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Is Fruit Juice Bad for You? The Pros and Cons of Drinking Juice

By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

is fruit juice bad for you

Is fruit juice bad for you? The answer depends on the type of juice you choose and how much of it you drink.

Knowing which fruit juices are nutritious and which to avoid can help you maintain exceptional health!

As with most foods and beverages, nearly everything is OK if you consume it in moderation and fruit juice is no exception.

Limit juice 1-2 cups per day if possible and always choose 100% fruit juice over sugar-sweetened alternatives.

Here's everything you need to know about fruit juice!

What about just plain fruit, is THAT healthy? This video answers that and more!

Fruit Juice Nutrition Facts

Fruit juice contains natural sugar, water, vitamins, and minerals, so it often gives you a quick boost of energy.

Nutritional facts for a 1-cup portion of 100% juice is as follows:

  • Calories: 90-110 grams
  • Protein: 0-2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 21-28 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams

Juices often contain vitamin C. Some are fortified with or naturally rich in calcium, potassium, B vitamins, or magnesium.

When looking at the nutrition label of your favorite fruit juices, there are several important things to keep in mind.

Check the ingredient list to make sure the juice you choose is free from added sugar.

The number of grams of total sugar might be 20-28 grams per serving, but the grams of added sugar should be zero.

Look for juice labels that say “100% juice,” and steer clear of low-calorie juice blends containing artificial sweeteners, artificial colors, or other artificial ingredients.

Pros and Cons of Fruit Juice

When asking the question “is fruit juice bad for you,” the answer may surprise you.

As with many foods and drinks, pros and cons exist for fruit juice.

Pros

There are numerous benefits you can reap by adding fruit juice to your daily meal plan.

Juice offers a quick boost of energy from natural sugars, which are carbohydrates that are much healthier for you than added sugar.

Natural sugar breaks down in your body quickly, which comes in handy when you need a quick pick-me-up at work or before and after workouts.

Many juices are a good source of minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C.

However, check the nutrition facts label to be sure.

Antioxidants found in many fruits and their juices can reduce cell damage and your risk of cancer and other diseases.

Lastly, consuming fresh fruit or fruit blended with water instead of sweet treats can fill you up without the extra calories.

Doing so is beneficial for weight loss, long-term healthy weight management, body detoxification, increased energy, and a low risk of chronic diseases.

Cons

Though juice provides you with calories from natural sugar, it lacks other essential nutrients like fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats.

Eating real fruit is often a better option than drinking fruit juice because of the higher fiber content of whole fruits.

Getting plenty of fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds can dramatically reduce your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease, as well as the risk of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

While juice offers you quick energy, it usually doesn't keep you full for very long.

Drinking too much juice, especially in place of water, can increase your and your children's risk of obesity.

This is especially true if you're not as active as you'd like to be.

Lastly, drinking a lot of juice daily may increase your and your kids' risk of tooth decay, especially if you don't brush your teeth after drinking juice or eating meals.

Is fruit good for weight loss? Learn about the best fruits for dieting!

How Much Juice Should I Drink?

While there's no specific recommendation when it comes to how much juice you should drink, you can always follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Based on these guidelines, 1 cup of 100% fruit juice counts as one serving from the fruit group.

Many women need about 2 servings of fruit daily.

Your unique needs might be less than or greater than this, depending on your daily calorie requirements.

For example, women who consume 1,200-1,400 calories daily for weight loss might need just 1- 1.5 servings of fruit (or 100% fruit juice) each day.

Choose whole fruit with the skin on, or fresh fruit blended into smoothies, over fruit juice when you can to keep your fiber intake as high as possible.

Here are some of the best fruits to eat!

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Should I Give Juice to My Kids?

If you're wondering “is fruit juice bad for you,” you're probably also curious about whether or not you should give juice to kids.

The answer is: it depends on the type of juice you choose, the amount, and your child's age.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends NOT giving juice to kids younger than age 1.

Fruit juice doesn't appear to offer nutritional benefits for this age group.

However, the AAP says it's OK for kids older than age 1 to drink small amounts of fruit juice, though water and whole fruits are usually the best options.

A few tips to consider based on AAP guidance include:

  • Limit juice to 4-6 ounces (1/2 cup – 3/4 cup) per day for kids ages 1-6
  • Don't let your child sip on juice all throughout the day
  • Limit juice intake to 8 ounces (1 cup) for kids ages 7-18
  • Mix 100% fruit juice with water to reduce its sugar and calorie content
  • Offer whole fruits in place of juices when possible

Avoid offering juice drink blends containing added sugar or artificial ingredients to children.

Alternatives to Fruit Juice

If you love the taste of juice, there are several alternatives to consider in place of regular juice — especially juice containing added sugar.

Examples of better options include:

  • Water with ice
  • Water flavored with fruit chunks
  • Water flavored with mint or cucumber
  • Water mixed with fruit juice and ice
  • Milk
  • Unsweetened plant milk
  • Unsweetened protein shakes
  • Vegetable juice
  • Whole fruits (apples, bananas, oranges, kiwi fruit, grapes, berries, melons, etc.)
  • Homemade fruit smoothies (blended whole fruit with water and ice)

By blending fresh fruit in a blender with water and ice, you can retain much of the fiber and micronutrient content of whole fruits.

Many vegetable juices are lower in sugar and calories than fruit juices.

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Refreshing Juice, Smoothie, and Popsicle Recipes!

There are a variety of ways to incorporate fruit or 100% fruit juice into daily meal plans for you and your family. Consider the following nutritious recipes containing fresh fruits or juices as ingredients!

Homemade Juice Recipes

Make sure you have your juicer ready before you begin preparing these delicious, homemade juice recipes!

Strawberry Grape Orange Juice

This refreshing homemade strawberry juice recipe is loaded with antioxidants and flavor!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of strawberries
  • 1 cup of red grapes
  • 1 orange

Instructions

  • Peel the orange.
  • Juice the oranges, grapes, and strawberries together in your juicer.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Berry Juice

If you love berries, you'll enjoy the sweet taste of this delicious homemade berry juice recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 2 cups of strawberries
  • 1-2 cups of raspberries
  • 1 apple

Instructions

  • Core the apple
  • Juice the apple and berries in your juicer.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Kiwi Pear Juice

Try this unique, homemade kiwi pear juice recipe that's loaded with flavor and micronutrients!

Ingredients

  • 3 pears
  • 2 kiwis
  • 1 apple

Instructions

  • Peel the kiwi fruits.
  • Core the pear and apple.
  • Juice the fruits in your juicer.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Watermelon Apple Juice

Have your juicer ready to prepare this sweet-tasting, watermelon apple juice recipe containing just 2 ingredients!

Ingredients

  • 3 slices of watermelon
  • 2 apples

Instructions

  • Core the apples.
  • Cut off the rind from the watermelon.
  • Juice together the ingredients.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Blended Fruit Smoothie Recipes

You'll need a blender to make the nutritious smoothie recipes below containing whole fruits as ingredients.

Blended Watermelon Juice

This simple watermelon juice recipe will be a big hit with friends and family.

It's refreshing and energizing, and free from added sugar!

Ingredients

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 1 small lime, juiced

Instructions

  • Slice the watermelon in half.
  • Scoop chunks (without seeds) from the watermelon into a blender and discard the rind.
  • Blend the watermelon until it's pulverized (about one minute).
  • Squeeze the juice of the lime into your blender.
  • Blend the mixture for a few seconds.
  • Pour the watermelon juice directly into glasses containing ice.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 4

Blueberry Protein Smoothies

This blueberry smoothie recipe contains protein in addition to natural sugars, and it's loaded with flavor!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries
  • Ice (optional)
  • Blueberries or blackberries for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and blend the mixture until smooth.
  • Garnish it with berries if you'd like.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 1-2

Orange Julius Smoothies

This Orange Julius smoothie recipe is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and flavor.

Your entire family will love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1/4 cup of milk or plant milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Orange slices for a garnish (optional)

Ingredients

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend the mixture until smooth.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 1

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Smoothies

This fruit and protein smoothie recipe is loaded with flavor and essential nutrients — even protein!

Everyone in your family, including your kids, will love it!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 large banana, frozen and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • Ice (optional)
  • 1/2 scoop of vanilla or chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seeds or chia seeds (optional)

Instructions

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend the mixture until it's smooth.
  • Pour into glasses, serve, and enjoy!

Servings: 1-2

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Homemade Fruit Popsicle Recipes

Add fresh fruit or juice to refreshing homemade popsicle recipes that don't contain any added sugar!

You'll need popsicle molds or ice cube trays to prepare the recipes below.

Apple Pie Popsicles

You don't have to feel guilty about eating or serving nutritious apple pie popsicles to your family!

They are mouth-watering, delicious, and nutritious!

Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup of kefir or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Dash of cloves
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Instructions

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree them.
  • Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, add popsicle sticks, and freeze until solid.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 8

Watermelon Popsicles

You can't go wrong when choosing healthy watermelon popsicles that look just like sliced watermelon!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of fresh watermelon, cubed
  • 3/4 cup of coconut yogurt
  • 6 kiwis, peeled

Instructions

  • Wash, slice, and cube the watermelon.
  • Blend it in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Transfer the watermelon to popsicle molds and freeze them for one hour.
  • Remove the popsicles from the freezer and place popsicle sticks in the molds.
  • Put the popsicles back in the freezer until the mixture is completely solid.
  • Add 1 tablespoon, or more if needed, of coconut yogurt to each mold and let the popsicles freeze a bit longer.
  • Blend kiwi fruit in a blender or food processor and top each popsicle layer with the kiwi.
  • Freeze the popsicles again, serve, and enjoy!

Servings: 10

Fr0zen Orange Cubes

This two-ingredient, frozen orange cubes recipe is a refreshing treat packed with antioxidants and flavor, yet free from added sugar!

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups of 100% orange-pineapple juice
  • 2 large strawberries, diced
  • Ice cube tray

Instructions

  • Dice the strawberries and place them in each ice cube tray hole.
  • Fill with the trays with orange juice.
  • Freeze them for about 3 hours or until solid.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 8

Protein Banana Popsicles

If you're in search of a popsicle recipe that's packed with protein in addition to natural sugars and micronutrients, consider a satiating protein banana popsicle recipe!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend the mixture until smooth.
  • Pour it into molds, add popsicle sticks, and let the popsicles freeze until completely solid.
  • Remove the popsicles from your freezer
  • Serve and enjoy!

Servings: 10

Meet SuperFuel. The Delicious Protein Shake Packed With 40+ Energy-Boosting Vitamins & Superfoods (Designed For Busy Women)

As a busy women, it’s challenging to stay consistent with healthy eating. That’s why we created SuperFuel… the delicious “all-in-one” nutrition shake for busy women 40+ to give your body the protein + key nutrients you need for more energy, fat burning, and muscle building.

Erin Coleman

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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