Does Pasteurizing Juice Kill Nutrients?

Does Pasteurizing Juice Kill Nutrients?

While growing up, my parents would often give me good doses of juices made out of orange to boost the presence of vitamin C in my body. And because I grew to like juices a lot (I mean who didn’t’?), I sort of became a fruit/juice enthusiast. If you’re like me, you would have at numerous times, turned over a good looking juice pack to check if it was HPP (High-Pressure Pasteurized) or not. And for most of your favorite juice brands, your check would usually turn out positive. I would at such times sit to think, what was so bad about juices that had undergone pasteurization? Aren’t they as good as any other to my health? It wasn’t until I took out time to do my research that I figured out the pros and cons of consuming pasteurized juices. And for you that stumbled over this article, I have done you the favor of making things easier and handing you answers to your questions on the platter of this article.  

The question in your head if you clicked on this article should be, “Does pasteurizing juice kill nutrients?” The answer is yes, it actually does. And I won’t sugar coat it. I would explain. 

When you heat up something like juice or any other food product, it helps to kill and eliminate any bad bacteria present in that juice, thereby making the juice sterile and fit for consumption. But the problem with this is that while it eliminates bad bacteria that might harm you, it in the process kills a lot of important nutrients and antioxidants present in the juice that will automatically render that product less nutritious than unpasteurized juices.

A lot of thought goes into the vitamin C content in these juices. Chemical principle explains that the degradation of a substance happens a whole lot quicker when the temperature surrounding it is increased. This means that pasteurized juices obviously have lesser vitamin C  content in them compared to unpasteurized juices. So, this brings us to this conclusion, that pasteurized juices have slightly lesser nutrients present in them. If you think about it though, it isn’t’ all that bad, as unpasteurized juice also has disadvantages to human health. We’ll be talking about that shortly.

In this article, I would be sharing with you the pros and cons of consuming both kinds of juices. I will also be explaining a whole lot of health factors you need to take into consideration if you’re going to be swimming in the ocean of juices frequently.

But firstly, what does the term pasteurization mean?

What is Pasteurization?

Pasteurization or pasteurization is a method of treating packaged and unpackaged foods (such as milk and fruit juice) with moderate heat, typically below 212 ° F (100 ° C), to remove pathogens and to prolong shelf life.

There are mainly two types of pasteurization procedures. We have heat pasteurization and the other which is HPP (High-Pressure Pasteurization). Heat pasteurization, even the healthy kind, still destroys all the bacteria and micro-organisms when carried out on juice. Some vitamins, enzymes, and phytonutrients go missing as a result.

HPP is the opposite of heat pasteurization as the juice is already packaged and ready to go before it is then subjected to an extremely high-pressure level. This type of pasteurization isn’t as bad as heat pasteurization because it doesn’t destroy as much bacteria and microorganisms as heat pasteurization does. Good bacteria still go missing regardless. 

Why You Should Consider Taking Your Juices Unpasteurized

 If your primary goal in drinking juice is to be healthy, then you should know that juice isn’t even super healthy, to begin with.

Juice doesn’t detoxify the body; neither does it significantly boost your immune system or cure diseases. Don’t get me wrong. A bit of juice can be a part of a good diet but to reduce the amount of sugar you consume, it can be easily substituted by fruits and veggies. Fruits and vegetables do a whole lot better in the body than juice. The issue here is that sometimes, we do not understand that our bodies need the good and bad kind of bacteria to grow and thrive while we are alive. When you introduce different types of bacteria into your body, it helps to build up your immune system and its capacity to handle diseases.

Now when these bacteria are removed from the juice through pasteurization (keep in mind that pasteurization also destroys phytonutrients, flavonoids, enzymes, and vitamins), what exactly is left of the juice? Our bodies do not know what to do with them or where to send them because these juices don’t contain basic nutrients the body deems important any longer. Our bodies will then end up just excreting them because the nutrients are simply useless to basic functions in the body without the latter. Phytonutrients protect the body. Flavonoids tell the body what nutrients contained in the juice is used for and where they should go. But these are both destroyed through pasteurization. 

We need to take note of what juices are made up of. They’re more volatile because they come in liquid forms in which the body can easily absorb. Juices are referred to as ‘dead product’ because there really isn’t any benefit from consuming them. The vitamins in most juices are synthetic, coupled with a great added amount of sugar and preservatives. We need to be more careful with what we allow into our bodies. And that’s why I included later on in this article some criteria you should watch out for before getting a juice if you end up getting one. If a food or drink isn’t in its most natural or purest state, then it will most likely do more harm than good to your body. Just saying.

Nutritional Factors To Put Into Consideration When Taking Juices (Pasteurized Or Unpasteurized)

If you’re looking to lose weight, then I suggest you stay away from juice entirely and substitute your diet with something healthier and with fewer calories. I have a friend who went through the journey of weight loss. One of her kryptonites, when it came to her diet, was juice. She was absolutely addicted to juices. Over time, when she decided to make some amendments to her diet, she had to slowly incorporate something else and remove juices as an option.

The first point you should note down is that fruit juices, whether pomegranate, grape, apple, or some kind of peachy fancy blend, always place their stakes real high in sugar. For example, drinking just about 200ml of juice would equal about 5 tablespoons of sugar. That’s a lot if you’re watching the amount of sugar you consume in a day.

 Most juices also eliminate fruit parts such as skin or pulp, which further strips down the number of nutrients contained in a fruit juice. I mean, we might as well eat up fresh whole fruits to get these same nutrients and cut down on sugar intake.

Think about it. You can’t just in one sitting take in three apples, but you are most likely to gulp down eight ounces of juice in one go and think nothing of it. And eight ounces of juice equals three whole apples. Crazy, right?

Sugar is good for the body but excessive sugar intake isn’t great for your health. Juice shouldn’t be a go-to drink to add to your meals regularly. Excessive consumption of juice can be very harmful to people on blood thinners or people who have kidney diseases because of the high volume of certain vitamins and minerals in it.

 Yes, we know juice contains ‘natural sugar’ known as fructose, but that doesn’t make fruit juices a healthy option. It has been proven to be just as bad as a sugar cane stick. The World Health Organization likens the sugar present in fruit juices to the sugar present in soda and fizzy pop drinks.

What would you say about vegetable juices, you might ask. Beverages made from celery, some low–sugar greens, cucumber, and ginger could be a good option if you can afford it. They offer a variety of vitamins and minerals as opposed to normal fruit juices and are very hydrating. For peeps who don’t find it easy eating enough vegetables, this could be substituted into their diet and would serve them well enough than sugary fruit juice. Be careful not to include vegetables with high sugar quantities (sweet potatoes, carrots, etc) just to make it more palatable.

Despite all this information, most commercial juices sold in stores are usually pasteurized to prevent bacteria like salmonella, etc. Unpasteurized juices are also available in the market and are easy to identify due to the label that states the potential harm it could cause because it hadn’t been pasteurized.

Now we know that most juice currently available in the market are pasteurized. But what does this mean for us? Should we consume pasteurized juice or rule it out as a bad option when it comes to good nutrition? 

We have established that pasteurization eliminates some nutrients found in juice. Studies also show that the loss of certain phytonutrients and vitamin C can be caused by pasteurization, although it isn’t as bad as the amount of pulpy goodness lost during the juicing process.

However, we must place these pasteurization issues into a bigger picture and consider how we view general natural foods and healthy eating. If we were looking from this perspective, we would have to rule out the consumption of pasteurized juices. The ideal step forward would be to eliminate the need for pasteurization by sticking to unprocessed whole natural fruits. Get a mini juicer, purchase your organic oranges, and then proceed to make your fresh homemade juice. Make sure to drink minutes after preparation to prevent it from getting contaminated. 

Incorporating this into your diet would permanently eliminate the need for consuming pasteurized juices in the first place. Of course, it wouldn’t be easy to scrap juice from your diet but baby steps, right?

Okay, let’s be realistic here. There would be times when your homemade juice wouldn’t be available. What do we do then? Do we scrap the idea of pasteurized juice completely? Come on! Pasteurized juice lives matter too. They still contain important nutrients and are way better than drinking soda or fizz pop. Appropriation and balance should be key in deciding what we take into our bodies. Just be sure to take these criteria into mind when getting a juice for your diet.

When shopping for good healthy juice options, these are terms you should take note of on the juice pack:

  • 100% Good Fruit Juice

You would want to go for a juice that contains NO added sugars and NO added ingredients. Read what it says on the juice pack. If it says ‘100% juice’ on its label, then that something you can go with. Just make sure to be on the lookout for certified organic juices. The major ingredient that makes up most of the product should be the fruit juice in itself because trust me, you don’t want to end up spending your money on a juice drink that consists of water and sweeteners with some drops of fruit juice concentrate here and there.

 If you notice that an added sugar has been listed as one of the top three ingredients on the pack, then it will most likely contain way more sugar than you think. Run away from juices that are labeled ‘cocktails’ because they usually contain other ingredients such as added sugar, artificial colorings, and flavoring, asides from the juice.

  • 12 Grams of Sugar (or even less).

Make sure to be on the lookout for a juice that has 12 grams or less of naturally occurring sugar contained in it. 12 grams of sugar equals about three full spoons of sugar, just so you have that at the back of your mind when picking out a juice. To be on the healthy side of life, you really shouldn’t be taking more than 25 grams of sugar in a day. If we do our calculations right, you really don’t want to consume about half your day’s dose of sugar in just one pack of Orange juice. Think about it.

  • Vitamins and minerals.

One of the great ways to know a good juice brand is just how much added vitamins and minerals they’ve been endowed with. It might as well do your body good if the juice you decide to go with contains more nutrients in it than normal. Your juice could be a great source of vitamin C or even an extra source of fiber for good digestion. 

On the last note, always keep in mind that regardless of the juice you choose to purchase, never take into consideration the marketing hype.

Recent Posts