|Reading Between The Labels|
|Juices & Smoothies|
|Juices and smoothies are often consumed for their health benefits: vitamins, minerals, enzymes, cleansing elements and other anti-aging goodness from a fruit or vegetable. |
For example, prune juice is associated with a digestive health benefit.
Cranberry juice has long been known to help prevent or even treat bladder infections, and it is now known that a substance in cranberries prevents bacteria from binding to the bladder.
|Common juice descriptions|
'From concentrate' usually involves heating the juice to a very high temperature and evaporating off the water. This leaves a syrup that's a small proportion of the original juice and allows it to be shipped to its destination. When the concentrated juice arrives at its destination, water is added back to restore the juice to its original volume. Usually ''add-backs' are then added back to give the juice a 'fresh' aroma.
The process that concentrates juice is pretty harsh. And because it's harsh, using the best fruit when you're doing it may not be practical. So concentrate manufacturers may use lower quality fruits when they're making them. Also it's pretty obvious that concentrating a juice will affect the taste. Typically it won't taste as good as fresh fruit juice. The excess heat can also affect the nutritional goodness. You can see this one has significantly less vitamin C than the organic juice because if the processing.
The term 'fruit juice' can only legally be used to describe a product which is 100% fruit juice. Many fruit juices are filtered to remove fibre or pulp, and therefore they are usually low in fibre. This is a concern for many people who are not getting enough fibre and who suffer from constipation and other bowel problems. High pulp fresh orange juice 'with bits' are becoming more popular as they are more natural and contain more fibre.
However, the term 'juice drink' can be used to describe any drink which includes juice, even if the juice content is 1% of the overall volume.
|How can a juice be organic?|
The oranges would need to be grown using a system which avoids the use of soluble fertilisers, pesticides, growth regulators and other chemicals. Food can only be labeled and marketed as organic when produced on a farm certified as organic and inspected by an official certification body.
|Can vitamins deplete the longer the carton has been left on the shelf?|
Yes, but the values given on the carton should indicate the amount of the vitamin left in the juice on the last day of its shelf-life, so if you drink it before this date, you should be guaranteed at least the same amount of vitamins stated on the label.
|Per 250ml or as stated||Calories||Fat (g)||Sugar (g)||Fibre (g)||Vit C (mg)|
|Sqeez orange juice |
(from concentrate) (200ml)
|Freshly squeezed |
|Innocent strawberry & |
|Homemade strawberry & |
|1 medium orange||59||0.2||13.6||2.7||86|
|The best vitamin C content|
I would say the organic fresh orange juice as it has the best vitamin C content and has been less processed than the other two. It tastes the most natural to me too. The sugar content of all the juices is high even the organic has the equivalent of 4 teaspoons of sugar (20g) whereas the fresh fruit itself would have less. One piece of fruit has only 59 calories, less sugar and much more fibre and is still a great source of vitamin C.
|What are the benefits of smoothies compared to juices?|
With a juice - you get just that - the juice and only the juice, from the fruit (or vegetable) as it is pushed through the extractor or press. The fibre and pulp from the fruit is left behind. A smoothie is the whole fruit including the fibre blended together.
What you get from smoothies is a good supply of fibre - an essential nutrient in itself. Fibre helps to keep your system moving and provides the essential 'good' bacteria that you need in the gut.
|Because of the higher fibre content, smoothies take longer to digest - so you won't get that instant 'hit' of energy and vitality. What you will get is a sustained release of anti-aging nutrients over time. Depending on the ingredients a smoothie can be low Gi and can keep you going until the next meal without hunger pangs.|
|Which of the smoothies in the table above is the best?|
The homemade smoothie is best here in terms of vitamin C. This is because shop-bought smoothies are usually pasteurized to extend their shelf-life, and the heating during pasteurization would destroy some of the vitamin C. There is slightly less fibre in the homemade smoothie, but this could be boosted by adding some oats to the smoothie, or some extra berries or the whole banana.
|Top tips for making your own smoothies|
|Use ripe fruit|
|Seasonal and locally grown fruit is usually cheaper, at peak quality and tree-ripened for better flavour|
|Save money by using overripe fruit before it goes bad, like spotted bananas. Use them right away or freeze them in a resealable plastic bag for use later|
|Thicken a smoothie with yogurt and/or frozen fruit. The yogurt can be plain or flavoured, low fat and probiotic for added value|
|Click here for My Favourite Smoothie recipes!|