Fruit Juice Frustration

May 20, 2008

OK…so I’m not a nutritionist, but I have to pass along some advice that just changed the way I think about hydration. First let me tell you about my drinking habits—on a typical morning, I’d grab a cranapple juice from the machine or a small Tropicana orange juice from the corner deli. During long rehearsal days, I’d go to the studio armed with a big bottle of Welch’s white grape juice. At night before bed, I’d chug down a refreshing glass of Dole’s pine/orange/banana. Sure, I’ve got a sweet tooth, but I also thought that I was doing something good for my body. How can so many fruit beverages be bad?  

I was arming my immune system with necessary vitamins and replenishing lost fluids. That’s a good thing, right?! Not necessarily. While one or two daily glasses of fruit juice are beneficial, drinking those sweet goodies all day long can have the opposite effect. As my doctor just advised me, consider all the sugar! Even glucose, the good kind, can litter your body with empty calories and actually contribute to dehydrated muscles. It gives you a short-lived energy boost without providing a lasting source of sustenance.  

Of course I know that my Nesquik chocolate milk is a splurge, but I never imagined that the juice I drink could contribute to weight gain and soreness! I’m not suggesting that you should give up the essential nutrients derived from a yummy glass of mango juice—just try watering it down for an even more quenching alternative. Reach past wholesome looking fruit drinks for a simple bottle of water. Maybe even hit the water fountain instead of the snack machine or take advantage of the Brita filter in your fridge. For me, substituting water for all that disguised sugar has really made a difference! I still consume enough fruit every day to maintain a healthy diet but I feel 100% better, fully hydrated and flushed of toxins. So the next time you are tempted to guzzle a gallon of your favorite juice, take a look at the nutrition facts on back of the carton. Depending on how you feel, it may or may not be the sweetest choice.