well. So then companies add "extra" vitamin C and other artificial vitamins which are hard on your body. Juicing also throws away all the bulk and fiber of the fruit and leaves only the sweet liquid.

5. Yuck factor- Companies buy up all the leftover fruit that is too "ugly" to be sold in grocery stores. Bruised, half rotten, unsellable fruit. While I certainly don't demand gorgeous, unblemished fruit, I also don't trust corporate factories to decide how rotten is too rotten when profits are on the line.

6. We are led to believe that juice is fresh fruit being squeezed and going straight into the bottle. Nothing could be further from the truth. The process of making juice can be mind boggling. I heard a story on NPR about giant warehouses where different batches of juice are stored and mixed together to get uniform taste and fruit is artificially ripened by being sprayed with gas. Hmmm. I tried to make it through this article about how Simply Orange Juice is concocted and eventually just gave up. There is currently a lawsuit against Simply Orange Juice for false advertising, since it claims to be 100% squeezed juice but actually goes through extensive processing and is "reflavored" with flavor packs.

So what about organic juice? Well, points 3 & 4 still apply and 5 & six 6 might. Juice can be a once in awhile treat like anything else, but there is no need to drink it all the time and call it a health food. If you really can't live without juice, buy a juicer and make your own. Or better yet, use a high powered blender to make smoothies. That way you keep all the fiber.

Now for my disclaimer: I still drink juice sometimes, but only if there's a little vodka in it. :)