Fruit Juice, the Soda in Disguise

People may think fruit juice is better than soda, but it actually has a higher calorie count

Just how healthy is fruit juice? A cup of it has more calories than a cup of Coke or Pepsi.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one cup of apple juice has 114 calories, and a cup of orange juice serves up 112 calories.

Compare that to soda: One cup of Coke is 97 calories, and one cup of Pepsi is 100 calories.

Apple juice also has plenty of sugar -- 29 grams, compared to 27 grams in Coke.

Betty Powell, of Dallas, said she lost more than 10 pounds after she snipped fruit juice out of her diet. She said people see "fruit juice" on the label and then assume that it's healthy.

"We think, 'Oh, this is nutritional, they've taken care of everything that needs to be handled," she said.

Stephanie Dean, a registered dietitian at Baylor Dallas who treats Powell, said people should be aware of where their calories come from.

"When we want to help people lose weight, we want them to watch their calories," she said. "Sometimes it comes from food; sometimes it comes from beverages."

But Sarah Wally, a spokeswoman for the Juice Products Association, said people should look at more than just the calorie count.

"Fruit juice provides a key source of valuable nutrients, including foliate, potassium and vitamin C," she said. "Simply discussing 'healthful choices' under the umbrella of caloric density is not scientifically accurate or fair to consumers."

Powell said she is sticking to eating fruit -- and drinking water.

"Every calorie counts," she said. "Sugar is sugar."

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