Do you drink a glass of orange juice every morning with your breakfast? Does apple juice quench your thirst during the day? Those of you who would avoid soda or candy consumption are essentially consuming the same thing when you pour a glass of orange juice. After years of being touted as a health food, even by the government’s dietary recommendations, fruit juice has now become the latest and most surprising target in the nation’s obesity epidemic. It has been assumed that we should always drink orange juice because it is healthy and contains vitamin C. Unfortunately, that is a serious misconception. Juice of any kind is not particularly healthy, and contains as much sugar as a can of soda, which is the last thing you need if you are struggling with obesity or diabetes. Remember, consuming sugar leads to elevated insulin levels. Elevated insulin levels lead to increased fat deposition in your midsection. Furthermore, high insulin levels lock your fat cells, making it very difficult to lose weight. Even 100 percent juice does not match the level of nutrition in whole fruit because it’s higher in calories and sugars and lacks the fiber to satisfy appetite. So while eating an apple or orange is filling, drinking juice offers calories without satiety. It is always healthier to eat whole foods versus processed foods. Many health experts feel that drinking juice is just as bad as drinking soda. Unfortunately, most people think it is healthy. According to a beverage comparison by Harvard University, 12 ounces of Fanta orange soda and Minute Maid 100 percent orange juice each contain 165 calories. So if you are trying to lose weight or working on lowering your blood sugars stay away from juice. I can hear many of you thinking, well if I cannot drink juice, what can I drink? (By the way, diet soda is also unhealthy – another subject for another article!) The number one drink you should be consuming is water. Most people do not nearly drink enough water every day. It has no sugar and no calories. Add a slice of lemon, lime or orange to your water for flavoring. Carbonated water is another good choice. There are also naturally sweetened waters available, which have little sugar or calories. Unsweetened iced tea is another good option. Not only does it not have any sugar, it is loaded with many healthy anti-oxidants including polyphenols. Iced coffee without added sugar is another good option. So, in conclusion, avoid the juice and improve your health.