Having more servings of fruit every day can encourage healthy weight loss or weight maintenance and provide a number of other health advantages. However, fruit juice is a more highly processed product than fresh or frozen fruit, and it often has a nutritional profile that isn’t quite as conducive to steady weight loss.
The USDA notes that the high amounts of dietary fiber present in fruit can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Eating more fruit and drinking natural fruit juice can also bring about some of the same benefits that losing weight produces, including reducing risks of cancer, bone loss, diabetes, kidney stones, heart attack and stroke.
Fruit juice tends to be higher in sugar and lower in fiber than fresh fruit, which means it’s not an optimal choice for weight loss. According to the USDA, 1 cup of orange juice has about 120 calories, 1.5 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 29 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber and 21 g sugar. In contrast, a fresh navel orange has about 70 calories, 1.5 g protein, no fat, 17.5 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber and 12 g sugar. A cup of apple juice has 115 calories, no protein, 0.5 g fat, 28 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fiber and 24 g sugar, but a fresh medium apple has about 95 calories, 0.5 g protein, 0.5 g fat, 25 g carbohydrates, 4.5 g fiber and 19 g sugar.
To slim down, you must consistently burn more calories than you consume. It doesn’t matter what time of the day or night you drink fruit juice; what matters is your calorie total for each day. No matter when you eat, your body stores extra calories as fat. Thus, if you’re going to drink fruit juice, use an online calorie counter or a food journal to keep track of what else you’re consuming so that you can work on reducing portion sizes and cutting calorie totals.
Be aware that drinking too much fruit juice or having too much fruit at the expense of other healthy food groups can actually lead to weight gain and other negative health consequences. Dr. Melina Jampolis, physician nutrition specialist for CNN.com, advises against having more than three servings of fruit per day if you’re trying to lose weight. She also champions fresh fruit over juice. “I would stick with fresh or frozen fruit only. Skip the dried fruit, fruit cups and fruit juice, all of which are higher in calories or lower in fiber and easier to over-consume,” she states. Before you start any new weight-loss tactic or make significant changes to your diet, speak with your doctor.