Juice is typically sold in concentrate form to increase its shelf life and to reduce its shipping weight when sent from fruit-producing regions and countries to your local supermarket. Some nutrients are lost in the process, but 100 percent juice from concentrate with no added sugar is a healthy beverage that is comparable to fresh squeezed juice. By contrast, juice drinks and juice cocktails from concentrate have refined sugars and flavors added and are not healthy for your body in large quantities. Check the labels on juice cartons for additives.
As a general rule, the more processing a food undergoes, the more potential there is for nutrient loss. As such, juice concentrate contains less than fresh juice, due mainly to evaporation and filtration techniques. However, according to “The Complete Book of Food Counts,” the differences are not great. One cup of 100 percent orange juice from concentrate, for example, contains about 100 milligrams of vitamin C and 40 micrograms of beta-carotene, compared to 125 milligrams of vitamin C and 80 micrograms of beta-carotene in fresh squeezed varieties.
High Blood Sugar
Fresh squeezed and concentrated fruit juices are naturally high in fructose, especially apple and grape juices, and should be consumed in moderation because high blood sugar levels force your pancreas to secrete extra insulin to shuttle the glucose into your cells. Any that is not needed is stored as fat, which contributes to obesity. However, if a juice drink from concentrate contains high-fructose corn syrup, the problem is magnified because of the excess sugar that is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. According to the book “Functional Biochemistry in Health and Disease,” consumption of high-fructose corn syrup is linked to obesity, hyperactive behavior and increased risk of type-2 diabetes.
Natural fruit juices have alkalizing effects on your body, which generally promote health because many biochemical reactions occur more efficiently in an alkaline pH. Your blood, for example, is strictly maintained at an alkaline pH of nearly 7.35. On the other hand, juices with added sugars promote acidity, which can reduce immune response and encourage proliferation of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. According to “Human Biochemistry and Disease,” drinking additionally sweetened juice may also irritate stomach ulcers and acid reflux disease.
Juice from concentrate has most of its water removed through filtration, extraction and evaporation processes. Evaporation involves heating the juice to high temperatures and extraction involves adding some chemicals to get a more condensed product, according to the “Dictionary of Food Science and Technology.” The juice is also pasteurized as part of the process to extend its shelf life. Before you buy juice at your supermarket, water is either added to it or it is frozen in smaller containers and must be added to water at home. Even 100 percent fruit juice from concentrate can contain additives to enhance color, flavor and nutritional content, so read labels before you buy.
Definition of Juice
In the United States, the term “fruit juice” can only legally be used to describe a beverage that is 100 percent fruit juice. Fruit juices blended with other ingredients, such as high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, are called juice cocktails, juice drinks or nectar. The term “no sugar added” should not be confused with no or low sugar because natural fruit juice is rich in fructose sugar.