Is it better for you to eat an apple or drink an apple juice? Which should you chose; fruit or fruit juice? It is fair to say that the fruit or fruit juice debate is one of the hottest topics in health and fitness circles. Many people argue that fruits alone are the key to good health. Others believe that fruit juices still have some benefits to offer. But what happens when you look more deeply?
Fruit Or Fruit Juice?
Both camps are quite passionate about their side, so is this really an easy question to answer? Does it even matter? Fruit is fruit isn’t it, whether it’s in fruit or fruit juice. But there are some surprising facts about the differences between the two.
Our digestive system needs fibre to keep it healthy. Fibre is an indigestible type of carbohydrate that also allows you to absorb a greater amount of energy and nutrients from the foods you eat, protects against cancer and regulates the release of glucose into your blood. So fibre is a good thing.
Fruits are a great source of fibre, and almost every type of fruit contains over 10% of the RDA for this nutrient in a single serving. Because of the way it is made, fruit juice contains no fibre and so by drinking it, you don’t get to enjoy any of the health benefits listed above.
So the fibre winner is Fruit
Sugar provides your body with instant energy and is a source of fuel when consumed in moderation. However, large doses of sugar cause your blood glucose levels to surge and crash which can lead to unstable energy levels and organ damage. Sugar is also a concentrated source of calories, so consuming too much can lead to unwanted weight gain.
One of the most commonly held misconceptions about fruit juice is that it contains significantly more sugar than whole fruits. However, the truth is that gram for gram, fruits and fruit juice contain very similar levels of sugar. For example, 100g of oranges contains 9.4g of sugar while 100g of orange juice contains 8.4g.
Despite the similar levels of sugar, fruit is still a better choice than fruit juice in terms of sugar intake for two main reasons. First, the fibre in fruit slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream and minimizes any harmful effects. Second, a single portion of fruit is often smaller in size than a glass of fruit juice, so by sticking to whole fruits, you naturally take in less sugar.
So the sugar winner is Fruit
Whether you have fruit or fruit juice, they both contain a wide range of health boosting vitamins, minerals and nutrients. These are essential to your body and support you in countless ways. They are responsible for maintaining strong vision, allowing you to get the maximum energy from the foods you eat, protecting against various chronic diseases, strengthening your bones, keeping your blood healthy and much more.
The vast majority of the vitamins, minerals and nutrients are contained in the pulp and skin of the fruit. Since fruit juice doesn’t contain any solid parts, it contains far fewer nutrients than whole fruits and this makes fruits the top choice in terms of nutritional value.
So the nutrient winner is Fruit
Both fruits and fruit juice are amongst the most convenient healthy foods out there. They don’t require any preparation, they’re highly portable and they create minimal mess. However, since fruit juice contains no peel, seeds or inedible parts, it is a slightly more convenient choice than whole fruit. In addition to this, since fruit juice comes in liquid form, it’s much quicker to consume when you’re pressed for time which further adds to its convenience.
So the convenience winner is Fruit Juice
Water is essential for good health. It helps maintain fluid balance in your body, keeps your blood healthy, energizes your muscles, hydrates your skin, supports your vital organs and much more. Fruits and fruit juice are both excellent choices for staying hydrated with water being their main ingredient. However, with fruit juice having an average concentration of 90% water and fruit containing an average of 80% water, fruit juice is the winner when it comes to hydration.
So the hydration winner is Fruit Juice
To get the maximum nutritional benefit, aim to consume mainly whole fruits and limit your intake of fruit juice. While fruit juice is a viable alternative to water from time to time that will provide your body with some nutrients and keep you hydrated, it’s nowhere near as beneficial as whole fruits. Whole fruits contain fibre along with a much higher concentration of vitamins and minerals than fruit juice and therefore give your health a much bigger kick.
However, many people prefer the taste of fruit juice, to normal fruit. So maintain a healthy diet and have your own personal preference of fruit or fruit juice.