Is Juice a Good Substitute for Soft Drinks?

Families, Food and Fitness November 18, 2009 Print Friendly and PDF

Fruit Juice versus Soft Drinks

Sometimes people switch from drinking soda or soft drinks to drinking fruit juice in an effort to control their weight. Surprisingly, ounce for ounce, 100% fruit juice may contain more calories than soda or soft drinks. This means that drinking the same amount of juice instead of soda or soft drinks could actually contribute to weight gain! At the very best, switching from soft drinks to juice is not helping with calorie control.


orange juice


Another issue is that fruit juices are often confused with sweetened beverages that contain little or no real juice. Watch out for beverages that are labeled as “fruit punches," "juice drinks," or "juice cocktails.” Always look for the word “juice” all by itself or “100% juice.” Fruit juice should be the first ingredient listed on the ingredients list. Avoid fruit beverages that contain sugar, corn syrup, or other sweeteners.

While 100% fruit and vegetable juice contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it is best to eat whole fruits and vegetables as opposed to juice. Juice lacks the fiber that whole fruit contains. If you do consume juice, make sure it is 100% fruit or vegetable juice, and consume it in small amounts. An adult serving size for fruit juice is 4 to 6 fluid ounces, not the 20-ounce bottle you see in vending machines and convenience stores.


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.