Article at a Glance
- Concentrated juice is made by removing the majority of the water content and freezing the remainder.
- Some concentrated juices contain added sugar and preservatives.
- Look for 100% pure fruit juice when buying concentrated juice.
Concentrated juice has been around for decades, and is a convenient way to provide your family with essential vitamins and minerals.
As technology has improved, research has been able to gather more information than ever about healthy foods.
We take a fresh look at concentrated juices, their health benefits and any downsides to including them in your diet.
What Is Concentrated Juice?
Concentrated juices are prepared by removing the majority of the water content – which for some fruits can exceed 90% – often by evaporation, and freezing the remainder.
This can be packaged into much smaller containers, reducing the quantity of packaging used, and stored in the freezer, increasing the longevity of the product.
To prepare the concentrated juice, water is added according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Is Concentrated Juice Healthy?
Concentrated juice which is 100 percent pure fruit juice contains similar nutrients to regular juice, and can be comfortably be included in your diet as one of your all-important fruit portions.
Concentrated juice is rich in vitamins, particularly vitamins A, C and K, minerals such as magnesium and potassium and phytochemicals (which give plants their color and flavor), including antioxidants, linked to prevention of chronic conditions and diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. (source)
However, not all concentrated juices are equal:
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics highlights that different brands of fruit juices can contain very different ingredients.
As with regular, ready to drink juice, some concentrated juices have sugars and other ingredients added to them during processing to enhance their taste, texture, color and shelf life.
It’s important to read the labels of each product, and watch out for the addition of ingredients like sugar, which can take many forms, such as sucrose, fructose, dextrose and many others, including high fructose corn syrup.
The healthiest concentrated juices are those which have 100 percent fruit juice as their sole ingredient. (source)
Be aware of misleading wording on fruit juice packaging. For example, the phrase “100% natural” suggests that a juice is healthy, but it’s important to remember that technically sugar is a natural substance, and can be included in products labeled “100% natural”.
Similarly, juice labeled as “fruit drink” or “fruit cocktail” are likely to have added ingredients that make the juice less healthy than 100 percent pure juice.
Due to the reduced water content, the calorie value of concentrated juices when packaged is around four times that of ready to drink juice. However, when correctly prepared with the amount of water specified by the manufacturer, concentrated juices contain the same amount of calories as regular juice.
As with all foods, different varieties of fruit contain different amounts of calories when compared, and this also applies to concentrated fruit juice. For example, a glass of pure mango juice contains around 130 calories, apple juice 120 calories, while a glass of pure grapefruit juice has around 95 calories.
Those of us keeping a close eye on our calorie intake can reduce the amount of calories consumed simply by adding more water than directed when reconstituting the concentrated juice.
Potential Issues with Concentrated Juice
Although pure concentrated fruit juice does have some health benefits, as with all fruit juices, the range of vitamins, mineral and phytochemicals contained in any one type of juice is limited.
It is important to include a variety of different fruit sources in your diet to maximize the amount of different nutrients consumed.
The current advice from the US Department of Agriculture recommends including a variety of different colored fruit and vegetables, including frozen 100 percent pure juices in your diet to benefit from all the available nutrients. (source)
However, the guidelines note that whole fruit contains much more fiber than fruit juice, so whole fruits should make up the majority of our fruit intake, with fruit juice being included as only one fruit portion per day.
Drinking fruit juice does not have the same beneficial effects as eating whole fruit.
Even if you juice at home from organic fruit, much of the natural fiber in the fruit is removed, which speeds up the digestion process and delivers more fructose to the liver in a shorter time.
Consumption of fruit juice has also been associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. (source)
Fruit Juice and Dental Health
How we include fruit juices in our diet also has an impact on our dental health. Even 100 percent natural fruit juice contains some sugar, and leaving any sugary substance in contact with our teeth can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
For this reason, it is best to consume fruit juice as part of a balanced meal rather than as an on-the-go snack, or clean your teeth after drinking fruit juice. (source)
Final Thoughts on Concentrated Juice
Concentrated juices are a valuable, healthy addition to our diet, as long as we follow some important guidelines. It is essential that we choose 100 percent pure fruit juice when buying concentrated juices, and prepare it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Concentrated fruit juice provides us with the same amount of calories, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants as regular, ready to drink juice.
As with any fruit juice, due to the low fiber content of fruit juice when compared with whole fruit, it is recommended that concentrated juices make up one of our fruit portions each day.
To benefit from the whole range of essential nutrients provided by fruit, it is best to include a variety of different fruit juices – and in particular, different colored fruit juices – regularly in our diet.
To protect teeth and gums and avoid tooth decay, we should consume fruit juice at meal times rather than as a snack, and it is best to clean your teeth after consuming fruit juice, or any other sugar-containing food.
As long as these guidelines are followed, the current expert advice regarding concentrated juices is to go ahead and enjoy!