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Fruit vs. fruit juice: which one is helpful or harmful?

Nutrition, Vitamin

Many of us don’t like to eat fruit; therefore, we prefer drinking fruit juice. But the question arises here whether fruit juices are equally healthy. Should we satisfy our choices or keeping aside our liking, we should eat fruit for our health. What to choose, fruit or fruit juice which is better?

Confusing, right, but not anymore; in the next couple of minutes, we are going to solve this riddle of fruit vs. fruit juice and make a choice for life.

Fruit vs. fruit juice

Benefits of eating fruits

Diet, including fruits and vegetables, is praised for their properties beneficial for good health, especially for the concentration of vitamins, minerals which are electrolytes for the body, and most important, phytochemicals like antioxidants [1].

According to the nutrition facts panel, an average of 25 g of dietary fiber is recommended for a 2000 kcal diet, which looks achievable if you eat the whole fruit. The potential health benefits of fiber, such as protecting colonic gastrointestinal health, long-term weight management, promoting heart health, lowering the risk of depression, etc., is well established; hence essential to consume an adequate amount of fiber [1, 2].

Fruits are also rich in phytochemicals (non-nutrient compounds) such as carotenoids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, anthocyanidins, etc., out of which most are antioxidants that possess free radical scavenging abilities and anti-inflammatory activity, which, in turn, are responsible for health benefits like anti-cancer, anti-aging, prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases [3, 4].

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Benefits of eating fruits on an empty stomach

A common question concerning the consumption of fruit is what are the benefits of eating fruits every day? and whether I can eat fruits on an empty stomach.

Eating fruit daily will shower you with the health benefits associated with dietary fiber, vitamins like A, C, & E, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Moreover, if you consume fruit on an empty stomach, you may experience additional benefits like a greater appetite score, decreased subsequent energy intake, increased appetite-related hormones, and increased satiety [5].

Benefits of fruit juice

The benefits of fruit juice over a whole fruit, especially among patients, are that it is easy to handle and a great source of instant energy. In fact, the bioavailable micronutrients and plant bioactive are equivalent to the levels of the whole fruit [6].

Daily fruit juice intake didn’t lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes for a short span and significantly has more benefits than risks [6].

Even the assumption that it is bad for cardiovascular health, type 2 diabetes, weight management, etc., has no ground reality. Furthermore, the US dietary guidelines and several European countries support moderate fruit juice consumption (75 to 224 ml/day) and consider it as a substitution for whole fruit [6].

Apple juice consumption can delay the onset of fine lines and wrinkles hence the clear-cut benefits of apple juice for the skin.

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Fruit VS Fruit juice: which one to choose?

If you compare both fruit and fruit juice, fruits undergo little to no processing hence natural, and retain all nutrients, which is not true for fruit juices. In order to extract the fruit juice and increase its shelf life, they undergo processing like crushing, pasteurization, etc., which results in the loss of nutrients like vitamin C [7].

In the case of apple juice, the disruption of the cell wall during the crushing results in higher digestibility in the small intestine, which essentially also increase postprandial plasma glucose and serum insulin levels. A similar phenomenon was also observed in the case of orange and orange juice [10].

While some research on the effect of fruit juice on weight management done for a short span of 4 months stated that there was no weight gain, the other research, in contrast, presented data in which the mean weight change was 3.2 lbs. over the period of three years in postmenopausal women with consumption of 100% fruit juice/day [9].

Whole fruits contain dietary fiber, but they are removed during the extraction of fruit juice. Moreover, they are deprived of the health benefits associated with dietary fiber, but according to some research, they retain most of the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals [8].

This means that although fruit juice lacks dietary fiber, the nutrient loss is in the case of packed fruit juice, where techniques like pasteurization are used. If you are drinking the fresh juice extracted at home, you may get the same nutrient without any loss.

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Bottom Line

Fruit VS fruit juice is a never-ending debate, but the takeaway of this article is that whole fruit inclusion in the everyday diet is an excellent choice to get the benefits of fruits in terms of fulfillment of daily dose of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Although fruit juice does not contain dietary fiber, it does contain the vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals present in the whole fruit, thus its health benefits.

So, if the choice is between fruit and fruit juice, you may choose fruit if the dietary fiber is important or if you are on a weight loss journey. This doesn’t make fruit juices unhealthy; they have greater benefits than a diet without fruit juice or fruit or other packed drinks available in the market.

Written by

Sobin S. Gupta (MSc)

Sobin S. Gupta is a multifaceted professional—nutritionist, researcher, writer, and diabetes educator. She founded "Nutrition Meet," dedicated to educating the community on preventing and curing chronic diseases. With a passion for health and wellness, Sobin empowers individuals to take control of their well-being through informed dietary choices.

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