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Coke vs Juice – which is the healthier choice? Neither!

May 23, 2011 Diet/Insulin, Environment 15 Comments

Many schools have replaced pop with juice in their vending machines. Many parents encourage their kids to drink juice. After all juice is the healthier choice. But sadly it is not.

Fruit juice has as much sugar as most soft drinks. Worse the “sugar” in juice is Fructose and we can only absorb about 25 grams of Fructose. The rest goes to the liver to be converted into fat and also creates many other problems.

It appears we can absorb, at any one time, up to 25 grams of fructose. Now what is 25 grams? A glass of orange juice has up to 14 grams of fructose, a can of Coke sometimes has 15 to 16 grams of fructose, so you have a rough idea of how much 25 grams is. If you exceed that amount at any one time, individuals with limited fructose absorptive capacity can not absorb this substance and can get symptoms.

What are the symptoms of fructose intolerance?

The usual symptoms are bloating, gas, cramps, diarrhea, constipation–indigestion and sometimes excessive belching. These are common symptoms that a number of patients with this condition describe. (Source)

It is best that we avoid juice altogther. Here also is a useful table that shows us how much fructose is in fruit itself. Again keep the 25 grams threshold in mind:

Source Richard Johnson

Many might say “We have always eaten fruit!”. True but remember the conditions under which we ate it. Wild fruit is not sweet compared to modern fruit. Ever had a wild apple? Almost inedible. Apples were all converted to cider for thousands of years. We would have also had to compete with all the birds and insects. I almost never get more than a few cherries off my tree even today.

Fruit would have been hard work and transitory. Without a global food system it still would be. No oranges in Canada and no bananas. People my age still remember getting an orange in their stocking – it was such a treat back in the day.

So what do you drink when you are not drinking alcohol? We drank alcohol from the beginning as it enabled us to keep the fruit and also eat fruit that we could not eat on its own because it was too bitter (The apple again) Why not water? Why do our kids have to drink sugar?


Currently there are "15 comments" on this Article:

  1. Xenophrenia says:

    A note on the reason for alcohol – and not water. Historically, water contains lovely little bugs that really like our digestive system – unfortunately our digestive systems REALLY don’t like them. Alcohol kills the bacteria and is safe to drink compared to many water sources … this is a major reason for alcohol consumption in history.

    • robpatrob says:

      Absolutely – beer was the safe drink – in many cases drinking water was a death sentence. I think it goes back even further – monkeys love fermenting fruit and get buzzed while eating it. I suspect that we ate fermented fruit a very very long time ago

  2. Mourne says:

    you wrote:
    “Fruit juice has as much sugar as most soft drinks. Worse the “sugar” in juice is Fructose and we can only absorb about 25 grams of Fructose. The rest goes to the liver to be converted into fat and also creates many other problems.”

    Is there any reference for this information? i would like to understand better this point =)

    many thanks for the userful info


  3. Phil says:

    The main thing I notice here is that the analysis is based on an 8 oz serving. If you order juice in a restaurant, even a fast food restaurant, you usually get 8 oz of juice. If it’s larger, not by much. Coke and Pepsi, on the other hand, can be obtained in 32 oz containers and the size is usually much larger than juice in any case. Plus you get the vitamins with fruit juice so it’s still a better choice.

    • robpatrob says:

      Yes but it is stil a huge sugar and fructose hit – remember 50% of juice is fructose that will go straight to fat – better to eat a couple of oranges that have a fibre buffer. Also do you know how juice is processed? Not a good process

      • Dane says:

        But doesn’t fructose take longer to process, thus allowing more time for your body to burn it before it turns into fat?

  4. matt says:

    isn’t the “sugar” in soda high fructose corn syrup? why do you say only juice has fructose. Soda is poison for the human body, fruit is not.

  5. Christian DiMaria says:

    This article seems to be exclusively focusing on sugar and calorie content, which is misleading. Fruit juice (and I mean actual fruit juice, not “peach cocktail” or “orange drink” or fruitopia) is typically rich in vitamins and minerals that we need to be healthy. Pop, on the other hand, is nothing but sugar. So yes, if you drink too much juice then you are definitely consuming too much sugar, but it’s absurd to say that having a glass of orange juice with breakfast is comparable to guzzling pop with your Big Mac. Pop is nothing but sugar and empty calories, but juice has many healthy components that are neglected in this article. Also, as for how juice is processed, here’s an outline: take an orange, squeeze it. Now you have orange juice. It is not difficult to find proper juice that doesn’t have extra sugar and strange additives.

  6. Phantom The God says:

    Don’t forget Coke damages your teeth and make your bones brittle..

  7. Anonymous says:

    Your claim about wild fruit isn’t 100% true. Read this article, which discusses various wild fruits which are as sweet as modern store-bought varieties:

    It’s also worth noting that the fiber in fruit helps slow down absorption of the sugar, allowing us to take in a bit more at a time.

  8. Suzee says:

    This issue has risen again in 2020 and the reference to the amount of sugar in fruit juices appears to be based on diluted juices.
    We buy 100% fruit juice with pulp and for each 100ml of OJ there is just 7.3gm of sugar, i.e. a heaped teaspoon.
    There are other benefits to fruit juices whereas there are none to soft drinks

  9. John says:

    Are you saying eating fruit is not better then drinking fruit juice?

    • robpatrob says:

      Fruit has a high sugar load. A glass of apple juice the same as Coke. But you would have to eat many apples to have the equivalent so the load is less

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