Tag Archives: nutrition

Is juice really that good for you?

You might want to think again next time you offer juice to your child to go with dinner. Juice has always been thought  to be a healthy option and good for you. But is juice really that good for you? In today’s market, it can be confusing when deciding what kind of juice to buy; cocktail, concentrate, 100 percent. What are the differences?

Juice and Adults

Say you’re trying to lose weight fast. An all liquid diet of vegetable juice and fruit juice sounds like a tempting choice. It seems filling and you think you’re getting the same health benefits as you would be from whole veggies and fruits. But are you really?

The problem with juice is that is exits our stomachs quicker than solid fruits and veggies, according to self.com’s  dietician, Willow Jarosh. This means that you won’t feel as full for as long.

“Not only do whole fruits and veggies keep you fuller…they do it on fewer calories. For instance you could eat 1 cup of cubed papaya for 55 calories, but 1 cup of most fruit juices contains twice the calories (110),” Jarosh said.

You do still get the nutrients and minerals in juice as you get from the solid food, however, you don’t get any fiber.

Types of Juices

There are so many different types of juices to choose from at the store from flavors to labels that aren’t so clear such as pasteurized, from concentrate, 100 percent and cocktail. So what do all these cryptic messages mean?

100 percent

Juice labeled 100 percent juice is juice that is only obtained from the liquids of the fruit or veggie. Fruit or vegetable juice can only count toward your daily intake if it is 100 percent juice. There are no added sugars in 100 percent juice. But there are still natural sugars found from the whole fruit, which can be a lot. In fact, “fruit juice contains about the same amount of sugar as the same amount of soft drink,” according to Dave Hall, who runs hookedonjuice.com.

Many juice brands who claim to be 100 percent juice have a little secret. It’s called a flavor pack. Huffington Post reported on these flavor packs using Gizmodo’s explanation of the process of making juice:

Once the juice is squeezed and stored in gigantic vats, they start removing oxygen. Why? Because removing oxygen from the juice allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. But! Removing that oxygen also removes the natural flavors of oranges. Yeah, it’s all backwards. So in order to have OJ actually taste like oranges, drink companies hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that make perfumes for Dior, to create these “flavor packs” to make juice taste like, well, juice again.

“The food industry follows its own logic because of the economies of scale. What works for you in your kitchen when making a glass or two of juice simply won’t work when trying to process thousands upon thousands of gallons of the stuff,” according to Food Renegade.

These flavor packs are made from orange by-product, but the catch is that they take certain chemicals from, say the orange peel, such as ethyl butyrate and overuse it, therefore, chemically altering the natural combination of chemicals found in oranges.

Concentrate

Juice from concentrate contains less water than 100 percent juice. This is because it receives a heat treatment that evaporates nearly all of the water from the naturally squeezed mixture. Once the water gets depleted from the liquid, only the flavorful contents remain behind. Companies do this to extend the life of juice which saves money. Juice concentrates can contain additives that work to maintain color, flavor and nutritional content within the juice. Consumer Reports experts say no notable nutritional differences exist between original and concentrate. Either of these two may be a blend of juices not apparent unless you read the label.

Drinks, cocktails

Juices with labels such as “fruit drink,” “cocktail” or “juice drink” may only contain 5 to 10 percent juice. They are also filled with water, sugar and artificial colors and flavorings, according to the WIC Nutrition Program. Basically, not really juice.

Pasteurized

According to the Center for Disease Control:

“pasteurized juice is heated to a high temperature for a short time before it is sold. By pasteurizing juice, pathogens (germs) which may be present in the liquid are killed. Most juice concentrate sold in grocery stores has been heat treated as part of the concentration process and this is equivalent to pasteurization. About 98% of all juices sold in the United States are pasteurized (1) . Pasteurized juice can be found as frozen concentrate, displayed at room temperature or in the refrigerated section of your supermarket. Pasteurized juice products may say “Pasteurized” on their labels. Besides pasteurization, some juices are treated with other processes.”

Juice and kids

Because juice, even if it is 100 percent natural, is high in sugar, it must be carefully rationed when given to children. Juice can cause an array of dental problems, especially if drank out of a sippy cup or bottle. Juice consumption can also be associated with diarrhea, flatulence, abdominal distention. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some helpful guidelines for parents in its report, The Use and Misuse of Juice in Pediatrics.

  • Juice should not be introduced into the diet of infants before 6 months of age.

  • Infants should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable covered cups that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. Infants should not be given juice at bedtime.

  • Intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 oz/d for children 1 to 6 years old. For children 7 to 18 years old, juice intake should be limited to 8 to 12 oz or 2 servings per day.

  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits to meet their recommended daily fruit intake.

  • Infants, children, and adolescents should not consume unpasteurized juice.

The report also says that juice should not be used in the treatment of dehydration or management of diarrhea and that excessive juice consumption may be associated with malnutrition (overnutrition and undernutrition).

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Olive oil; Good for you, but don’t cook with it

When you think of the Mediterranean you think of beautiful beaches, rocky coastline, exotic locals with tan skin and healthy appetites. The Mediterranean diet has long been thought to promote a healthy lifestyle and long life. And one of the major components of this diet if olive oil.

Drizzle it over a salad or infuse it with herbs to make a dipping sauce for bread, olive oil is thought to have many heath benefits. In fact, a 2003 study from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that “participants who had the highest consumption of olive oil consumed less cereal and baked goods but more eggs and vegetables, and had a higher vitamin intake than those who consumed the least amount of olive oil.”  The oleic acid found in olive oil has also been the subject of expanding research when it comes to insulin resistance, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. “Oleic acid can directly alter the activity of certain cancer genes and appears to have anti-cancer effects that may be part of the Mediterranean diet’s health benefits. This primary MUFA in extra virgin olive oil may also help to lower a person’s risk of insulin resistance as well as favorably altering some of the blood fat patterns that can be associated with risk of cardiovascular disease,” according to World’s Healthiest Foods. Health and olive oil seem to go hand in hand.

When I first got on the Paleo Diet in January, I noticed that many guides and recipes warned me repeatedly not to cook with olive oil. I blindly followed, always saying I would research it later. As a student of journalism, it is unnatural for me to just blindly follow anything without investigating it further and double checking against different sources, especially since I am no food expert and merely an experimenter. So the thought continued ragging on me until today when I did looked into the matter further.

So why shouldn’t we cook with olive oil?

Each oil has a certain smoke point. A smoke point is the temperature at which visible gaseous vapor from the heating of oil becomes evident. Basically it’s a sign when the decomposition of oil begins to take place. Decomposition changes the  chemical makeup of the oil and can reduced flavor and nutritional value and also cause harmful cancer causing compounds, called oxygen radicals.

So what’s the smoke point of olive oil?

Interestingly enough, there are different smoke points for different types of olive oil. Ever wonder what the difference between extra virgin olive oil and refined oil is? So did I. According to WHF:

  • Extra-virgin: derived from the first pressing of the olives (has the most delicate flavor).
  • Fine virgin: created from the second pressing of the olives.
  • Refined oil: unlike extra-virgin and fine virgin olive oils, which only use mechanical means to press the oil, refined oil is created by using chemicals to extract the oil from the olives.
  • Pure oil: a bit of a misnomer, it indicates oil that is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils.

It’s important to know which kind you are working with because each have different smoke points. Refine oil has a higher smoke point. Unfortunately, companies list different smoke points on their labels, which range from 220F to437F.

I buy the Filippo Berio brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They recommend 82F is the perfect temperature to taste. Furthermore, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not exposed to any damaging heat or chemicals from refining and it has no artificial preservatives or flavors.

So what are the alternatives?

Instead of cooking with olive oil, try cooking with butter. A spray or just a plain stick will work. Also, coconut oil is another good, natural cooking solution. Still love the taste of olive oil? Try drizzling you sautéed vegetables with olive oil after you’ve prepared them. Or create a salad dressing or sauce with herbs to flavor your food.

And remember the closer you get to virgin, the purer it’ll be 😉

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Now that the food cops have spoken…

 When you think of opinion pieces or the editorial section of the newspaper do you think of it as a page for uppity journalists to rant and rave about issues that really piss them off, or piss off the white, middle-age male population they write too?

To tell you the truth, that’s exactly what I think of when I read the Op-Eds.

But an editPhillip Morris, The Plain Dealerorial written by Phillip Morris about the state of nutrition in inner cities and how we can legislate diets opened my eyes to editorials. They can be revolutionary.

Morris really drills home a point at the end of his opinion, “A healthy appetite can’t be legislated. But it can be taught.”

My advice, read his piece. It’s short, but might as well say a thousand words.

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