You may think that juice that is not from concentrate is better than juice that is from concentrate. However, if no additional ingredients, such as sugar and chemical preservatives, are added to a "from concentrate" juice, it's no worse for you than a juice that's not from concentrate.
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"Not from concentrate" isn't the same thing as fresh, raw juice — it's simply juice that's been pasteurized without being concentrated. No matter what type of juice you get, make sure it doesn't contain added sweeteners.
Read more: Health Risks for Juice From Concentrate
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The "From Concentrate" Difference
Both "from concentrate" and "not from concentrate" juices are pasteurized to remove potential pathogens that may have been in the fruit. Pasteurization involves quickly heating the juice to kill any pathogens. Commercial juices labeled "not from concentrate" are made by juicing the fruit, and then pasteurizing it.
From concentrate" juice is juiced from the fruit, then filtered through a processor that extracts water. This way, the juice takes up less space when transported. Before being packaged and sold, water is added back into the concentrated juice and it's pasteurized, according to the European Fruit Juice Association.
As long as the process only involves adding the correct amount of water back into the concentrated juice, juice from concentrate has no difference nutritionally than juice not from concentrate. The calorie content will be the same, and the nutrient density of the juice won't be affected, either. However, if additional ingredients are added, like sugar — often in the form of high fructose corn syrup — the nutritional profile of the juice will be different due to the additional sugar.
Different brands of juice from concentrate may add different additional ingredients in the juice during processing. For example, one common brand of "from concentrate" apple juice contains only apple juice from concentrate and added vitamin C, while another popular brand of "from concentrate" apple juice contains added sugar. Juice with added sugar may be higher in calories, and will definitely be less healthy.
Read more: The Best Juices to Drink in the Morning
Consider the Health Benefits
"Not from concentrate" juice is not necessarily healthier than "from concentrate" juice. However, it is important to read the nutrition label, choosing products that contain 100 percent juice without added sugars. Added sugars can be listed as a host of different ingredients, like "corn syrup," "high fructose corn syrup," "dextrose" and "malt."
With any type of juice, check the calorie content if you're at risk for obesity or diabetes; juice is often high in calories and carbohydrates, but it doesn't fill you up. The serving size for fruit juice is 1/2 cup, according to the American Heart Association, which can be easy to exceed.
The type of juice can make a difference nutritionally as well. For example, both apple juice and tomato and vegetable juice count toward your recommended daily goal of two cups of fruit and two to three cups of vegetables a day, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.
If you're looking to cut calories and the amount of sugar in your diet, consider swapping vegetable juice for your fruit juice. Half a cup of 100 percent apple juice contains nearly 60 calories, while half a cup of 100 percent tomato juice has about 20 calories. In addition, tomato juice has significantly less sugar, weighing in at 3 grams, compared with apple juice which has 11 grams.
- American Heart Association: "What Is a Serving?"
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: "All About the Fruit Group"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Apple Juice, Canned or Bottled, Unsweetened, Without Added Ascorbic Acid"
- USDA FoodData Central: "Tomato Juice, Canned, Without Salt Added"
- European Fruit Juice Association: "How Fruit Juice Is Made"