This morning I was driving into work and heard a news blurb that a local hospital chain is eliminating the regular sodas in all of their vending machines and changing over to water, diet soda and juice. They reasoned that having only healthy choices would encourage patients and visitors to “have an easier time being successful when it comes to their health.” Successful? Is this really a healthy or even better choice?
I understand that this is potentially controversial and this is purely my own opinion so please obviously make your own decisions for your individual situation. Have you ever taken a fresh orange and squeezed it for juice? You can squeeze it with all your might. You can toss it in a blender or juicer and puree that sucker into oblivion. You get on average 2 ounces of juice from that one orange. If you drink juice, I’d hazard a guess that you don’t drink a teeny tiny 2 ounce glass.
If you tried to go to a restaurant and find a 2 ounce glass on the menu, I bet you wouldn’t find one. A quick check of the two breakfast chain restaurant menus around here showed 10, 12, and 16 ounce glasses. That’s approximately 5 – 8 oranges and up to 40 grams of sugar according to their nutritional chart. As a point of reference, a 16 oz soda on their menu has 33 grams of sugar. Yes, you’d save 7 grams of sugar ordering the soda. I’m specifically quoting sugar grams not total carb grams.
Shocking. I’m not saying that soda doesn’t have other downsides like tooth enamel stripping acid and lack of nutritional value, or that juice doesn’t have vitamin C and other redeeming qualities. I’m not saying to not drink the juice or the soda. I’m saying that you can’t assume that juice is a successful choice for your health regardless of whether it is available in a place that heals people or that it originated from a healthy source.
Eating a whole fruit is a far better choice than drinking juice. The fiber in fruit will work to keep you full longer, plus you are more likely to eat just one fruit than to pound down a half a dozen or more of them as you would with a juice equivalent. Can you imagine that insulin spike after eating that much fruit?! If you manage to drink your couple shot glasses of juice and save the rest for later, more power to you. You probably aren’t the average person. 😉
Educate yourself so that you’re prepared to make health choices for your situation. If you know the facts and choose juice, I have no issue with that choice at all. I fully encourage the mindset that nothing is off limits. The issue I have is misleading people into thinking that the best choices are being presented when that may not be the case. Most of us struggle enough with figuring out what to choose and what not to. We sure don’t need health figures giving us more gray areas of confusion.
Consider this. When is the last time you spilled a real orange or shattered one when you dropped it? They’re perfectly portable too! Are you thinking that you’ll just stick with the diet soda? Don’t even get me started on my thoughts on diet soda. I’d pick a regular soda over diet at gunpoint just about any day. Do your body a favor and choose the water.