Monday’s medical myth: fruit juice is healthier than soft drink

Fruit juice contains as much sugar as soft drink. Gail M Tang

Monday’s medical myth: fruit juice is healthier than soft drink

Fruit juice contains as much sugar as soft drink. Gail M Tang

We often hear, from health experts and well-meaning parents, that soft drink is terribly unhealthy and we should opt for fruit juice instead. But apart from a few additional vitamins and minerals, there isn’t much that differentiates fruit juice from soft drink: both beverages will give you the same sugar and calorie hit.

Before you start venting in the comments section below, let me make an important disclaimer: fruit juice does have a few redeeming health benefits that make it a little better than soft drink. Prune juice can alleviate constipation, cranberry juice helps reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and many juices contain micronutrients such as vitamin C and potassium.

But these nutrients are found in many other foods. And vitamin C and potassium deficiency are hardly public health issues in Australia.

One of the biggest assumptions about fruit juice is it must be healthy because it’s full of “natural sugars”. Fruit juice does contain natural sugar, which is a mix of fructose, sucrose and glucose, but the quantity (and kilojoules) is on par with soft drinks.

Kids who drink fruit juice are more likely to be overweight than kids who don’t. Xavi Talleda