Many people strive to lose weight and feel healthier by choosing smarter juice beverages, but fall into the trap of choosing sugary drinks masquerading as healthy options. In general, the healthiest juice has the fewest ingredients added to it, and therefore is as close to the natural fruit or vegetable as possible. Depending on your goals, vegetable juice may be a better option than fruit juice.
The best healthy juice should contain plenty of nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants, that benefit the body in some way. These juices may be from fruit, vegetables, or both. Many brands of healthy juice include juice from multiple fruits and vegetables to provide a wide range of nutrients. Often, healthy juices contain juice from expensive or unusual fruits or vegetables, such as acai or prickly pears, that offer an even broader range of flavors and nutrients outside of the standard juices. Many popular juices are made from “super foods” or “super fruits,” which may have some extra nutritional or antioxidant benefits when compared with regular fruits.
When searching for healthy juice options, look for drinks that contain only the natural sugars from the fruits or vegetables from which the juice was made. Added sugar may boost the flavor of the juice, but it will make it much less healthy and will likely raise the number of calories as well, often past that of sugary snack foods and candies. Be aware that the ingredient list may not directly state “sugar” as an added ingredient, but may list corn syrups or artificial sweeteners instead. Also, if the expiration date is months into the future, that is a sign the juice may contain a significant amount of preservatives. Look for a short ingredient list without sweeteners or chemicals added, either as added flavor or as preservatives.
If you are deciding between fruit juice and vegetable juice, you should be aware that juice made from vegetables is likely to be lower in sugar than fruit juice, and may contain more nutrients as well. Tomato, beet, and carrot juices are popular healthy juice options, but some people find the taste disagreeable and prefer to stick with juice made from fruits or a blend of fruits and vegetables. If for taste reasons you prefer the more sugary fruit options, you can lessen the calories and sugar per serving by diluting your juice with some cold water.