For decades, juice has been an American’s refrigerator staple and considered a “healthy” choice for adults and kids. With obesity becoming a growing concern, the medical community is reconsidering the health benefits and qualities of juice. Sugary beverages are in the crosshairs of medical research and are thought to be one of the major drivers of American weight gain. Recently, researchers are coming to the conclusion that juice is more similar to soda and sports drinks than ever considered before. Financial Education Benefits Center (FEBC), a membership benefits company, offers select benefits such as discounts for groceries and health and wellness resources to aid its members in making more healthy choices.
“Since juice comes from fruit, it just seems healthy,” said Jennifer Martinez, manager at FEBC. “But it is important to have a good grasp of what is good for your body and what is not. Hopefully, with our benefits, clients will have more healthy choices available to them.”
Americans add an average of about 145 calories a day with sugary beverages mainly by drinking soda. This figure has not included juice — until now. The average American drinks 6.6 gallons of juice per year, and more than half of pre-school age children drink 10 ounces of juice per day, which is double the recommended amount. Ten ounces of juice has over eight teaspoons of sugar and is nearly the same amount of sugar that is in a cola or similar beverage.
Further, not only does juice have high sugar content, but juice also does not have even close to the number of benefits that come from the actual (non-juiced) fruits themselves. Whole fruit has much more fiber and complex vitamins. Also, drinking juices is much easier than eating and preparing an actual whole fruit, so drinking juice can be consumed quickly and often lead to overconsumption. Research has also found that drinking juice before a meal made subjects hungrier, which led to the subjects eating more calories during their meal. Increasingly, juice is considered a “gateway” beverage. One-year-olds who regularly consumed juice drank more sugary beverages, including soda, in their school-age years.
Though juice may not be as healthy an option as thought, there are still many whole fruits and vegetables and other foods that are filling and delicious at the grocery store. FEBC provides its members discounts for food and groceries as well as a host of health and wellness benefits including potential discounts on cardio, yoga and strength training. “We want our members’ lives to be as healthy as possible, so we do our best to offer discounts that have the potential to help them eat healthier and get into shape and stay fit,” said Martinez.