The Perfect Bite: The best and worst juice

We all know it can often be difficult to get your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, which is why many people turn to juice. But, store-bought juices often have a bad reputation for having way too much sugar and not enough nutrients. On this episode of The Perfect Bite, host Andrea Jenna is joined by nutritionist Shari Shaw.  They take a look at five popular juice brands to determine which is the healthiest choice.

The majority of people get enough vitamin C every day without having to drink O.J. (Thinkstock) Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice (Least healthy option and Andrea’s favourite: 8 oz (236 ml), 150 calories, 0 mg sodium, 31 g sugars)

“It’s really tart,” Shari comments. “I would dilute this.”

“Half sweet, half sour,” says Andrea after taking a sip of this pomegranate juice, which she named her favourite of the bunch. “I could drink this!”

Unfortunately, Andrea’s favourite juice also takes the title of least healthy.

“It’s the highest in calories and sugar,” explains Shari. “So it’s about 150 calories and 31 grams of sugar for a cup. It’s very, very concentrated – so you could definitely dilute that and take down your sugar intake a little bit.”

“It’s a really great juice, but dilute it,” she says.

Also see: The Perfect Bite: The worst pepperoni pizza

Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail (per 250 ml, 120 calories, 5 mg sodium, 29 g sugars)

“This is cranberry juice, so it’s got that sweet, not sour,” says Andrea.  “Would you dilute something like this as well?”

“Yeah,” replies Shari. “It’s really sweet on my palette.”

Simply Orange Pulp Free Juice (per 250 ml, 120 calories, 0 mg sodium, 25 g sugars)

“It’s a milder sweetness compared to the other juices,” notices Andrea.

“I could definitely drink more of this without diluting it,” agrees Shari.

Also see: The Perfect Bite: The No.1 worst milk alternative

V8 Original Vegetable Cocktail (Healthiest choice Shari’s favourite: per 250 ml, 50 calories, 480 mg sodium, 9 g sugars)

“It’s salty compared to everything else,” says Andrea of this vegetable cocktail.

“Other than tomato, I can’t pick out anything,” Shari says.

But she still names this option as her favourite.

“It’s the least sweet tasting, so I could drink a cup of it,” she explains.

Unsurprisingly, the juice our nutritionist liked also come out as the healthiest.

“It was the lowest in sugar, it was only 9 grams of sugar per cup, but you have to be aware that it does have a decent amount of sodium, about 480 milligrams per cup,” Shari says. “So if you’re watching your sodium, you definitely want to be aware that you’re drinking your sodium.”

Oasis Pure Apple Juice (per 250 ml, 110 calories, 15 mg sodium, 25 g sugars)

“This is by far the sweetest,” Andrea says.

“Yeah,” agrees Shari. “I would definitely dilute that.”

Also see: The Perfect Bite: The least-healthy granola bar

Making healthier choices

“Juice tends to be high in calories and high in sugar, and people often over-consume juice because it’s not really filling and kind of goes down easy, which leads them to consume a lot more sugar than they would normally if they would have a whole orange or a whole apple,” Shari explains.

“Generally, half a cup is a serving,” she continues. “For children, you wouldn’t want to get more than ¾ of a cup in an entire day.”

“Generally, the type of vitamins and minerals that you’re going to get in a fruit juice, the profile is basically the same,” Shari explains. “The only differences, I would say, is with the red and the blue drinks – the berry drinks – you’re getting antioxidants, which are very healthy for you, and you can’t get enough of them. “

“The orange juice, I would say, you’re getting your vitamin C, but the majority of people consume enough vitamin C in the day that they don’t need to supplement with the orange juice.”

If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to juice, Shari recommends trying smoothies.

“Smoothies are a good option, because they contain they entire fruit,” she explains. “It’s just blended up.”

What's your favourite brand of juice? Or do you prefer to make your own at home? Let us know in the comments.

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