Fruit or Juice –Which is Smarter?

Children and adults need 1.5 – 2 cups of fruit a day.  It is definitely smarter to buy fruit than juice if you are thinking only about nutrition.  Check out my list below of the top 5 reasons why fruit is better. If you are thinking about cost and nutrition, the answer is more complicated.

Top 5 Reasons Why Fruit is Better than Juice for Nutrition

  1. 8 ounces of juice has 100-140 calories while medium size fruit has 70-100 calories.  Calories from liquids do not curb your appetite like calories from solid foods, so by choosing whole fruit you will not compensate by eating more or later in the day also you are more likely to eat something along with juice.
  2. Juices sometimes are fortified with a smattering of vitamins and minerals but fruit has small amounts of many nutrients.
  3. “Light” juices are usually diluted with water and have a calorie free sweetener added (sometimes with added vitamins).  You could stretch your juice at home by mixing it with water.
  4. Processing and removal of the skin and peel result in less antioxidants.
  5. Whole fruit provides more fiber.

Considering Cost…

First, make sure you are comparing “apples to apples” by looking only at containers labeled 100% juice.  Drinks, punches, “ades” or low-percent fruit juice products are so low in nutrients that they do not count.

In central Iowa at the end of August, concentrated fruit juice is hard to beat if you are on a tight budget.  It’s only about $0.25 a cup.  That being said, the benefits of fruit are clear so I would try to buy fruit that is in season (and cheaper) and make sure to eat it before it spoils.

Check out my cost comparison between fruit and juice plus a handy chart you can use to compare what a cup of fruit costs without the peels, cores, pits, etc.

-Pointer from Peggy

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