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Best Fruit Juice

Which common fruit juices have the most (and least) phenolic phytonutrients, which may protect against Alzheimer’s disease: apple juice, cranberry cocktail, grape juice (white, red, and purple), grapefruit juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, or pomegranate juice?

November 28, 2011 |
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If phenolics are what's in fruit juice that provides protection against Alzheimers disease, then which juice might be best? They compared apple juice to cranberry cocktail, grape juice—purple, red, and white, grapefruit juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, and pomegranate. Whenever I show brand names, it’s only because they were the actual brands used in the study.

Here’s the graph. As you can see, one really pulls ahead, though the next 5 came out pretty respectable; with a couple phenolic flops at the end. Which do you guess those are? Pineapple… apple apple… and white grape. Who do you think leads the pack? Six left to choose from.… Purple grape #1, then cranberry, pomegranate, grapefruit, orange, and red grape. So there are definitely better choices than apple, though this was for clear apple juice. Cloudy apple juice has more—way more, but that’s because it’s cheating and actually has a tiny bit of the actual fruit in there, that's it's cloudy. So imagine how superior an entire apple would be compared to juice, or even better, a whole pomegranate or whole concord grapes.

So the best fruit juice is the one inside the whole fruit. \

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Peter Mellor.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And be sure to check out all the videos on juice, particularly Phytochemicals: The nutrition facts missing from the label.

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Alzheimer's Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventableApple Peels Turn On Anticancer GenesThe Science of Acai Berries, and  Which Common Fruit Fights Cancer Better?

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And be sure to check out all the videos on juice, particularly Phytochemicals: The nutrition facts missing from the label.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/HeidiWoodruff/ Heidi Woodruff

    What about green smoothies? I blend apples, bananas, blueberries and spinach. Is it better to have the whole fruit instead of the juice?

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

      Hello Heidi,

      To add on to Nicky’s comment, typically it is best to eat the whole food as you don’t get as full from the smoothie. The fibers are destroyed in the blending process. Its a different story if your juicing a fruit because then you are missing out on 90% of then nutrients!
      http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/fruit-juice-fail/

      • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/joel/ Joel

        Your post is confused. a) A green smoothie DOES use the whole fruits and veges, nothing less than eating them whole but unblended.
        b) What do you mean by “destroyed”?

        • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

          Sorry Joel for the confusion, let me clarify.

          If your trying to get full, when you blend up an apple for example in a smoothie, you will not get as full as you would eating the apple alone because you have now liquified the fibers. If one is trying to get in the greens and fruits for the day then go ahead and liquify, no issues, but if your looking to stay satiated longer, then eating the whole food is best.

          I also added that juicing is a poor alternative to smoothies. I hope my post makes more sense now.

          • A

            Not actually true. There have been some studies (sorry i can’t reference them i saw it on a BBC nutrition documentary) that compared fullness from eating a fruit and drinking a glass of water compared to a smoothie of the same fruit blended with the same amount of water. The smoothie was actually more fulling. This is because unless the water is fully blended with something to give it nutrients and calories it get absorbed very quickly leaving behind the fruit like a sieve. Where as a smoothie the liquid component gets absorbed way slower (along with the fruit) as the body can’t separate them as they are so well blended. This is all despite the fact some of the fibre gets broken down during the blending process. I have a smoothie every day for breakfast and it leaves me incredibly full unit lunch time.

    • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

      I’m a huge green smoothie fan! You’re taking the healthiest thing on the planet (dark green leafy vegetables) and releasing all that nutrition (you could never really chew that well). In fact I just wrote the foreword for the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Green Smoothies, which will be out May 2012.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/nickyc/ NickyC

    Hi Heidi,
    Green smoothies are awesome! Whole fruit is almost always better than the juice. The juice is a highly concentrated source, and therefore provides an abnormal amount of sugar. Furthermore, the whole fruit contains the fibers, which are highly beneficial to your health.

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/MariaVandervert/ Maria Vandervert

    Hi Dr. Greger – What are your thoughts on fresh green juice? Juicing fresh cucumber, pear, kale, ginger,romaine, broccoli.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post Alzheimer’s Disease: Up to half of cases potentially preventable!

  • Simon Porteous

    Hi Dr Greger, I’m trying to learn more about the natural anti-inflamatories in foods, in particular te supposed benefits of bromelains from pineapple. Are you able to shed some light on the subject. Thanks.

  • livnat

    hi my name is livnat and i want to know what is the best diet for kids 8 and 9 yr old ty.

  • Superfoods for life

    Doc. What are the best nutrients for an eye disease called karatoconus.

  • Annie

    I read that tart cherry juice is good for arthritic pain and good to drink at night before bed. Is it really?

  • Francis Fong

    What about freshly squeezed raw sugar cane juice? Any studies on the health benefits of drinking it?

  • Kerry

    I wish you would check out the juice of the muscadine grape. There are 88 phenolic compounds in the muscadine grape. Probably better than any of those surveyed in the video, I imagine.

  • jeff swanson

    Hey, Doc. Can you do a video on hydrochloric acid deficiency?
    As it turns out I CAN eat wheat. I just need to take hydrochloric acid before and after eating it. As a matter of fact my joint pain; which has plagued me since high school is gone when I take hydrochloric acid. :)