In the 2005 comedy "Kicking and Screaming," former NFL coach Mike Ditka plays an assistant to kids' soccer coach Phil (Will Ferrell).
At one point, the ever-bossy coach Phil yells, "You're supposed to back me up and go get me juice boxes ... Now go get me a juice box!"
"Are you crazy?" retorts Ditka.
"Oh, I'm not crazy," says Phil, "I'm just thirsty."
Ditka did Phil a bigger favor than he knew by refusing to get that juice box. More and more evidence is showing that juice is not the healthy way to get your daily dose of fruit, veggies and nutrients.
For starters, juice can be packed with as much sugar as sweetened beverages like soda.
A 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar; a 12-ounce glass of apple juice has 180 calories and 42 grams of sugar.
And most juices are stripped of fiber, a key ingredient in whole fruits and veggies. This matters because fiber helps you feel fuller and more satisfied.
Fiber also moderates the effect whole fruits and veggies' natural sugars have on your glucose levels. A high-fiber diet is also linked to a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity.
So choose whole fruits and veggies (including frozen without added sugars or sauces), not juices, for a meal, snack or desert.
In a smoothie, mix whole fruits with veggies (celery, cucumbers, kale), and add a touch of nonfat yogurt if you feel the need for a protein boost.
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