Much Ado about Juice

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Eric Marcotte, MD

The apple juice scrum Dr. Oz started a few months ago came roaring back to life last month.  The original kerfuffle got the FDA to write emails, issue statements and even be interviewed by the Dr. Oz show according to his website.

Like most ‘crises’ this one faded quickly when some celebrity got arrested or engaged or whatever.  The debate got louder again last week when Consumer Reports published lead and arsenic levels in 10 national juice brands.  Dr. Oz may be a bit sensational but not many would accuse stodgy CR of exaggerating.

Buried in a then-unnoticed article from Consumer Reports, I found this little tidbit:

China now has become the world’s major exporter of apple juice concentrate, with America as its largest customer. Imports from China now account for two-thirds of the U.S. apple juice supply.

It turns out that China uses pesticides the US has long outlawed to grow their apples.  Seems like we just won’t learn: China has proven over and over that it isn’t a safe source for drugs (heparin), dog food (melamine), milk (also melamine) or even toys (lead).

Why would China be a good place to buy apple juice??

A different and probably louder demographic group is now lit up about apple juice, demanding government action to “protect our youth.”  Twitter (at least my little corner of it) has been buzzing about all this, stories flying around and looking more grim with each go-around.

I have an idea to bring a little sanity and safety to our grocery shopping.  Ready?

STOP DRINKING JUICE!!!

To quote this smart doctor I know (well, actually it’s just me…)

Yes, juice has vitamins – but so does the fruit! Yes, juice even has minerals and those antioxidants – but so does the fruit! Know what else juice has? Juice has more calories per ounce than Coke. Juice has more sugar than soda. Juice is easier to package and store and ship and sell than fruit. Juice is much sweeter than fruit so it’s easier to get kids to like it.

How do any of these things make juice good for you? They don’t – it’s not! Juice is good for the food and drink companies…. Let me repeat: Juice is not good for you!  Food Truths, Food Lies, pp. 33-4

Let’s skip the apple (and orange, grape, etc.) juice and eat the fruit instead.  Apple concentrate can make it across the ocean just fine, so our Big Food companies trying to make a buck will keep buying it wherever it’s cheap.

Apples?  Buy a bag and it likely came from no further away than Washington or Michigan.  In my town, I can buy apples most of the year that grew in my zip code.

Guess what?  That (American) apple is good for my digestion, waist line, world, and wallet.  Trading up from apple juice to an actual apple would be good for yours, too!

Eat Healthfully, Live Fully Healthy!

 

Eric Marcotte, MD is a small-town Family Physician who is passionate about helping his patients make healthy choices. “Your life and health are the only really valuable possessions you have.  Almost everything else can be repaired or replaced,” he says.  His book Food Truths, Food Lies is available on Amazon.

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  • K-Lo

    Frozen veggies, too. Even many “organic” frozen veg are product of china.

  • Jesslovetheo

    I NEVER give my kids juice. We eat the fruit. 

  • Jesslovetheo

    I NEVER give my kids juice. We eat the fruit. 

  • Brian

    It’s appalling how little people think about where their food comes from, and what is in the food they buy. 

  • Reddrida

    Geez!  I just kicked the Diet and Regular Soda habit and have been drinking a lot of water.  However, the hubby swears by Welch’s 100% Grape Juice which I drink sometimes but not a lot because it makes me feel full.  Guess I have to break the bad news to him! 

  • carol

    Even whole/fresh apples can be full of pesticides (and are one of the worst fruit sources according to studies). Go for organic, domestic. But juice won’t kill you. Just drink small amounts and dilute it with 1/2 water (so easy, but few people realize that’s how you reduce the sugar). It tastes good and helps people drink more water. Also the following isn’t really true: “juice has vitamins – but so does the fruit! …juice even has minerals and those antioxidants – but so does the fruit!” Actually, there are few if any vitamins or antioxidants left in apple juice (or grape, etc.) after typical processing. Then again, fresh apples don’t have much in the way of vitamins either… but antioxidants and fiber, yes.

  • DeathByJuice

    OH NO. I drank some juice once. I did not understand it would kill me. I do not want to die. But I drank some juice and now I must die. I blame the government. They killed me with juice. Farewell cruel world. Oh well, it was pretty tasty, the juice. Not worth dying over. Dammit. Dammit all. Drank some juice and now good as dead. And all this time I was watching my salt so I could live forever. Should have been watching the juice. Just like drinking Drano, drinking juice. Kills you dead. Cough. Hack. This is the big one, good as gone. They will have to entomb my ashes in Chernobyl because I must be so full of deadly toxins from the juice I drank once. Worse than radiation, juice is. Kills you dead. One sip and bango, you’re doomed. No antidote. Just gonna die. Death by juice. That’s what it will say on the death certificate. That’s the epitaph I want on my tombstone. Survived a war. Survived a car accident. Only to be killed by juice. Oh, the inhumanity.

  • Nancy

    I stopped buying/drinking juice 15+ years ago. Now I only buy it when my nieces and nephews come to visit. Don’t feel right trying to impose eating habits/standards that their parents don’t — but maybe I should! I even tell my mom the “just eat the fruit” advice. Thanks for a great post!

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