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Has Science Found a Way to Make Juice Healthier?

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There's nothing new about juicing: In fact, juice cleanses are no good. (Find out what happens to Your Body On a Juice Cleanse.) And fruit juice, which tends to spike our bloog sugar levels, isn't such a healthy beverage either. "Juice has a health halo around it—and we really do not need to be drinking it, just water," says Amanda Goldfarb, R.D. and holistic health coach in Pawley's Island, SC.

However, scientists are looking to make juice healthier (thanks for fighting the good fight, guys!)—and new research out today in the Journal of Food Science International shows that they may have just found a way. Researchers at Denmark's Aarhus University found a trio of ingredients to serve as a healthy addition to fruit juice. The additives? Stevia for its sweetness and calorie-free factors, beta-glucans for fiber, and lime juice to help temper stevia's slightly bitter aftertaste. The results showed that the combo can be added to fruit juice to increase its nutritional value and promote the sensory experience of the juice. (Think: more fiber, feeling fuller longer, less sugar, no spike.)

But, it's important to note, this study used apple-cherry juice, a low-fiber, high-sugar juice—not anything like a bottle of BluePrint greens or anything you made with a press in your kitchen. And this special triad isn't just something you can whip up at home (unless you have a secret stash of beta-glucans, which would be...weird).

"Instead, try to limit your intake of fruit juice to just four to six ounces daily, or water it down," Goldfarb suggests."Better yet, add fruit to water or seltzer." (Try one of these 8 Infused Water Recipes to Upgrade Your H2O.) Or, "since people often have a hard time meeting the FDA-recommended 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day, make a smoothie and spoon in some Metamucil to enjoy whole foods and added fiber," says Jessica Fishman Levinson, M.S., R.D.N.

Point being? It's best to choose whole, natural foods first, says Levinson—with water, of course, being your best drink of choice. While this study is proof that you can pump up the value of an otherwise nutritionally flaccid drink without affecting its taste, it's still juice. Plus, artificial sweeteners like Stevia can actually trigger your desire for more sweets, says Goldfarb. So we say skip the juice and pour yourself a nice big glass of water. Thirsty yet? (Psst... Do you know the 5 Signs of Dehydration—Besides the Color of Your Pee?)

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