Go Slow With Juice

Posted: 6/19/2012

Posted June 19, 2012

If you're looking at juices or smoothies as potential meal replacements, Mildred Mattfeldt-Beman says not so fast.

Literally: Not so ... fast.

"It's just one more step in the fast-food hierarchy," says Mattfeldt-Beman, chair and associate professor of the department of nutrition and dietetics at St. Louis University.

"If you'd use the ingredients for a salad instead, woo-hoo!," Mattfeldt-Beman says. "With whole vegetables, you'd cut, chew and pause in between bites -- and it would be broader and deeper in nutritional content."

"When you drink liquids, particularly when you're thirsty, you drink way too fast and get too many calories in too short a period of time," Beman adds.

But what about athletes who use juices as a refreshing tonic?

"In most cases, what athletes really need is hydration," Beman says. "You can dilute orange juice, for example, and add a pinch of salt, and you get Gatorade for about one-quarter of the price."

That doesn't mean, however, that Mattfeldt-Beman sees no place for juices.

Take the drink called Summer Cooler, made with a peach, orange juice, lime juice and sparkling water. "I'd serve it for a special event, as a unique drink with a refreshing flavor, to go with a meal," she says.

She also was intrigued by the recipe for Gingered Beet and Apple Juice. "I could see serving it as a dessert, comparable to serving yogurt," she says. "It would also work as a great snack -- or a way to use up all the extra beets in your garden."

©2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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