I had been buying Healthy Cran Grape juice because I'm looking to keep my weight down and watch my sugar level. I used to eat a lot of figs, dates, raisins, prunes, but noticed my weight and cholesterol going up. I've switched to eating more blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, apples, red grapefruit. Recently a friend said that I should be buying 100% juices instead of the diet and lite juices, but they seem to have a lot of sugar even though its natural sugar. What's the best to drink?

I think it is wonderful that you are taking an active interest in maintaining a healthy weight and monitoring your blood sugar levels. Fresh and dried fruit are excellent sources of vitamins/minerals and can fit into any healthy eating plan. Keep in mind that both fresh and dried fruits contain calories. Typically the portion sizes of dried fruit are much smaller than fresh fruit (for the same amount of calories) and it is sometimes easy to “overeat” dried fruit and consume more calories than intended. For example, if you were to eat one cup of fresh grapes you would consume approximately 100 calories. For a cup of (dried) raisins you would consume around 400 calories. I generally urge my patients to try to get a variety of fresh and dried fruits into their diet, but to make sure they are monitoring portions closely (a ¼ cup of dried fruit is generally considered one serving).

The Healthy Balance Juice line (Cran Grape included) is a wonderful way to help people control weight while still enjoying a great juice flavor. Many of the juices contain as little as 29 calories but still provide an excellent source of vitamin C. Even though 100% fruit juice is high in vitamins and minerals, it is also higher in calories and sugar than the Healthy Balance line (1 cup containing 120 calories vs. 29 calories). The sugar in 100% fruit juice is natural, but if you are trying to maintain a healthy weight you need to be calorie conscious. Calories consumed from beverages tend to add up quickly and can cause you to exceed your caloric limit for the day, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.

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