Is Juicing a Healthy Way to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables?

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., "Ask Our Nutritionist,"July/August 2012

Learn if drinking fruit or vegetable juice is as nutritious as eating a piece of fruit or vegetables.

Drinking 100% fruit or vegetable juice can help boost your produce intake—a good thing when you consider that most Americans fall short in meeting the recommended intake (5½ cups daily for a 2,000-calorie diet). That said, we drink more than half of our fruit intake. And juice boasts less fiber and is more calorie-dense than whole produce: two medium oranges deliver about the same number of calories as a cup of orange juice, but boasts 12 times the fiber. Whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are also healthier because they generally have more phytochemicals (the compounds behind the disease-fighting benefits of produce). Plus, research suggests when you eat your calories versus drink them, you feel more satisfied and stay fuller longer.

If you’re juicing to detox or slim down—trends that are now back in vogue—there’s no science to support either. Your kidneys and liver naturally detoxify your blood. And if your juicy diet delivers fewer calories than you need, you’ll lose weight, but you may not sustain it.

Bottom Line: Most of your servings should come from whole or cut-up fruits and vegetables. When choosing juice, look for one that’s 100% juice—and is pasteurized. Making your own? Only prepare what you’ll drink right away, as harmful bacteria can grow in juice quickly.