Unreal Eats is Healthy Living's original video series, where we go behind calorie counts and health claims to examine what's really in the processed foods that scream loudest in our food environment.
January is the month of juice: Your Instagram feed is full of cleansing acquaintances clutching their juice bottles in an effort to lose weight and your inbox is overflowing with offers from the biggest juice companies. Maybe even your coworkers are in on it -- suggesting you all "flush out the toxins" together.
Unfortunately, all of this is a bit of magical thinking on the part of your friends -- and marketing on the part of juice companies. There's nothing we can eat that will "detoxify" us -- our kidneys, liver and colon do that work for us. And chances are any weight loss is merely water coming off as you starve yourself. What's more, as the Mayo Clinic explains, juicing can actually lead to weight gain, thanks to mega-doses of sugar without any of fruit's naturally occurring fiber, which helps to mitigate the sugar during digestion. And, unfortunately, the isolated sugar from fruit looks very much like sugar from any other source -- it is merely a mixture of fructose and glucose, to which your body responds identically. At the very least, it can lead to a pretty epic blood sugar crash: Juice is also absent of protein and fat, which play a role in regulating blood sugar.
Just how much sugar? We decided to see. We picked some of the trendiest juice companies around, looked for their most nutritious-sounding juices and started calculating the sugar. We found that healthy-sounding juices sometimes carried with them a whopping 39 grams of sugar -- the same as more than five standard chocolate chip cookies we'd picked up from our office's cafe.
Of course, we aren't comparing juice to cookies: Juice is hydrating and contains some great vitamins, while cookies feature such unhealthful fare as refined flour and cooking oil. Then again, no one ever claimed cookies were healthy.
Watch above to learn more!
Video by Amber Genuske, Meredith Melnick & Laura Schocker