Juice or whole fruit?

Does eating a piece of fruit or squeezing it into a juice to drink offer the same health benefits?

Various freshly squeezed fruits juices

No. Even if you take an orange and squeeze fresh orange juice, drinking the juice of the orange doesn’t offer the same health benefits of eating the orange.

Fruit juice lacks fiber, an important nutrient found in whole fruit, writes Dan Remley, an educator in family and consumer sciences for Ohio State University Extension, the outreach arm of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“Fiber helps the digestive system, lowers cholesterol, promotes a healthy colon, and lowers blood sugar spikes, just to name a few benefits,” Remley writes in The Juice on Juice, a blog post at the Live Healthy Live Well website.

The site, which can be found at livehealthyosu.com, is a free information resource that offers science-based consumer information and insights. It’s written by OSU Extension educators and specialists in family and consumer scienceswho promote health and wellness.

In the blog post, Remley adds, “Eating an orange or an apple will give you the fiber and also the juice.” This is because the dietary fiber, which is found in the pulp and the skin of the fruit, is typically left out of the juice. Dietary fiber within the pulp of the fruit binds to the natural sugars as it travels through your gastrointestinal tract. This process makes it harder for your body to absorb those sugars, resulting in the sugar accumulating in your blood at a slower, lower rate than it would if you were to drink the juice instead.

Another benefit of eating the pulp and skin of some fruits as opposed to drinking fruit juice is that the pulp and skin are loaded with many vitamins and nutrients. For example, the skin of apples, blueberries, grapes, pears, plums, raspberries, and strawberries contains carotenoids and flavonoids, which are beneficial antioxidants that can protect you from disease and help boost your immune system.

When you choose to drink juice, the best option is to choose 100% juice because vitamins and minerals are higher in 100% juice, Remley writes, noting that, “Some juice products are fortified with calcium and vitamin D, which are helpful to bones and teeth.”

“Juices such as grape juice have other antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are anti-inflammatory and can also promote healthy cardiovascular systems and prevent some cancers.”

In addition to drinking water, or milk, Remley offers the following alternatives to juice:

  • Fruit- or herb-infused water
  • A splash of juice in a spritzer
  • Lemon-infused water, with some honey or sweetener
  • Tea

Chow Line is a service of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its outreach and research arms, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line writer Tracy Turner, 364 W. Lane Ave., Suite B120, Columbus, OH 43201, or turner.490@osu.edu.

Editor: This column was reviewed by Dan Remley, field specialist in food, nutrition, and wellness for OSU Extension.

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