Archive for the tag - juice

These Foods Have More Vitamin C Than Orange Juice – And Less Sugar.

Hot Green Chili Peppers -1We all know that orange juice is a great source of vitamin C; in fact, OJ has more than an entire day’s worth in a single cup.

We also know that vitamin C is associated with a number of health benefits. Though vitamin C doesn’t protect against the common cold (this is a popular misconception), it does guard against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye problems and even wrinkled skin.

But here’s the deal.

Fruit juices including OJ aren’t particularly good for you. In fact, many fruit juices are only marginally better than soda. Even 100% fruit juices fall short; they are high in sugar, calorie-dense and devoid of the fiber that makes fruit both healthy and filling.

If you want vitamin C but without the sugar, consider vegetables. As it turns out, there are a number of vegetables rich in vitamin C.

You can get a days worth of vitamin C from:

  • 3/4 cup chopped broccoli
  • 3/4 cup Brussels sprouts
  • 3/4 cup chopped kale
  • 1/6 cup chopped green chili pepper
  • 1/2 of a bell pepper
  • 1 and 1/4 cups chopped cauliflower

The bottom line is that your morning cup of orange juice isn’t doing you any good. In fact, it might actually be working against your fitness goals.

A diet that’s rich in vegetables is easily going to give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs. No juice required.

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Is Cold-Pressed Juice Better?

efa019113854f004077736beca4a59ecThese days, everyone is juicing. And I’m not talking steroids. Juices, juice bars and even juice cleanses (which are a bad idea) are all the rage.

If you’re into juicing, you’ve probably noticed a trend toward cold-pressed juices. But what does cold-pressed mean? And are cold-pressed juices really a better option?

Let’s break it down.

Traditional juicers are called centrifugal juicers; they work by spinning a metal blade against a mesh strainer that separates the juice from the fruit or vegetable flesh. This is what you’ll commonly see at kitchen supply stores, and they’re usually fairly inexpensive.

Cold press juicers work by pressing and crushing fruits, vegetables and even nuts to extract as much juice as possible. The process results in a higher juice yield than centrifugal juicers.

Often times, cold press enthusiasts will note that the fast-spinning blade found in traditional juicers generates heat, and thus destroys some of the nutrients in the process. The authenticity of this claim is doubtful; the force and friction of cold pressing also generates heat. The real advantage of cold pressing is that, because so much liquid is extracted, the resulting juice is more flavorful, abundant and colorful. And you can press things (like nuts or wheatgrass) that would otherwise be difficult or impossible with a centrifugal juicer.

On the downside, cold pressed juice and juicers are more expensive – so there’s a bit of a tradeoff. And remember, cold-pressed or otherwise, juicing fruits and vegetables leaves all that good fiber behind in the pulp. It’s not necessarily as healthy as you might imagine. Juice, even when it’s rich in nutrients, tends to be very calorie dense, especially when it’s made from fruit.

So everything in moderation! Even those fancy, overpriced cold-pressed juices.

Is Juicing Healthy?

Dear Davey,

What is your take on juice fasting? Is it a good option for those wishing to lose weight?


155352030Dear Julio,

The long and short of it is that juicing to lose weight is a fad diet. It’s not sustainable long term – and it’s not something that I’d recommend.

There are a few issues with juicing.

For one, the act of juicing strips the fruit or vegetable of its fiber content. Most of us don’t get enough fiber as it is, and juicing doesn’t help. Without the fiber-rich skin that the juicer leaves behind, juice acts a lot like soda. Stripped of fiber, juice can result in unhealthy blood sugar spikes. And fiber also helps you feel full longer.

Many juice diets also lack protein. Much like fiber, protein helps you feel full; without it, you’ll can be subject to extreme hunger pangs that may sabotage your diet. Moreover, inadequate protein intake can cause reductions in muscle mass during weight loss. Protein performs many other important functions – like helping to control blood glucose and providing a boost to your metabolic rate.

Extreme dieting and radical calorie restrictions may result in initial weight loss. But keep in mind that the body is very resilient – and if it goes into starvation mode, it will fight like hell to preserve any fat stores. Starvation diets result in large decreases in the body’s metabolism – and are thus are generally associated with equally large increases in weight once food consumption resumes.

Juicing fans claim a number of benefits including decreased cancer risk, lower risk of heart disease and a boost to the body’s immune system. They also espouse the detoxifying properties of juicing. Though I’ve yet to see any scientifically valid evidence supporting the detox claim (your liver and kidney detoxify your body with or without juicing), the other benefits likely have more to do with eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables rather than juicing. Indeed, plant-based diets to lower the risk of many cancers and diseases – but it has nothing to do with juicing.

In moderation, consuming fruit or vegetable juices can be perfectly healthy and part of a balanced diet. Many of the juices are rich in nutrients – but juicing isn’t a weight loss or diet program in and of itself. Moreover, nothing beats eating the whole fruit or vegetable – skin and all.

How to Make a Healthier Smoothie: 7 Tips.

ingredients-for-kale-smoothieI’m the first to admit that I LOVE smoothies. Not only are they refreshing and satisfying, but they’re also a great way to fuel your body with a whole slew of nutrients.

The problem is, not all smoothies are created equal. And many of the smoothies that you might buy at a local mall kiosk are actually terribly unhealthy. They can be loaded with calories, sugar and unhealthy fats. For example, a medium strawberry hulk smoothie from Smoothie King has nearly 1,000 calories and 125 grams of sugar. Yikes!

To upgrade your smoothie, here are a few tips:

  1. Never use fruit syrups. If you’re buying a smoothie, ask if it’s made with real fruit. Many smoothie shops and cafes blend their smoothies with a sweetened, sugar-rich syrup that is anything but healthy. Only drink smoothies made with fresh or frozen (but unsweetened) fruit.
  2. Stay away from smoothies made with ice cream or frozen yogurt. Again, ask the cashier if the smoothie contains frozen yogurt or ice cream. You’d be surprised to learn that many do. Unfortunately, it turns your smoothie into a milkshake and dramatically increases calories, sugar and unhealthy fats. Don’t do it!
  3. Replace base with water and ice. Many smoothies are blended with either a dairy base of skim milk, almond milk, soy milk or fruit juice. For one, fruit juice is nearly as bad as soda. And while the various milks may be healthier, they’re still rich in calories and unnecessary for an enjoyable smoothie. As an experiment, try replacing whatever base you use for your smoothie with water. It sounds completely unsatisfying – but you’ll discover the exact opposite. The smoothie is still really good!
  4. Don’t add sweeteners. Many recipes call for a touch of honey, agave nectar, etc. When you’re already blending a smoothie with naturally sweet fruit, added sweeteners are really unnecessary. In exchange for a bit of sweetness, they crank up the smoothie’s calorie content. Avoid them.
  5. Nix unhealthy add-ons. Chocolate syrup, cool whip and the like are delicious. But they’ll sabotage your smoothie’s nutrition. Moreover, smoothies are still totally delicious without them. They’re definitely not needed.
  6. Try mixing in some vegetables. Though most people stick with fruit smoothies, add some vegetables into the mix. Vegetables are often lower in sugar and less calorie-dense, but still packed with flavor and nutrients. Kale is always a favorite! Avocados are also good – though technically they are a fruit.
  7. Pack in some protein. If you want to make your smoothie a bit hardier or if you need help meeting your daily protein requirement, add in a scoop of powdered protein. Though powdered protein isn’t typically known for tasting good, all the fruity goodness of your smoothie will drown out the protein’s undesirable flavor.

By putting these 7 tips into practice, you’ll never be tricked into drinking an unhealthy smoothie again! And if you have any additional tips, please share them in the comments below!

Can Too Much Fruit Make You Gain Weight?

Dear Davey,

I love fruit! I eat it several times a day, but I’ve heard that too much fruit isn’t necessarily a good thing. Can eating too much fruit make you gain weight?


Fruit: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Thanks for the great question. Most people are surprised to learn that too much of anything can make you gain weight…. Even steamed broccoli!

Weight gain occurs when you take more calories in than you burn off in a day. Of course, because vegetables like broccoli are less calorie dense than many other foods, you’d probably fill up before achieving a calorie surplus.

Fruits, on the other hand, tend to have several times the calories of non-starchy vegetables when compared ounce for ounce. The higher caloric count in fruit is due to its sugar content; therefore, it’s important to consume fruits in moderation.

It’s worth noting that though fruit is often high in sugar, fruits are packed with many other healthy nutrients and are often rich in fiber. High fiber diets may lower the risk of colon cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes – and fiber helps normalize bowel movements and lower cholesterol. Fiber even facilitates weight loss by minimizing blood sugar spikes and helping dieters feel full and satisfied. As such, it’s not fair to put apples and ice cream in the same category just by virtue of their sugar content.

Government guidelines recommend 2 cups of fruit per day. Opt for fresh or frozen fruit – and stay away from dried fruits which often contain added sugar. They’re also easier to overeat. Fruit juice, which usually contains very little fiber (and usually very little fruit), doesn’t count. Apples, berries, bananas, papayas, melons, avocados (yup, it’s a fruit!) guavas and kiwis are often regarded as some of the healthiest fruit choices available.

So eat up – just do so in moderation!

Is Juice Healthier Than Soda?

Dear Davey,

I always assumed that drinking juice was healthier than drinking soda. Due to my dislike of water, I tend to drink huge amounts of it. Is drinking juice really any healthier than soda? Or am I just replacing one unhealthy beverage with another.


Most fruit juice’s are really just soda’s evil twin.

First and foremost, a recent study found that the average “fruit” drink contains less than 10 percent of actual fruit juice. The rest is just sugar, water, flavoring, coloring and a few added nutrients.

Second, even 100% real fruit juice beverages are nothing to celebrate. They are a very calorie-dense food product. A half cup of apple juice, for example, contains as many calories as an entire apple – but without the fiber that makes it both healthy and filling. You’re left with a sugary beverage that’s marginally healthier than soda. Sugar consumption, regardless of the form in which it is consumed, has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

And don’t be fooled by clever packaging. “No sugar added” doesn’t mean, for example, that a product is low in sugar. Serving sizes are also often manipulated. Though the package my list the serving as a half cup, consider how much juice you’ll actually drink in a glass. Your actual portion may be 2 or 3 times larger.

Moreover, the sweetness of fruit juices can be addicting. When you consume sugary foods or drinks, you feed your sweet tooth – and then crave more sweetness. In many ways, sugar is like a drug – and fruit juice contributes to that negative cycle. In fact, a 2009 study concluded that sugar bingeing causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings much like addictive drugs.

When you’re reaching for a glass of fruit juice, you’re not doing your body a favor; water is the preferred beverage of choice. Having said that, if you can’t get yourself to drink water, try these tips:

  1. Water down your juice. Doing so will cut the calories and sugar per serving, and you’ll still get much of the flavor.
  2. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your water. You won’t be adding calories – but you’ll get an extra kick.
  3. Switch to vegetable juice. Vegetable juices tend to be lower in sugar, but check the label.

Most people recognize that soda is an unhealthy choice. I’d recommend thinking of most fruit juices in the same way. The bottom line is that you’re certainly not doing your health, your body or your fitness goals any favors by drinking fruit juice.