We’ve always been told that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. And today, nutritional science confirms what experts knew all along: Packing just 95 calories, the Harvard School of Public Health states that a medium apple contains no fat, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of natural sugar, and three grams of both insoluble and soluble fiber. By contrast, an 8-ounce glass of apple juice has 114 calories, less than half a gram of fat, 1/2 gram of dietary fiber, and nearly 24 grams of sugar (via Livestrong). So is drinking apple juice as beneficial as eating the fruit whole?
In some ways, the answer is yes. A top benefit of the juice actually is due to its high water content, making it a great way to keep your body hydrated, particularly during the hot summer months. And if you need to rehydrate quickly, dilute the apple juice with an equal amount of water for a tasty half-and-half beverage (via Healthline).
Apple juice gives you some health benefits
Apple juice can do more than hydrate. It’s also rich in vitamin C — and if you pick a brand that’s added an extra vitamin boost to its juice, one serving could help you meet more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. This nutrient is essential to the maintenance of your immune system and the production of collagen, which helps maintain healthy skin, tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels (via Livestrong).
And if you really want to reap the benefits of drinking apple juice, go for the cloudy, instead of clear, version. That’s because cloudy juice contains up to 62 percent more of the plant compound known as polyphenols, which helps arm your cells against the inflammation that can cause certain types of cancer and heart disease. Studies also suggest that polyphenols could protect your brain from harmful free radicals, but more tests are needed to determine how much apple juice we’d need to take in order for it boost our brain function (via Healthline).
Apple juice isn't the best thing for you
As with most things, too much apple juice has several downsides. While apples themselves are full of beneficial plant compounds, two of the most important ones, quercetin and pectin, are only found in the skin — which doesn’t make its way into the juice (via Harvard). Plus, since you don’t need to work as hard to digest apple juice as you would an apple, drinking large quantities of it — and all of the sugar it contains — could trigger weight gain (via Healthline). More importantly, all of that sugar can lead to increased insulin resistance and even diabetes, according to a study in the scientific journal The BMJ.
These factors combine to make apple juice an enjoyable beverage that we can enjoy occasionally, but it’s probably best to avoid a daily glass.
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