One-hundred percent carrot juice has more nutritional value than soft drinks, which get most of their calories from added sugar. However, the problem with fruit and vegetable juices is that they add liquid calories to your diet — and this can result in weight gain. Harvard School of Public Health recommends limiting your juice intake to 4 oz. a day.
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Carrot Juice v. Other Drinks
It's easy to make an argument for the health benefits of carrot juice and other vegetable and fruit juices. Harvard places juice under the same category of caloric-but-nutritious beverages as milk, sports drinks and vitamin waters. However, carrot juice and the other beverages mentioned also have calories — and in the case of carrot juice, this drink has far more calories than the vegetable itself. A 1/2 cup serving of raw carrots has only 25 calories and gives you 150 percent of your daily value for vitamin A. A one-cup serving of carrot juice has almost 100 calories.
Carrot Juice Nutrition
A 12-oz. can of regular cola has around 150 calories, most of which come from added sugar. Otherwise, carbonated soft drinks don't contribute to a nutritious diet. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, the same 12 oz. of carrot juice gives you more than 700 percent of your daily value, or DV, for vitamin A; 50 percent of your DV for vitamin C; 40 percent of your DV for vitamin B-6; and 20 percent of your DV for thiamin. However, this glass of carrot juice has 140 calories — almost as much as the average soft drink. Yet some proponents of "juicing" claim that drinking fruit and vegetable juices will make you lose weight. MayoClinic.org indicates that homemade juices can be extremely high in calories, especially those made from fruits and vegetables with a lot of naturally occurring sugar. Carrots are high in natural sugar, coming in second to beets.
MayoClinic.org dispels some of the claims you might have heard about fresh juices. The nutrients from juice aren't absorbed by your body any better than they are if you ate the whole fruit or vegetable. Whole produce contains fiber, which you need for good digestive health. Nor will carrot juice and other juices remove "toxins" from your liver and kidneys. Electric juicing machines can cost well into the hundreds of dollars; making juice at home isn't necessarily less expensive than purchasing whole fruits and vegetables. Choose raw or cooked carrots over carrot juice.
A 4-oz. glass of carrot juice has only 45 calories — and still provides more than 200 percent of your DV for vitamin A, if you eat a 2,000-calorie diet. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, adults age 19 and older get 400 calories on average from the beverages they drink. Every calorie counts when you're trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight. Harvard School of Public Health recommends getting less than 10 percent of your daily calories from juice, alcoholic drinks, low-fat milk and unsweetened tea and coffee. However, at least 50 percent of your fluid intake should come from plain water.