A whole apple or apple juice?

A whole apple or apple juice?

A very common question asked of dietitians and nutrition professionals is about the benefits of juice over whole foods and fruits. In most cases, and as an addition to a healthy diet, a whole fruit will have more fiber and less sugar. Having less sugar and more fiber will help to keep you fuller for longer while providing fewer calories.

The biggest disadvantage to juice is that most of the fiber is removed because the fiber-containing skin is lost in processing. Fiber is important for heart health, for maintaining blood sugar levels, and for digestive health.

In my first post to this section I want to compare the nutrition in 1 medium apple to the nutrition in an 8 oz glass of apple juice:

Round 1: Calories

Calories are the body’s source of energy and are in all the foods that we eat. Unfortunately, all calories are not created equal because some provide more nutrition than others. Nutritionally “dense” calories found in whole foods and fruits are usually lower in sugar and other additives. Nutritionally “empty” calories on the other hand have very little nutritional benefit and don’t provide many vitamins and minerals, but instead provide a lot of calories and often have higher amounts of sugar and additives. Whole foods and fruits will always be more nutritionally dense than processed foods, so sticking to these most of the time will help to make the most of your diet.

The apple: 72 calories

1 8 oz glass of apple juice: 120 calories

The winner: The apple

Round 2: Sugar

There can be a lot of hidden sugar in the food we eat. Companies find easy ways to sneak sugar into foods even when we don’t know it’s there. Sugar comes in two kinds: the natural kind- like you can find in fruit and vegetables, and the added kind- like sugar you add to make things sweeter. Eating small amounts of the added kind is okay, but large quantities can be bad for your waistline and for your body as a whole.

The apple: 14 grams

1 glass of apple Juice: 27 grams

The Winner: The Apple

Round 3: Fat

Fat isn’t always bad. Certain kinds of fat, like that in olive oil, nuts, and fish are good for your heart and can help improve satiety. Try to stay away from fried foods because these are bad for your heart, blood vessels, and waistline.

The apple: 0 grams

1 glass of apple juice: 0 grams

The winner: Tie

Round 4: Fiber

Fiber is great for keeping you full and for helping improve digestive health. There is a lot of fiber in the skin of fruit- which is why the whole food is often so much better for you. Fiber is also found in veggies, and in whole grains- like brown rice, whole wheat, oats, and it’s even in beans.

The apple: 3 grams

1 glass of apple juice: 0 grams

The winner: The apple

Overall, the apple is the winner because it has fewer calories, less sugar and more fiber. An apple can be a great mid-morning or afternoon snack. Pairing the apple with some healthy fat and/or protein like peanut butter or some turkey will make the snack go even further because it will keep you fuller for longer.

Leave comments and suggestions about foods you want to see on this part of the blog!

- Healthy Gal

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