One cup of 100% juice, vegetable or fruit, counts as a serving of your fruit or vegetable intake. I strongly recommend that people get no more than one serving of their fruits or vegetables per day from juice. So, inherently nothing is “wrong” with juice per se…we don’t want to drink a lot of it. Let’s get down to the pros and cons of juice.
Benefits of 100% fruit/vegetable juice:
- Vitamins such as folate and vitamin C
- Minerals such as potassium and calcium
- Phytochemicals and antioxidants – such as lycopene (tomato juice) and resveratrol (purple grape juice)
- Contributes to overall fluid intake along with other healthy beverages such as water and fat-free milk.
- Certain juices directly contribute to reducing risk of certain diseases/conditions such as cranberry juice and urinary tract infections.
- Many of them are great mixers… I couldn’t help it: pineapple juice, orange juice, tomato juice, V8, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, etc.
Pitfalls of 100% fruit/vegetable juice:
- High calorie: ounce per ounce juice has more calories than soda (8 ounce soda = 96 calories and 8 ounces orange juice = 107 calories).
- Missing fiber: the juice equivalent of the fruit or vegetable, fiber is missing. (1 medium orange = 62 calories and 3.1 g fiber; 5 ounces of orange juice = 67 calories and 0.3 g fiber)
- Virtually all sugar: even though it is naturally occurring sugar (fructose), because of the lack of fiber and very low protein, it can increase blood sugar dramatically if consumed all by itself. If consumed with a meal, the effect isn’t as dramatic.
- Interactions with medication: specifically grapefruit juice. Check the label of your medication (they have stickers just for grapefruit juice) or check with your physician or pharmacist.
There are more benefits than pitfalls, but the high calorie content of juice can trump it all if you consume too much. Even with all the nutrients in juice those calories can be just too much. Even if you are making it yourself, the calories are still higher in juice than in its whole fruit or vegetable counterpart. So, those of you who “juice” might want to re-think it.
Here is an example to make it “real”:
I had a client who drank 32 ounces of orange juice every morning (2-16 ounce glasses) and another 32 ounces in the afternoon after work. This equaled over 850 calories (3.8 g fiber) and nearly 40% of his calorie needs for the day. I explained that he would need to consume 14 oranges (but he would get 44 g of fiber) to total the calorie content of all the juice he was drinking. Shocked? He was. There was no way he was going to eat 14 oranges! He would be too full to do that.
This is the recommendation: No more than one serving (1 cup/8 fluid ounces) of 100% fruit or vegetable juice per day. Enjoy.