A new study by the American Academy of Pediatrics tells parents that children under the age of 1 should not drink fruit juice. This seems contrary to what Americans think they know about juice and health, but the study shows that drinking juice actually doesn’t serve a purpose for young children. I certainly grew up drinking orange juice with breakfast, and I had a box of apple juice with lunch. Parents used to be told that juice was a healthy source of vitamins, but, as it turns out, “Although juice consumption has some benefits, it also has potential detrimental effects," according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The thing is, this applies to people of all ages. You shouldn’t drink juice either—at least no more than eight ounces a day if you’re over the age of 7.
There are a few reasons why you should swap your glass of juice for an actual fruit. You might like juice because it’s sweet, but you should only be drinking it as a treat and not a staple. Think about it, when you juice a fruit, you don’t get that much liquid out of it. So consider the number of fruits you would have to drink to get eight ounces. One cup of juice equals about two and a half cups of fruit. And you’re not getting any of the benefits of fruit. When you juice a fruit, you are just squeezing out the sugary liquid and not getting the benefit of the fiber, which is part of what makes fruit so healthy.
Drinking an excess of juice has been linked to childhood obesity, so you can imagine that it’s not helping you lose or maintain your weight either. (Yet another reason to never do a juice cleanse.) In another study examining the correlation between fruits and Type 2 diabetes, “scientists found that blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples and pears were especially protective, while drinking fruit juice could increase the risk of developing the condition by as much as 8 percent.” That’s a big increase. The reason for this is because fruits are indeed sugary and have a high glycemic index, but the fiber makes it more digestible which is why the sugar in fruit juice goes right through you and negatively affects your insulin.
Also, unless you’re buying the fancy, expensive stuff you can watch being juiced before your eyes, you’re most likely not drinking pure orange juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, or anything else. Even the bottles that tout “100 percent juice” are not always totally honest. They are absolutely all real fruit juice, per FDA juice regulations, but the question is which fruit juice. Remember that scandal with Naked juices cutting all of their “nutritional” smoothie drinks with tons of apple juice? That tends to be the norm when it comes to 100 percent juice, because apple, pear, and grape juice are the cheap, super sugary loopholes that a lot of affordable juice brands use. So, always check your ingredient lists, or, you know, just don't drink juice. Eat fruit or take a pill, because drinking lots of juice is no longer considered a healthy way to get your vitamins.