On the grocery shelves, there are usually myriads of local and imported juices, and often consumers don’t understand the differences between fruit juice and fruit drink, other than its prices. Beverages made from 100 percent fruit juice will say so on the label and if it does not, it is a fruit drink. Fruit juice is freshly prepared by mashing the pulp of the fruit while a fruit drink is a sugary solution that contains the colour and flavour of the fruit, but not the real fruit juice. Using real fruit juice instead of a drink as a chaser for a particular mixed beverage or cocktail would result in an overall better taste, very obvious to some yet completely unnoticeable to others.
Products labelled fruit juice are made from 100 percent real juice and contain only the natural sugars from the fruit, however, it is important to note, even though the sugar in fruit juice is from a natural source, your body treats all sugar the same. Too much sugar from any source can result in tooth decay, weight gain, diabetes and other health problems. The calories you get from drinking juice do not make you feel full like the actual fruit does. Although some fruit juices provide essential vitamins and minerals, eating actual whole fruits provide fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients, that work synergistically to nourish the body, protect it from free radical damage and contribute to having a healthy gut, teeth and gums.
Fruit-flavoured drinks are made to look like juice, but are just added sugar and water with some flavours. Drinks labelled fruit drink, punch, cocktail, beverage or have ‘ade’ at the end of the name for example lemonade, are not real juice because they are made with added sugar or may contain high-fructose corn syrup which tastes similar to table sugar but costs less, and is often used in processed food and beverages to enhance the taste. The words ‘made with real juice’ do not mean the drink is one hundred percent fruit juice and more than likely has added artificial sweeteners and flavorings. Although some fruit drinks contain added vitamins, this does not make them a healthy choice.
Read the ingredients list on labels, and if it’s lengthy, it’s probably a fruit drink. Ingredients are listed on the label in descending order by weight. If water is listed as the first ingredient on the list, followed by high-fructose corn syrup and a series of extracts, acids, and sweeteners, the juice drink is not one hundred percent real juice.
Eating whole fruit its pulp and skin (where applicable), is always best and will provide you with a whole lot more nutrition than fruit juice.