Is it better to drink juice than water?

Staying hydrated is important for our health. Water is essential, but some people prefer drinking fruit juices and other beverages over plain water. This article explores whether it is better to drink juice or water.

Nutrient Content

One of the main differences between juice and water is that juice contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Fruits and vegetables are very nutritious, and juicing them is a way to consume their nutrients in liquid form. For example, orange juice is high in vitamin C and potassium. Apple juice contains antioxidants like quercetin. Vegetable juices like tomato juice provide lycopene. Juices can certainly add variety and nutrients to your diet.

However, there are some downsides. Juicing strips away the fiber content from whole fruits and vegetables. Fiber helps slow the absorption of sugars and improves gut health. Also, juicing makes it easier to consume more natural sugars and calories compared to eating whole produce. For people looking to control blood sugar or lose weight, juices may not be the best option.

On the other hand, water contains no calories, sugar, or other nutrients. But we must remember that we get nutrients from the foods we eat, not beverages. Drinking plain water ensures we are getting hydrated without unnecessary calories or sugars.

Blood Sugar and Weight Management

Juices impact blood sugar levels and weight management differently than water.

Fruit and vegetable juices are high in natural sugars like fructose and glucose. While natural sugars are healthier than added sugars, they can still cause rapid spikes in blood sugar when consumed in liquid form without fiber. Large amounts of fruit juice may increase the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Here is a comparison of the sugar content in 8 ounces of some common juices versus water:

Beverage Total Sugar (grams)
Orange juice 21
Apple juice 25
Cranberry juice cocktail 33
Water 0

As you can see, juices contain significantly more sugar than water in a typical serving. All those extra sugars end up as excess calories, which can lead to weight gain over time. Fructose from juice has also specifically been linked to increased visceral fat around the abdomen.

Alternatively, plain water contains zero calories and sugars. Drinking more water can even temporarily boost metabolism. Replacing sugary drinks with water is an effective strategy for controlling blood sugar and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Dental Health

Juices can impact dental health as well. Many juices have a high acid content, which can erode tooth enamel over time and lead to decay. Juices like orange juice and apple juice contain citric acid, malic acid, and other acids. Cranberry juice is especially acidic.

The acidic nature of juice also means it has a low pH. Beverages with a pH below 5.5 can harm tooth enamel. Here are the approximate pH values for some popular juices:

Beverage pH
Orange juice 3.3-4.2
Apple juice 3.4-4.0
Cranberry juice 2.3-2.5
Grapefruit juice 2.9-3.3

Water, on the flip side, has a neutral pH around 7. Drinking water poses no risk of eroding dental enamel. People prone to cavities may want to limit acidic juices and opt for plain water instead.


We need to consume adequate fluids to replace what we lose each day from urine, sweat, breathing, and other bodily functions. Water makes up about 60% of the human body, so staying hydrated with fluids is essential.

Both juices and water can help with hydration. However, water may have some advantages. Water has a neutral taste and goes down smoothly. It quenches thirst rapidly by quickly replacing fluids lost. Since water lacks sugar and calories, people can drink larger volumes to rehydrate.

Juice contains beneficial electrolytes like potassium that aid hydration, but it may not hydrate as quickly or effectively as water due to the sugar and calories. The high sugar content can result in faster gastric emptying, meaning fluids enter the intestine faster rather than being absorbed. Water may empty the stomach more slowly, promoting better fluid absorption.

Cost Differences

Water and juice have significantly different costs. Tap water costs virtually nothing per gallon. Even bottled water in bulk starts under $1 per gallon.

Juice is much more expensive ounce for ounce. Some average prices for common juices are:

Beverage Average Cost Per Gallon
Orange juice $5-8
Apple juice $4-7
Grape juice $15-20
Pomegranate juice $20-25

As you can see, juices typically cost upwards of 4-8 times as much as tap water per gallon. The costs really add up if you drink juice daily instead of water. Choosing tap water can save you significant money compared to juices.


Both juice and water are convenient beverages. However, water may have a slight edge in convenience.

Water can simply be poured from the tap, refrigerator water dispenser, or opened from a bottle or jug. Juice requires a bit more prep. Many people buy concentrated or frozen juice and have to reconstitute it with water. Fresh-squeezed juice takes even more time to make. You also have to wash the juicer parts after use.

Carrying water around is convenient since it comes in lightweight plastic bottles and jugs. Juice bottles are typically heavier, making them less portable. Water also does not require refrigeration like juice and keeps longer at room temperature.

Overall, the ease of grabbing water from the tap or a bottle makes it a bit more convenient than juice on a daily basis.

Health Concerns With Juice

There are some additional health concerns related specifically to juice that don’t apply to water:

  • Pesticide residues – Since juices contain concentrated fruits and vegetables, any pesticides used in farming may also be concentrated in the final juice product.
  • Higher glycemic index – The glycemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Juices tend to have very high GI scores around 60-80 compared to whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Toxins from mold – Moldy produce used in juices may contain toxins like patulin that can cause adverse health effects.
  • Less filling than solid foods – Liquid calories from juice may not satisfy hunger as well as solid food calories would.

Many of these risks can be reduced by drinking only fresh-squeezed juice and using organic produce. But for most people, water avoids any of these potential downsides.


While juices can provide important nutrients, plain water is generally a healthier beverage choice compared to fruit or vegetable juice. Water hydrates better, contains no sugar or calories, and comes with no acidity or other risks. Juice offers some nutritional benefits over water but may not be worth the extra cost or potential downsides.

Drinking juice in moderation as part of a balanced diet is fine for most healthy people. But getting adequate water intake should be the priority. Combining water and fresh produce is likely the optimal choice. Consuming whole fruits and veggies provides fiber and nutrients without the risks and sugars of juices. So staying hydrated with water and getting nutrients from food may be the ideal combo.

Overall water wins as the healthier beverage in most cases compared to fruit or vegetable juices. But juices can be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet in moderation, especially when they are fresh-squeezed and organic. Just be mindful of limiting excessive calories, sugars, and acidity from store-bought juices high in processing.

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