Juice, nectar or drink - what to choose?
In supermarkets we have a choice of many juices, nectars and drinks. They encourage people to buy colourful packaging, promote a healthy lifestyle and some of them contain beneficial ingredients. Which product is the best?
Many of us are not aware of the differences between juice, nectar and drink. Often, instead of a drink with vitamins and minerals, we choose coloured water with lots of sugar and preservatives. It turns out that the name of the product tells us a lot.
In the European Union, fruit juice can be called a product made from ripe and fresh vegetables or fruit. Good quality juice should have at least 85% of the fruit. Very often we obtain juice from the concentrate, which is formed as a result of pasteurization (in which it loses many vitamins and minerals).
Nectar is a product which is obtained by mixing concentrated fruit juices (either from powder or puree) with water and sugar or with honey. The percentage of fruit in nectars is precisely defined and calculated in terms of the fruit used (e.g. apples and oranges - minimum 50%, raspberries and strawberries - minimum 50%). 40%, lemons, bananas - min. 25%).
Fruit drinks do not have to comply with strict regulations on juice content. They contain less juice (less than 25%, usually 3-5%) than nectars, but on the market we will also find those that do not contain it at all. In addition, the drinks have additives prohibited in the production of juice and nectar, such as dyes, sweeteners, preservatives and aromas.
The best are squeezed vegetable and fruit juices, prepared at home. Then we're sure of what's in that juice. It should be drunk immediately after preparation, because after a few hours it loses some nutrients.
Sometimes fruit juices are sweetened with little sugar or other sweeteners (e.g. glucose syrup). If the juice contains more than 15 g/l, the manufacturer must indicate on the label of the product that it is sweetened. The upper limit for sugar may not exceed 150 g/l.
Citric acid, spices and herbs are added to the juices. It's enriched with vitamins and minerals. The law prohibits the simultaneous addition of sugar, honey and acidifying substances, as well as flavours, preservatives and artificial colourings.
There are more sweeteners in nectar than in juice. Sugar must not exceed 200 g/l. Unlike juice, nectar can contain both sweeteners and acidifiers. Nectars must not contain preservatives, artificial flavours or colourings.
In the case of beverages, even those with a high percentage of fruit juice, artificial colourings, flavours, preservatives and sweeteners can be added.
The nutritional value of the beverages in question is important. Therefore, unsweetened vegetable and fruit juices have fewer calories than nectars and drinks. Do not choose beverages that contain a lot of sugar and artificial substances because they are made from poor quality juice.
Freshly squeezed juices are a vitamin bomb, a source of fibre, minerals and antioxidants, protecting the body against diseases and premature aging. The nutritional value of the juice depends on the type of juice you choose: cloudy or clear juice? The best is a cloudy juice that contains fruit particles, because clear juices are devoid of many vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Remember to read labels before buying and think about what to choose: healthier juices and nectars or artificial drinks. Thanks to this we will choose what is good and nutritious for our body.