Whole fruit vs fruit juice

Why are they so very different?

You’d be forgiven for thinking that drinking fruit juice is no different to eating a whole piece of fruit. After all, it’s natural, often contains no additives or preservatives, and is full of vitamins and nutrients – right? 

In reality, fruit juice can affect your oral health and overall health if you’re drinking too much or drinking it too frequently, so it’s important to think about it in a different way to whole pieces of fruit. Our tips below give a helpful overview of what to be aware of.

1. Fruit juice can affect your oral health

Fruit is packed with a natural fruit sugar called fructose. When you juice fruit, you remove the flesh and are left with a sugary liquid full of the fructose that’s been released. A single 250ml glass of apple juice can contain up to seven teaspoons of sugar, which is almost as much as cola! 

From a dental perspective, this sugary liquid can significantly affect your oral health if you’re drinking fruit juice regularly. “Every time you eat or drink something sugary, your teeth are under attack from the bacteria in your mouth,” says Henry Clover, our Chief Dental Officer. “They react with sugar and create acids which can cause tooth decay. This means that if you’re regularly sipping on fruit juice, it can have the same decaying effect as a fizzy drink. 

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Is juicing fruit as good for you as eating it whole?

“Fruit juice is also highly acidic and can soften and dissolve tooth enamel, the hard white outer layer of teeth,” adds Henry. “If you’ve drunk an acidic beverage, always wait at least an hour before you brush your teeth as you could damage your tooth enamel with the abrasive brushing action. “Only one 150ml glass of fruit juice counts towards your ‘five a day’. Limit your intake and try to drink this with a meal to reduce the effects of the sugar and acid. Avoid giving fruit juice to children, but if you do, always dilute it, only give it to them as part of a meal, and never give it to them to drink out of a bottle.”

2. Drinking lots of fruit juice could affect your daily calorie intake

Because they contain lots of sugar, fruit juices are quite calorie-heavy. It’s a lot easier to drink fruit juice than eat the equivalent whole pieces of fruit, meaning that you could end up consuming a lot of juice in one sitting. Did you know that it takes around three to four oranges to produce just 250ml of juice? You could drink this quite easily without getting full, but try eating four whole oranges at once and you’d probably struggle!

This is known as ‘satiety’ which is a word used to describe how full you feel after consuming something. So, drinking high calorie but low-satiety fruit juice means you’re more likely to consume other things to satisfy your appetite, thereby increasing your overall calorie intake.

“Many people count calories, concerned about weight gain,” says Claire White, author of Sugar Snub and nutritional advisor. “Clever marketing has tricked us into believing that fruit juice is a nutritious staple in our diet, when in fact a glass of juice contains approximately 150 calories whereas a single fruit contains approximately 45 calories. We inevitably consume more than our bodies need, making their marketing very successful, and our weight gain inevitable.”

3. Fruit juice doesn’t contain as much fibre*

Fruit juice does offer some nutritional value because it contains a range of vitamins (particularly vitamin C), nutrients and antioxidants.

However, the juicing process removes the beneficial insoluble fibre which the body needs to feel full and to aid digestion. This means you’re essentially left with a very sugary drink. Whole pieces of fruit retain the beneficial fibre value which offsets the sugar content and supports healthy digestion.

“Juice is often consumed as a quick fix to obtaining sufficient vitamins and minerals,” says Claire. “Cartons can contain a mixture of fruits making it even more appealing, and we have a large glass thinking we are doing the best for our health. By removing the fibre and consuming large amounts there is a large insulin reaction, as it battles to control the sugar from fructose flying around our bodies. Whether the sugar comes from juice, cola or cake, the reaction from the body is the same, and the inevitable health consequences build up. Vitamins are best served from the whole fruit with fibre included, so enjoy fruit in its original form - our bodies prefer it that way.”


Published: August 9th, 2016

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