Think of your all-time favorite rock song: Hey Jude, London Calling, Smells Like Teen Spirit, whatever. Now imagine that the next time you crank it up, all the guitar riffs will be replaced by violins. Kinda weak, right?
Well that’s akin to what happens when you turn a fruit into fruit juice: You still have the flavor, but you don’t have the grit, the substance, the power. Even the very best fruit juice isn’t as nutritious as the fruit it originally came from, because the fiber that makes a piece of fruit so filling has been stripped away:
Instead of filling your belly like an apple or an orange, juice just passes through your gastrointestinal tract like a little stream of sugar. It’s like listening to “Hey Jude” without the “Na-na-na na” part at the end. The sweet melody is intact, but the soul is lost. So as a rule, always choose the original version (that would be the fruit) over the Muzak version (that would be the juice).
That doesn’t mean juice is a terrible choice—after all, it’s still a great way to get your daily quota of vitamins and minerals. Problem is, a lot of what food marketers try to sell us as “juice” is about as healthy for you as, well, being chased down a highway in a white Ford Bronco. Manufacturers have found that mixing a lot of water and sugar with a tiny bit of fruit flavoring and calling it “juice” is a great way to get health-conscious consumers to pony up the bucks for the liquid equivalent of Skittles.