We all know what the advantages of fruit are; after all, it’s part of our diet pyramid – and rightfully so. However, there are many questions floating around about how one should actually consume fruit. Jam, for example, is laden with fruit – but may not be so healthy. And what happens when we use fruit in our dinner, bake it, and serve it with a sauce? Does it affect the health benefits at all?
For those who are wondering, this one’s for you. There are, after all, a variety of ways to make sure we get all the benefits fruit has to offer. Here’s a look at the differences between juice, still drink, NFC, nectar, and the trends in consumption.
What fruit can do
Fruit is an invaluable source of water, a high source of fibre and vitamins. Different kinds of fruit have different kinds of respective values, but there is no doubt that fruit provides essentials that few other kinds of food contain. It’s no accident that fruit has become a staple of a healthy diet, and there are indeed many good reasons why we should all eat a little more of it.
Fruit, however, has many derivatives – and not all of them are well-known, or if they are, they are often confused. Here are the basics.
When a product is labeled as ‘juice,’ it should contain 100% natural products – meaning, the watery substance you get should come directly from the fruit (through pressing), and should contain no additives or preservatives.
Still drink, on the other hand, is also derived from fruit – but contains 25% or less of the original juice, and is mostly composed of water, additives, and other artificial substances for flavouring or preserving the drink. A still drink is, by definition, a drink of lesser value than the original juice. However, because of its cost-saving effect, it tends to be more widely consumed, especially by lower-income populations.
NFC stands for Not-From-Concentrate; it’s a juice drink that has undergone a slight pasteurisation process in order to kill bacteria and make it last longer. Essentially, it’s a natural juice – although it is true that heating the juice does not just get rid of bacteria, but also kills some of the essential vitamins that the juices are so famous for. The vitamins, however, can be added back by some fruit juice manufacturers, so consumers don’t lose too much of the health benefits of the fruit.
Nectar is a term used by manufacturers who use a certain amount of natural juice (anywhere from 25% to 99%), but then do add some sweeteners, preservatives, or colouring agents in order to make it more appealing or have it last longer on the shelves. It’s a compromise between pure juice and still drink. The quality of the nectar depends largely on the producer and the amount of natural juice present.
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