Fruit vs. Fruit Juice: What’s the Difference?

Drinking 100 percent fruit juice may juice sound like a healthy option, but it’s a far cry from eating the real deal—whole, fresh fruit.

In fact, new research finds that drinking just one glass of 100 percent fruit juice every day leads to gaining close to half a pound over three years. Yet increasing whole fruit intake by one serving each day resulted in about a pound of weight loss over three years.

Why is eating whole fruit better for you than drinking juice? Here’s a look at how fruit juice affects your body and how it’s different from eating whole fruit.

The Sugar Problem

A single six-ounce serving of 100 percent fruit juice contains:

  • About 15 to 30 grams of sugar

  • 60 to 120 calories

What’s more, fruit juice has very little fiber—even pulp in orange juice doesn’t provide much of the nutrient. The high sugar and low fiber content of juice means that it can spike blood sugar levels and increase your appetite. Over time, this combination can lead to weight gain.

In the study of nearly 50,000 postmenopausal women, researchers found that weight gain among fruit juice drinkers was on par with those who regularly consumed sugary drinks like soda.

The Whole Fruit Solution

Whole, fresh fruit, however is full of fiber. Fiber-rich fruits can help you feel full while eating fewer calories. Dietary fiber in fruits can also help reduce cholesterol and may lower the risk for heart disease.

Skip the straw and snack on fresh fruit instead. Here are some ideas to add more fruit into your diet:

  • Mix them into your salads.

  • Snack on dried fruit like raisins, dates, or apricots.

  • Add sliced apple or banana to your peanut butter sandwiches.

  • Sprinkle fruit, such as berries, into your pancake or waffle batter.

  • Add sliced fruit to your cereal or oatmeal.