Current guidelines include 150ml of fruit juice as one of your 5 a day fruit and vegetables, once-a-day. This is only a small glass and it’s best to have this with a meal, to slow down the rise in blood glucose. Although you get vitamin C from fruit juice, it is also high in natural sugars and acids, which can damage your teeth. Drinking too much can also make you put on weight. Babies under 6 months shouldn’t be given fruit juice and the best drinks for children are water and milk. If you do want to start giving your children juice, remember to dilute it with water.
Fruit smoothies generally have more fibre, since they are made from a combination of pulped fruit and fruit juice. They also typically offer a low glycaemic index, esp veggie ones. Some smoothies can currently count as up to two portions of your 5 a day fruit and vegetable intake, but remember to check the label for the amount of sugar. When in doubt, choose a smaller bottle.
If you blend your own juice or smoothies at home, why not try adding some vegetables so you get less sugar in a glass?
Sugar rich soft drinks like cola give you sugar and not much else they don’t offer you any nutritional benefit, and it’s best to choose diet drinks instead.
The Bottom Line
The main thing to remember is that many drinks, including fruit juice, give you sugar as well as calories in liquid form. Because it’s a liquid, the drink gets digested and absorbed quickly and can make your blood glucose go up quickly. Also, it’s really easy to have a big portion size compared to if you were to eat real food. Line up six oranges and you’ll have a hard job trying to eat them, but squeeze six oranges into juice and you can gulp them in seconds. Having large amounts of sugary drinks can make you put on weight without being as satisfying a solid food. In a nutshell, choose sugar-free drinks and if you enjoy fruit-based drinks, have a small glass a day, with a meal.