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Should you drink juice?

May 17th, 2014 | no comments

This is a question I get asked quite often. If you’ve been reading my posts for any length of time, you know my motto is: No Food Is Forbidden. I stand by this statement and live it every day of my life. It helps support a healthy life-balance and gives me the freedom to choose. It puts the ball in my court. So juice-drinkers, breathe a sigh of relief—I’m not going to suggest you give it up. Not even for a second! (-;

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) there’s something you may not have considered about your favorite fruity beverage. While it’s true that 100% juice comes from fruit, contains no added sugar and offers up plenty of vitamin C, because it’s stripped of dietary fiber, juice does very little to count towards the f-factor of a meal. The f-factor is a term I use to describe a food’s ability to take hunger away for an extended period of time. This means if you drink a 16-ounce glass of apple juice with dinner, you’re downing about 240 calories and eating just as much food as you would’ve had you drank no juice. Why? Because liquid calories (as yummy as they are) do not satisfy like solid calories, so you won’t compensate by eating any less. Bummer!

Here’s what to do:

Think of the caloric-equivalent of that 16-ounce glass of juice and picture it as solid food sitting on your plate. For example, let’s say you’re sitting down to a dinner of grilled pork chops, seasoned rice and grilled veggies. The juice has about the same amount of calories as a 3-ounce pork chop. So it’s just like putting another pork chop on your plate! After this consideration, if you still decide to drink the juice, try shrinking the portion to make it fit. I recommend capping juice at four ounces a day. You still get to enjoy the deliciousness but with much less impact!

If you decide that it’s really not worth it, how about having a piece of fruit with that meal instead? Because it has a generous amount of dietary fiber, whole fruit (especially fruit eaten with the skin on, like apples and pears) really helps put a dent in the f-factor of the meal. Eat a sliced apple with the pork chop dinner and I guarantee you will feel the difference (and probably leave some food on your plate!)

Bottom Line: Liquid calories do not satisfy like solid ones. If you decide you can’t live without it, 100% juice can fit into a healthy meal plan! Just pay attention to portion size and you will be fine!

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