A fruit juice or health drink may have more calories than you think

Are fruit juices a good option when trying to lose fat? Fruits are healthful, yes. So does that mean fruit juices are healthful? Unfortunately no. Let me explain.

Firstly, understand that fruits are Nature’s candy. For all practical fat loss purposes, they are high in sugar and contain traces of vitamins and minerals. In fact, one can lead a very healthy life not consuming a single fruit. Stated differently, there is nothing in fruit that one cannot obtain from other real foods such as vegetables, dairy, lentils etc.

That said, munching on fruit as a snack or as a post-meal dessert is more satiating and smart than wolfing down candy or other junk. This is primarily due to the fact that fruits are high in water content and contain fairly significant amounts of fibre. Also note that the process of chewing contributes immensely to satiation as digestion starts at the mouth.

Now when you take a fruit and process it into juice, even if it is made at home and no sugar is added, you do two things.

You remove the first step of digestion (chewing) from the process which makes the energy and nutrients available in the fruit very readily available to the body and hence the satiation index goes down.

And, you make yourself consume too much of a food that needs to be consumed in moderation, especially when fat loss is a goal.

So, in short, by not eating the fruit and by drinking a processed (juiced) version of the fruit, you trick your body into over-consuming the food and you feed your body way more sugar that is optimal. Solution? Eat the fruit. Drink your water.

Are malted health drinks really healthful?

This is an age old myth and something that can’t be busted in a few words. So I’m going to ask you to do two simple exercises.

Firstly, pick up your box of health drink, become blind to the marketing nonsense in front, turn it around and read the list of ingredients and the nutritional info on the back. Irrespective of the brand, you’ll notice that your “health” drink contains nothing more than processed flour, sugar (in many names), preservatives, additives, colouring and taste agents and synthetic vitamins and minerals. If you now read the nutritional info, you’ll see that about 80 plus per cent of calories come from sugar. So you tell me — does this sounds like health to you?

Now, do the same exercise with a chocolate bar. You’ll notice that many of the ingredients in your health drink are the same as the ones in the unhealthy chocolate bar except for the added synthetic vitamins and minerals. So maybe next time, you can skip the malted health drink and eat a chocolate Snickers bar along with a couple of multi-vitamin tablets. Right? Wrong.

Solution? Stay away from foods and brands that promise and promote heath in a box or fitness in a bottle and focus on wholesome real foods for to satiety.

(The writer is a certified fitness and nutrition expert.)

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