Supermarket sweep: fruit juices rated

The sugar content in some supermarket juices rivals that of soft drinks. Dietitian Jemma O’Hanlon assesses the risk from juice.

Juice is simply the concentrated version of fruit itself. You don’t need it every day, but once in a while is fine. Although it’s rich in the same nutrients as fresh fruit including vitamin C, folate and potassium, you get loads more benefits from eating the real deal. The juice is bundled with dietary fibre, which keeps you fuller for longer. When fruit is juiced, the spider web of fibre inside is shoved aside and all that’s left is the liquid sugar.

How is juice digested?

The body processes fruit juice very differently to fruit. While most juices have a low glycaemic index (GI), their glycaemic load (GL) is often higher due to the amount you drink. The juice rushes into the blood and blood sugar levels rise. Fresh fruit is harder for the body to break down, so the natural sugars will enter the bloodstream gradually.

Pulpy and cold-pressed juices

These are better choices, but they can’t beat fresh fruit. Another consideration is that juices don’t fill us up like fresh fruit – there are five oranges in one glass of juice, but you’d never eat five oranges in one go!

Veggie juices

Dietary guidelines say we need two serves of fruit a day and five veg, so think about this ratio when you buy. Even better, if you’ve got a blender, throw in whole carrots, ginger, turmeric and even kale. You could also add protein powder for a post-workout drink.

How much can I have?

Be careful with your portion size, especially if you’re entering your digits into MyFitnessPal and counting your macros. If you can’t give up your morning OJ, stick to ½ a cup (125ml), then have a whole piece of fruit later in the day. Overall, keep juice as a sometimes food, drink water if you’re thirsty and get stuck into nature’s lollies on an everyday basis.

Top marks

  • Nudie Nothing But Veggies (& Fruity Goodness): This “garden of veggies” has carrot, beetroot, celery, cucumber, kale, zucchini, parsley, lettuce and spinach.
  • Cawston Press Brilliant Beetroot: With 90% pressed beetroot juice and 10% apple, it’s rich in potassium and a fantastic pre-workout.
  • V8 Vegetable Juice: This one has 214kJ per serve, 1.9g of dietary fibre and 100% of the RDI for vitamin C.

Good choices

  • Preshafruit Cold Pressed Juice Pink Lady Apple: A portion-controlled juice (just 229kJ) so you don’t overdo it.
  • Nudie Nothing But 2.5 Oranges: 100% Australian oranges.
  • Impressed Cold Pressed Ginger Ninja – Carrot, Apple, Ginger and Turmeric: At 300kJ per serve, don’t get carried away!

Watch your portions

  • Pressed Juices Antiox 2: You’ll want to sip this slowly over a day or two as one serve contains more than 1000kJ.
  • Daily Juice Co Apple, Pear, Kiwifruit + Lime Juice: It might have a five-star rating, but it contains reconstituted juices and 10 serves per bottle.
  • Mildura Tropical Fruit Drink: This has reconstituted fruit juices, added sugar, preservatives, flavours and colours.