Nowadays you will see green juices everywhere, from organic cold pressed in your local health food stores and cafés to supermarkets and convenience stores. However, they may all look the same but what lurks beneath can be a very different picture!
A few years ago I suffered with some chronic digestive issues that meant I had to minimise my sugar intake. This led me to do my own little wrecky of my local shops and stores and I was absolutely astonished when I discovered just how much sugar was in a seemingly healthy green juice. Most (if not all) had at least 20-25g of sugar per serve, eeeeeek!
What does this mean?
We all know too much sugar is bad, simple. But what we do not know is, what is TOO much?
Well, if we break it down like this …
· 4g of sugar = one teaspoon of white sugar
· this means that 25g of sugar (in a juice) = more than SIX teaspoons of sugar
· this equates to the total amount of daily sugars the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently recommended to limit consumption to, in order to incur additional health benefits (less than 5% of daily energy intake)
When you consider that some juices contain 2 serves (often unknown to the consumer), you could be consuming 40-50g of sugar in one (not so healthy) green juice! This is the equivalent to a can of coke!
‘….but fruit is natural sugar’, I hear you cry!
Well, yes the sugar in fruit IS naturally occurring, correct! But when we drink a green juice, opposed to a WHOLE piece of fruit (as nature intended), we do not consume the skin, which holds the fibre to slow down the absorption of sugars. In addition, it takes a lot more than just one piece of fruit to make a 250ml/1 cup serve of juice so drinking a juice that is high in fruit can be like eating 3 or 4 pieces of fruit in one go, free of all the nutritional benefits found in the skin!
Interestingly, the WHO excluded consuming whole intact fruit as part of your recommended daily sugar intake guidelines, as they did not find consumption caused adverse health effects.
My intention here is definitely NOT to scare you off drinking green juices because done right green juices are a nutrient dense drink that are a fast and easy way to boost your vegetable and antioxidant intake and fast-track your health and vitality. However, done wrong you may be consuming an excess of sugar and exceeding your daily energy intake.
My top 3 tips to decipher if your green juice is really good for you:
1. Make sure the first ingredient listed is a green VEGETABLE, with fruit ideally being listed towards the last - as the ingredients is listed in descending order (most to least).
2. Buy fresh, buy local – buying from health food stores or cafes wins over supermarkets, as smaller, more local suppliers are more likely to get regular deliveries and source from local produce.
3. Buy organic - where possible, even if just occasionally!
4. Check how many serves by container - especially if you do choose higher fruit content juices.
For super-duper health benefits, buy fresh where you can see them make it or make your own, using good quality vegetables or there are lots of good quality green powders on the market today that make a no fuss on-the-run healthy juice.