Most of the debates on the health dangers of fruit juice concern the intake of high amounts of sugar and its possible association with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

For people with diabetes and those concerned about weight gain this is a problem. There is about the same amount of natural sugar in orange juice as there is added sugar in the same volume of coca-cola. In a standard can (330 ml) of coke or equivalent volume of orange juice there would be about 8 teaspoons of sugar.

Therefore just one serving of orange juice provides quite a significant sugar load and also not an insignificant amount of calories. With some variation in the figures the same argument applies to all the other fruit juices, a glass of any pure unsweetened fruit juice, similar in volume to a standard can of fizzy drink, is likely to contain between 150 to 200 calories.

Juice is the nutritious liquid contained in fruit or vegetables and obtained for consumption by squeezing or macerating their flesh without using heat.
Juice may be prepared in its pure untreated form or sweetened with sugar, nutritive sweeteners or artificial sweeteners. It may be marketed in a concentrated form or filtered to remove the fiber or pulp. Popular varieties include grapefruit, orange, pineapple or tomato although it has become increasingly popular to sell blends such as cranberry and apple or pomegranate and mango.

The possible health benefits of taking regular juice include the provision of essential vitamins and minerals to the diet. A common question is whether fruit juice is as beneficial as fruit itself to our health. The current global target to increase consumption of fruit and vegetables is based upon research demonstrating better health outcomes particularly in terms of prevention of heart disease. Regular fruit juice may help people attain these targets but is it at a cost of ingesting too much sugar and too many calories.

So what is the verdict? Is a piece of fruit better than fruit juice? If you are not getting enough fruit then fruit juice would provide many essential vitamins and minerals and could therefore be better than nothing. However, a comparison of the equivalent content of sugar, fiber and calories in both foods is overwhelmingly in favor of eating whole fruit.