Nutrition Articles

The Truth about Juicing and Your Health

To Juice or Not to Juice;That is the Question

100 Grams of Juice vs Whole Foods
Food or Juice Calories Water content Fiber
Carbs Protein Vitamin A Vitamin C Potassium
Apple, 2.5'' diameter
Apple juice, 3 fl. oz.
86 g
88 g
2.4 g
0.2 g
13.8 g
11.3 g
0.3 g
0.1 g
54 IU
1.0 IU
4.6 mg
1.0 mg
107 mg
101 mg
Grapes, 20 whole
Grape juice, 3 fl. oz.
81 g
85 g
0.9 g
0.2 g
18.1 g
14.8 g
0.7 g
0.4 g
66 IU
8 IU
3.2 mg
0.1 mg
191 mg
104 mg
Orange, 2.5'' diameter
Orange juice, 3 fl. oz
87 g
88 g
2.2 g
0.2 g
12.5 g
10.4 g
0.9 g
0.7 g
247 IU
200 IU
59 mg
50 mg
166 mg
20 mg
Carrots, 2 (5.5'' long)
Carrot juice, 3 fl. oz.
88 g
89 g
2.8 g
0.8 g
9.6 g
9.3 g
0.9 g
0.9 g
16,706 IU
19,124 IU
5.9 mg
8.5 mg
320 mg
292 mg
Kale, 1.5 C chopped
Kale juice, 3 fl. oz.
84 g
1.7 g
0 g
8.8 g
8.0 g
4.3 g
2.5 g
9990 IU
14,750 IU
120 mg
116 mg
491 mg
428 mg
Tomato, 2.5'' diameter
Tomato juice, 3 fl. oz.
94 g
94 g
1.2 g
0.4 g
4.24 g
3.89 g
0.9 g
0.7 g
833 IU
450 IU
13.7 mg
18.3 mg
237 mg
229 mg
By looking at the chart, you'll notice:
  • Whole foods usually contain more vitamins and minerals. This is most often due to the fact that many of these nutrients are in (or very near) the skin of fruits and vegetables, which gets discarded as pulp when fruits and vegetables are juiced.  
  • Whole foods always provide more fiber. As expected, fiber content is always higher in the whole produce since it is primarily found in the pulp, which is removed with the traditional juicing process. Fiber is one of the key reasons that fruits and vegetable are so good for us.
  • Gram for gram, juice is slightly lower in calories due to its slightly higher water content. The calorie content of your juice will be dependent on the combination of produce used in your given juicing recipe.  However, this is only the case if you stick to the small 3-fluid ounce portion of juice listed in this chart. Many people drink large cups of juice, which can double or triple the calories listed. Notice that fruits do have a higher calorie content than most non-starchy vegetables, primarily due to their natural sugar content. 
  • Both juice and whole foods provide a lot of water. No matter which option you choose, juice, whole fruits and whole vegetables all provide needed hydration for the body.
  • Whole fruits are lower in carbs than their juices.  Both fruits and vegetables contain carbohydrates, but fruits contain more carbs than veggies typically do.  These carbs come primarily from the natural sugars contained in the produce, but are considered ''smart carbs'' because they are nutrient dense and rich in fiber, which helps slow  blood sugar response in the body. Yet, for people following a weight-loss program or a diet to control blood sugar levels, the carbs in fruits, vegetables, and their juices should all be monitored.  When making your selections, note that fruit juices are usually higher in carbohydrates. (Learn more about making smart fruit and juice choices when you have diabetes.)

    You may think that the Glycemic Index (GI) would be a helpful tool for calculating the nutritional differences between whole produce and juice.  However, for people with diabetes, counting total carbs is the most valuable tool for regulating blood sugar.  If you are having difficulty controlling blood sugar readings, work with your health care provider to adjust your eating plan.

One other concern with juicing is the cost. It takes a lot of fruits and vegetables to make a small amount of juice, and these fresh produce items don't come cheap. Especially if you are discarding the pulp, you're spending a lot of money on making fresh juice when your wallet (and body) may benefit more from simply eating the fresh produce. Healthy eating does not have to cost a lot of money, but if budgetary constraints are a top concern of yours, juicing isn't the most frugal choice when it comes to getting the most nutrition for your buck. 
So Why Do People Juice? What Are the Benefits?
People who juice usually fall into one or more categories based on the reason they choose to juice.

  • The Juice Cleanser uses a juice concoction with the goal of detoxing the body and giving the gut a rest.
  • The Juice Faster is typically looking to jump-start their weight loss by using fruit and vegetable juices as their main source of nutrition for up to a few days, weeks, or even months.
  • The Juice Snacker enjoys freshly squeezed juice with a meal or snack, and occasionally replaces a meal with only juice. This juicer simply likes juice or feels that fresh juice is a healthy addition to their diet on occasion.

Does juicing help people reach any of the goals above? I'll be the first to admit that while there is a great deal of research regarding the health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, there is very little research-based evidence regarding the juice of such produce. Yet, we can still use science and common sense to answer the most common questions about juicing. Continued ›

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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • Thank you so much for this combination of research and common sense. I'm losing weight just fine on the SparkPeople Diabetic Menu, with whole foods. It is increasing my consumption of vegetables and fruits in a convenient way (easier to pack for work) and is training me in new life habits that will be possible to maintain wherever I am.

    I was on an all-liquid diet years ago and did not learn the practical strategies I'm learning now. - 11/25/2015 1:29:12 PM
  • I've been juicing heavily for nearly a year. I have lost weight, lowered my cholesterol into the 'normal' range, and the pain in my joints is greatly diminished. I've done 30 days of pure juice, then 4 15-day pure juice, and am currently on Day 3 of an 18-day juice. I could never eat the quantity of produce (minimum 80% veg / max 20% fruit) that I juice, but I am flooding my body with the goodness of these micronutrients. I recommend that anyone who wants to see what juicing can do watch 'Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead' 1 and 2 and 'Super Juice Me'. You'll learn a lot about juicing and what it can (and will) do for you. There are several Facebook groups offering support for juicers. - 11/25/2015 1:21:23 PM
  • I'm a skeptic when it comes to "fads" like juicing (where you get a lot of conflicting information), but I did a 3-day juice fast once - found it filling, and I felt fabulous! I don't think of it as a long-term weight-loss solution for me; just doesn't fit into my lifestyle. And man, that juicer is a pain to clean when you don't have a dishwasher!

    Unfortunately you lose me when you say "whole fruits have less carbs than juice" but your table completely contradicts that statement. - 11/25/2015 10:28:51 AM
  • I avoid drinking calories at all costs.
    However, when embarking on a fast I prefer a protein shake to juice as it's more filling.
    Want more fruits and vegetables? Eat them, so that you get all the fiber. - 11/25/2015 9:55:23 AM
    I am confused. Your statement that, "Whole fruits are lower in there carbs than juices" seems to be completely contradicted by the figures displayed in the table on the same webpage. Can you please help clarify this statement for me? - 10/19/2015 2:48:23 AM
    I love my nutribullet Rx now being able to make healthy hot soups or sauces. There is no food waste you get it all. Pulp fiber it's all in there. Best of all the clean up is nothing compared to juicers.
    shealthnfitne - 8/15/2015 12:30:18 PM
  • While juicing, we remove fibers from fruits, which are helpful for digestion system.It is always suggested to have whole fruits instead of juicing. - 6/18/2015 6:27:53 AM
  • We incorporate juicing, but it's not by any means a major part of our diet. For one thing, I am pre-diabetic, so I need to be careful about my sugars. (Yes, even veggie juices can be high in sugars, and we need the fiber to balance that out.)

    We keep our pulp,and I use it in soups and sauces later on. It may or may not affect the flavor of the foods we add it to, but it DOES add fiber!

    We are also both experimenting with raw foods, and adding in juice here and there helps with that. Raw is not easy when you are first starting out, so juicing is a nice, familiar way to work in more raw foods and push out more cooked foods.

    It all comes down to knowing your body, knowing your health issues and what medications you are taking, and using common sense.3

    Jen M, Maryland - 4/30/2015 4:53:50 PM
  • I have been juicing for months now and the results have been amazing. Anyone who says it's bad for you needs to look into more. How come consuming more fruits and vegetables is a bad thing? Just stay away from processed foods. Yes it would be wonderful to be able to eat all the fruits and vegetables however me eating, 4 stalks of celery, 4 apples, 3 carrots, a bunch of kale, handful of spinach, 1 cucumber, 4 oranges, 4 kiwi, 2 thumb size of ginger, a handful of parsley, 2 mango's, just doesn't seem possible to do in a matter of minutes. I consume this within 20 minutes of juicing twice a day. Then I eat a whole plant based meal for my other meal. I feel full and have stopped counting calories. I measure how I feel. All the nutrients that are in each one of these are quickly consumed into my body because I'm getting in my body in a manner in which it needs. The above food is just what I juice. and as far as the cost goes, it's saving me money. I no longer eat meat, (just my choice) and I do not eat out, and do not buy processed food including cheese etc. Where the big savings is my health, I'm not missing work due to illness, I sleep better therefore I am more alert during the day. I am happier to be around. I do not need to buy pain medication to try remove pain caused by another chemical. My skin has cleared up, my sore back that use to prevent me from walking is now gone.
    Funny how we need to consult a doctor before we eat better... Live life to the fullest, do what makes you feel good. No one ever should tell you what not to do. Anyone who is telling you not to do something just means they have gone to school to learn something someone else found out first. You know you're body the best, learn to listen to it. - 1/14/2015 9:43:01 AM
  • LOLA5021
    I just got the nutribullit and it pulverizes everything. I cannot decide on a good morning shake for energy. Does anyone know of a good one for energy? - 1/13/2015 2:34:36 PM
    As long as I have teeth, I'll stick to eating the fruit and vegetables, thanks just the same. Waste of time, for one thing. Waste of the fruit and vegetable pulp, too. Ok if you are sick and can't eat. - 12/7/2014 1:12:12 PM
  • I have started juicing -- dont know how to count the calories as it is not the same as eating the fruit-- should equate to about 100 calories-- apple cranberry pineapples juice. I do not sub meals this is part of my spread out breakfast follow with oatmeal or eggs and coffee-- mid-day snack of veg juice-- spinach apple carrot parsley celery--- suppose to chew as you drink-- feel very full for hours eat normal meals. I do vary the fruits and vegetables I use - 10/31/2014 11:48:36 AM
    Interesting article thanks, what is the source for that table? - 10/28/2014 8:11:12 AM
  • I enjoyed this article - I have a juicer somewhere- O found it wastes a lot of the fibre although I have to admit I DID enjoy carrot juice!! I think for the time and trouble it would be easier for me to buy it fo the odd time I feel a need for it (or just buy some V-8 -which BTW isn't as healthy in my opinion as they try ti make out). - 8/28/2014 9:19:35 PM
  • If you wanted to compare apples to apples, you should compare home juice to store juice. You're quite likely to find all the nutrition has been baked, boiled, and irradiated out of the store juice. Also, you'll find people using juicers have increased their intake of fresh fruit (granted, without some pulp) from what they were previously using, which is rarely taken to the point where it would be a bad thing. - 5/16/2014 11:01:26 AM

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