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How Much is Too Much Juice?

Last week I had a discussion with a patient about juice intake. She has diabetes and was concerned that her blood sugars have recently been higher than her goal range. Together we were trying to figure out if there were any food-related culprits contributing to her higher numbers. She was familiar with carbohydrate foods, and her portions were appropriate for her needs. Additionally, her meals contained a variety of nutrients, and she rounded out her plate with vegetables and protein. We then moved on to discuss drinks. She assured me she was not drinking too much juice, and that she is mostly drinking water. As a dietitian, I like to get the details, so I asked a few questions to get clarity of how much of each beverage she was drinking. She described that she was drinking 1 cup of unsweetened black coffee in the morning before breakfast, water throughout the day, and one cup of orange juice with each meal.

two glasses of orange jucie

This reminded me that everyone has different definitions of “not too much.” From her understanding, one cup of juice with each meal was “not too much.” Perhaps, to her, “too much” might be drinking juice in between meals in addition to at meals.

What is too much for one person could be different than what is too much for another person. For this patient, with her blood sugar goals, 3 cups of juice would make her blood sugars too high—she was not able to get her numbers in goal range with her current juice intake. She decided to do an experiment and skip the juice for a few days and see what her numbers looked like. I am happy to report that with this change, she was able to get her numbers in her goal range!

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