Can You Drink Juice Instead of Water?

Whether you're exercising, eating spicy food or just need something cold to drink, you might be wondering if water or juice is the better choice. While both quench your thirst and count towards your daily fluid intake, you may want to reach for the glass of H2O before the fruit juice.

In most circumstances, you should opt for water before drinking fruit juice.
Credit: LeszekCzerwonka/iStock/GettyImages

Tips

In most circumstances, you should opt for water before drinking fruit juice.

Fruit Juice Pros and Cons

The occasional glass of cranberry juice in the morning is a popular choice for many people. But if this is your daily habit, you may want to consider cutting back and only consuming fruit juice in moderation.

According to the USDA, a 12-ounce glass of 100 percent cranberry juice (not a blend) has 171.6 calories and 45.36 grams of carbohydrate with 45 grams coming from sugar. It also has 0.48 grams of fat and 1.45 grams of protein.

While the sugar content in cranberry juice is high, it does contain water, which counts towards your daily water goal. A 12-ounce glass of cranberry juice has approximately 324 grams or 11.42 ounces of water.

Additionally, if eating the recommended number of servings of fruit each day is a challenge, then getting some vitamins and minerals from fruit juice may be better than getting none. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that only one in ten adults meet the federal fruit recommendations of at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day.

Of course, increasing the amount of whole fruit you eat is the goal. But on those days when grabbing an apple or banana is just not an option, sipping on a small glass of fruit juice may be OK. When you do opt for fruit juice, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health says you should limit your intake to 4 to 6 ounces per day.

Read more: Why Drinking Juice Isn't Nearly as Healthy as Eating Whole Fruit

Importance of Drinking Water

It's no secret that water should make up the majority of your daily beverage consumption. That's because water plays a key role in regulating your body temperature, lubricating and cushioning joints, getting rid of wastes, protecting your spinal cord and keeping you hydrated, according to the CDC.

The amount of water you need each day depends on a variety of factors including exercise and activity level, body size, overall health, climate and existing health conditions. The Mayo Clinic cites guidelines from the National Academies Of Sciences, Engineering, which determined that men need about 15.5 cups or 3.7 liters of water per day and women need approximately 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters of water per day.

Most of your water needs should be met via water itself, but you can also contribute to your daily intake by choosing foods like soups, broth, spinach and watermelon that are high in water. Plus, if you are consistently meeting your daily water needs, then the occasional glass of 100 percent fruit juice can be part of a nutritious diet.

Read more: Why Is Drinking Water Good for Me and How Soon Will I See a Difference?

Tips to Increase Daily Fluids

If you're on the low end of fluid intake most days of the week, a few tips to help you meet your daily quota might be exactly what you need.

  • Dilute fruit juice with water by combining 3 to 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice with 2 to 3 ounces of water.
  • Eat foods high in water including broth, soup, watermelon, tomatoes, cantaloupe, celery, spinach, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries and zucchini.
  • Add your favorite sliced fruit or vegetables to your water for a refreshing drink — lemon, lime, oranges, grapefruit, cucumber, berries and kiwi all make great additions.
  • Start your day with a warm cup of herbal tea.
  • Drink one glass of water before each meal.
  • Fill a water bottle with 18 to 20 ounces of water and add 4 ounces of 100 percent cranberry juice. Sip throughout the day.
  • Make ice cubes with fruit-infused water. Then, add to a water bottle with plain water.
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