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It was estimated that the average American consumed 7.4 gallons of juice annually in 2009, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This number is said to have increased throughout the years. It doesn’t matter whether you consume juice or concentrate, both have a place in a balanced diet. Plus, you get distinct nutritional values from each type with one having more nutrients than the other. Let’s look at which one is healthier; juice or concentrate.

The Making of Juice and Concentrate

The juice is made by squeezing a fruit using a machine. Juice contains the vitamins and minerals found in whole fruit, but it lacks whole fruit’s fiber content. Concentrate, on the other hand, is a result of the extraction of liquid from a fruit leaving a thick, syrup product.

Due to water extraction, there is a reduction in bacterial growth, meaning that concentrate doesn’t spoil as easily as juice. However, processing methods differ, most concentrates are filtered, evaporated and pasteurized, but some contain additives. It’s up to you to be sure that the concentrate you choose doesn’t include additives.

Calories and Carbohydrates

Both juice and concentrate contain several nutritional similarities, including their calorie and sugar content. For instance, orange juice and orange juice concentrate, both contain 112 calories and 21 grams of sugar per serving. Fresh and concentrated grapefruit juice also has a similar calorie content, at 96 and 101 per cup, respectively. These two provide energy and are a great source of glucose that fuels the brain, muscles and other body tissues. While you might think that it’s healthy to switch from concentrate to juice, this might not significantly help reduce your calorie intake or lose weight.

Vitamin Loss

Juice happens to have higher vitamin content compared to concentrate. During processing, some vitamins are lost making the concentrate have lesser than the required amount. For example, raw orange juice contains 496 international units of vitamin A, more than orange juice concentrate which contains 266 IU. Also, fresh juice has more vitamin C than concentrate, 124 and 97 mg per serving, respectively. Both vitamins support essential body functions, vitamin A boosts immunity and nourishes the skin, while vitamin C is an antioxidant and assists in wound healing. Therefore, choosing juice over concentrate might benefit your health by boosting your vitamin intake.

Fortified Concentrate

Concentrated juice can contain nutrients not found in fresh juice due to nutrient fortification, the addition of vitamins or minerals during processing. For instance, calcium-fortified orange juice offers 349 mg of bone-building calcium per serving, contributing to 35 percent of daily needs, while juice has 27 mg per cup. Additionally, a one-cup serving of vitamin C fortified apple juice fulfills your entire daily vitamin C requirement, while a cup of fresh apple juice contains just 12.7 mg of vitamin C, which is 14 and 17 percent of daily vitamin C for men and women, respectively.

Beneficial Plant Compounds

Unlike juice, concentrate contains beneficial plant concentrates such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, and flavonoids. These compounds are associated with numerous health benefits, including improved heart health and decreased inflammation. Flavonoids in orange juice help fight chronic inflammation linked to obesity. A study showed that people who drunk juice concentrate for at least seven consecutive days experienced reduced markers of inflammation. Another study in 56 adults with obesity revealed that supplementing with a mixed fruit and vegetable juice concentrate for eight weeks reduced inflammation and increased lean body mass.

Intake Recommendations and Guidelines

Whether you choose fresh juice or concentrate, be sure to select 100 percent juice. Some juice labeled as fruit drinks, sometimes contain added sugar and don’t count toward your daily fruit intake. Moreover, juice shouldn’t be taken as the main source of fruit, instead, get most of your daily fruit intake from whole fruits. Also, let your daily fluids come from consuming water.

Conclusion

It’s worth noting that you should consume juice or concentrate in moderation because when making them you require more fruits than you would normally be eating whole. Excessive consumption of juice leads to diabetes, cancer among others due to the amount of sugar present. You should strictly avoid sweetened drinks at all costs. Furthermore, juice or concentrate lacks fiber thus they can trigger larger spikes in blood sugar than whole fruit because fiber helps stabilize the blood sugar level. When it comes to pricing, fresh juice tends to cost more than concentrate. For convenience, concentrates are long better, because they have a longer shelf life as compared to juice easing the work for those who don’t have access to fresh fruits or vegetables.

All images by Shutterstock

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