Let’s get to know some facts about fruit juices first:
- In pure (100%) juices, added sugar is not permitted; in beverages/drinks it is permitted.
- A large part of the sugar found in fruit juice is fructose. The liver is the only organ that can metabolise fructose in meaningful amounts.
- Sucrose is found naturally in many fruits and vegetables, but usually in small amounts. When a fruit does contain sucrose, the amount of that sucrose can rapidly increase during ripening, which may in part explain why ripe fruits taste sweeter than under-ripe fruits.
- While some nutrients are lost during processing, 100 percent fruit juice from concentrate with no added sugar is a relatively healthy beverage that is comparable to freshly squeezed juice.
- By contrast, juice drinks and juice cocktails from concentrate have refined sugars and flavours added to them and are not healthy for your body when consumed in large quantities.
Let’s understand now what are canned or bottled or aseptic juices?
Thermally processed fruit juices (canned, bottled, flexible and/or aseptically packed) means unfermented but fermentable product – pulpy, turbid or clear – intended for direct consumption. These are obtained by a mechanical process from sound, ripe fruit or the flesh thereof, and processed by heat, in an appropriate manner, before or after being sealed in a container, so as to prevent spoilage. The juice may have been concentrated and later reconstituted with water suitable for the purpose of maintaining the essential composition and quality of the juice.
Fresh Fruit Juice vs. Packaged Juice vs. Street Vendor Juice
One may very well be confused about the difference between fresh juices made at home or at a juice shop and the packed ones available at the grocery store. Benefits of each one are given below:
- Freshly squeezed juice at home or the street vendor’s has to be consumed within half an hour or so, while packaged juice has a longer shelf life and also retains its taste and nutritional quality.
- Fresh juice may develop acidity after the extraction. Packaging allows the fruit juice to remain fresh.
- From a health perspective, fresh juice is always preferable but it has limited availability during off season.
- When a whole fruit is pressed or squeezed to make juice, some of the nutrients, most notably fibre and the water-soluble vitamins, are lost in the process.
- Studies show that drinking juice in the morning on an empty stomach – or at least half an hour before a meal – is the most beneficial time of the day to have fresh juice. This is when your stomach is empty and hungers for food, and will absorb anything you consume.
Consumer VOICE tested 9 brands of Fruit Juice and Fruit Beverages against the permissible limits of sugar, of to know the healthiest mixed fruit juices and fruit drinks.