We all know that fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. Government health recommendations state that most of us should be eating two cups of fruit and two and a half cups of vegetables each day. But how many of you choose your servings of fruits and vegetables from juice drinks? While a cup of 100% juice counts as a serving the same as a cup of whole fruit or vegetables, research suggests that the juice isn’t as nutritious as its fresh counterparts.
Scientists at the University of Alabama recently compared fresh fruit with 100% fruit juice to determine the amount of antioxidants each contained. Antioxidants are a type of molecule that protect our cells from damage, and they are one of the reasons why fruit and vegetables are so healthy for our bodies. The researchers found that a serving of many juices contained fewer antioxidants than a fresh serving of the same whole fruit. At the same time, these juices contained more sugar and more calories, which can lead to weight gain. The whole fruit was also found to have more fiber than the juice, which means it is more filling and will leave you feeling less hungry.
While the occasional drink of juice can be part of a healthy diet, it is better to eat the whole fruit or vegetable whenever possible. Your body will get more of the nutrients it needs!
Crowe, K. M., & Murray, E. (2013). Deconstructing a fruit serving: Comparing the antioxidant density of select whole fruit and 100% fruit juices. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 113(10), 1354-1358.
United States Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Food groups. Retrieved from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/