You know the benefits of drinking fruit juice. Fruits are packed full of vitamins and nutrients, which make fruit juices drinks that are tasty and healthy. They are recommended over caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea, and are certainly a much healthier option than carbonated soft drinks.

You are aware that fresh fruit juice is preferred, but it’s just not convenient. Not everyone can keep a huge stock of fruits in their homes and offices, and not everyone has the time to juice fresh fruits, especially if they cannot be kept for long time and have to be drunk almost immediately upon juicing. And not everyone has the time to clean juicers (yes, they take a lot of effort!).

So, thank goodness for packaged juices! You can now have your pick of brands, and there is a huge variety of fruit choices; some are even mixed fruits. No more messy juicing or cleaning! Just pop a bottle open, and voilà! You can even carry a box on the go. Bottled convenience at your fingertips. As long as it says 100% juice, it’s the same as fresh fruit juice. Right?

Bottled orange juice
Bottled orange juice

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Most packaged fruit juices are far from being anywhere as healthy as fresh fruit juices, and these include:

  • Boxed and bottled fruit juices, even those which claim to be 100% natural or made from 100% fruit juice
  • Fruit cordial
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • Fruit-flavoured drinks (carbonated and uncarbonated)

Here are the reasons why packaged fruit juices are not as good at they are made out to be:

#1 They are full of chemicals like flavouring and preservatives.

Have you ever noticed that some of the packaged fruit juices don’t taste like the original fruit juices? Some of the apple juices don’t taste anything like apple at all! That’s because those drinks don’t use real fruits – flavouring has been added to make them taste like the fruit. Even if the drinks do taste like the original fruit, most of the time it is because of the flavouring that has been added.

Besides flavouring, preservatives have also been added to these juices. That’s why they have such a long shelf life. Think about it – fresh fruit juice normally has to be consumed within 15 minutes after juicing. Fresh fruit juice cannot be stored for a long period of time, even if they are refrigerated. So how can packaged fruit juice have an expiry date of up to one year after the manufacturing date? The only way to make them keep for a longer time is by adding preservatives. Any manufacturer which says “No preservatives added” aren’t telling you the whole truth. There are certain loopholes in the labeling law that allows them to add such labels. This is the same loophole that allows manufacturers to use the term “100% natural” and “100% fruit juice” that tend to be extremely misleading.

Label on a juice bottle
Label on a juice bottle

#2 They are full of sugar.

That’s why they taste so sweet. Many natural fruit juices don’t taste as sweet as the commercial juices. Sugar has to be added to make the packaged juices taste good.

Besides that, sugar also acts as a preservative. The more sugar that is added, the longer the juice can be kept.

Watch out for terms like glucose, fructose, and sucrose on the label – they are all variants of sugar.

The label “100% juice” means that the sugar is from the fructose that’s naturally present in fruit; if it’s “10% juice” (or 20% or another number), most of the sugar is in the form of high-fructose corn syrup.

When fruit is consumed as a whole, the natural sugar in the fruit is only a small fraction of the entire fruit; you’ll still be getting the dietary fibre and nutrients. But packaged fruit juice is almost 100% sugar. This can inadvertently lead to weight gain – which is the opposite of what you want, when you’re drinking fruit juice.

Drinking fruit juice is like drinking sugar
Drinking fruit juice is like drinking sugar

#3 Pasteurised juice have no natural nutrients.

Pasteurisation is an important process in making commercial juices as it removes bacteria, mold, and other unwanted microorganisms. Unfortunately, the process of pasteurisation also removes ALL nutrients including the vitamins, minerals and enzymes that you wanted, and are the reason you are drinking the fruit juice for in the first place.

So how come the packaged fruit juices claim to be full of Vitamin C and other vitamins? This is because these vitamins have been added to the fruit juice after pasteurisation. The source of these vitamins depend on the manufacturer (they could be natural or synthetic), but they are definitely NOT the original vitamins found in the fruits that were used to make the juice).

Choose to drink juices made from raw fruit and vegetables
Choose to drink juices made from raw fruit and vegetables

So, no matter how inconvenient fresh fruit juice may seem to be in comparison to packaged fruit juice, always always try to get fresh fruit juice. Nowadays, it is quite easy to find stores and stalls that offer fresh fruit juice and smoothies that are made on the spot for you (try Surya Yoga’s Juice and Salad Bar). It is also a good idea to invest in a good juicer so that you can make your own selection of fruit and even vegetable juices. But before you rush out to buy a juicer, wait for our blog post on “How to choose a good juicer”. Not all juicers are made equal!

If you do enjoy packaged fruit juices, of course you can indulge in a glass from time to time. Like coffee and tea, bottled juice can be enjoyed, as long as in moderation. But don’t treat packaged fruit juice as a substitute for fresh fruit juice, because instead of reaping the benefits, you might end up damaging your health instead.

Enjoy your fresh fruit juice!

This article first appeared on Surya Yoga’s blog at Why you should avoid packaged fruit juices.