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Fruit Drinks

Tags: fruit , juice , vitamins

Fruit DrinksWe each already drink more than 36 litres of fruit-juice every year but, with so many on the market, which ones are best for us?

Freshly Squeezed

  • Ingredients: 100 per cent fruit juice
  • What it is: The fruit is shipped whole from its country of origin and then squeezed. Often unpasteurised, it must be consumed within a few days. It has a high natural vitamin content. Most supermarkets do their own freshly squeezed range
  • Expert view: Good, pure juice, with most of its natural nutrients preserved
  • Verdict: The most expensive juice (because of the cost of transporting the whole fruits) but with maximum nutrients. Tastes good. 

Not from concentrate

  • Ingredients: 100 per cent fruit juice
  • What it is: The fruit is squeezed in the country of origin, then lightly pasteurised and frozen or bagged and sealed for shipping, packaging and sale. You’ll find it in the chiller, but unopened it has a shelf life of up to 30 days. Tropicana is the brand leader. May also be called ‘pure squeezed’
  • Expert view: Another good choice, though it may not keep as many of its nutrients as freshly squeezed
  • Verdict: A good alternative to freshly squeezed, this is cheaper and has a longer shelf life. 

From Concentrate

  • Ingredients: Orange juice made from concentrate
  • What it is: Still a pure fruit juice but the juice is heat-concentrated so most of the natural water evaporates. It is then frozen, shipped and the water put back in. It’s long life and found on the supermarket shelf
  • Expert view: Not quite as healthy as pure squeezed or juice not from concentrate as the evaporating process may lead to the loss of some nutrients including vitamin C
  • Verdict: Economical and handy store-cupboard juice, unopened it will keep for up to nine months. 

Smoothies

  • Ingredients: Fresh fruits and fruit juice blended
  • What it is: Fresh fruit and fruit juice are blended with ingredients that can include crushed ice, frozen fruit, yoghurt, milk and herbs
  • Expert view: When smoothies first came out they came across as the healthy option, but watch out for the fat content as some include full-fat milk, cream and sugar. It’s important to read the list of ingredients on the label
  • Verdict: An indulgence or healthy treat, smoothies can form part of your five-a-day fruit and veg intake. 

Fruit squash

  • Ingredients: Juice from concentrate, may contain added sugar, preservatives and flavourings
  • What it is: A concentrated soft drink with various ingredients added to juice that you dilute. Low-sugar versions and those with no added sugar are most popular. Standard varieties contain 10 per cent juice, high-juice varieties up to 50 per cent
  • Expert view: Can be high in sugar, so go for the low-calorie option
  • Verdict: Cheap, light, thirst-quenching drink, but just flavoured water really. Does not form part of your five-a-day fruit and veg intake. 

Juice drinks

  • Ingredients: Fruit juice mixed with water, can contain added sugar, sweeteners and preservatives
  • What it is: A drink with a relatively small amount of real fruit blended with other ingredients. Lower in nutrients than pure fruit juice though some have vitamins added
  • Expert view: You are paying for sugary water. Read the label
  • Verdict: The word ‘juice’ on the bottle gives them a healthier image than they deserve. 

Juicy facts

  • Juice only counts towards your daily five if it’s 100 per cent fruit juice. It still counts if it’s made from concentrate, pasteurised or long life
  • Most juices are pasteurised to destroy harmful bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella
  • This also helps to prolong shelf life but slightly reduces the amount of vitamin C and kills enzymes naturally present in some fruit that help the absorption of vitamins
  • To be called ‘fruit juice’ the drink must consist of 100 per cent pure juice without preservatives, made from fresh fruit or concentrated fruit juice
  • Orange and grapefruit juice are a particularly good source of vitamin C. The fresher the juice the more vitamin C it contains
  • Fruit juice contains natural sugar but grape and apple juices are naturally higher in sugar than most other juices. 

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