Is it OK to just drink juice for breakfast?

Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day. What you eat for breakfast can set the tone for the rest of your day and provide you with energy to start your morning. Some people opt for grab-and-go breakfast options like a glass of juice or a smoothie. But is juice alone enough to power you through until lunch?

The Potential Benefits of Juice for Breakfast

Drinking fruit or vegetable juice for breakfast does offer some benefits. Juice provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from whole fruits and veggies. For example, orange juice is packed with vitamin C and potassium. Green juices often contain antioxidants from leafy greens like spinach and kale. Juice is also portable and easy to drink on-the-go.

Some research suggests starting your day with juice may give you an energy boost. In one study, people who drank 8 ounces of carrot juice in the morning for 3 months reported feeling more energetic throughout the day compared to a control group.[1]

Compared to skipping breakfast entirely, juice may also help with appetite control. One study found that obese adults who drank 8 ounces of orange juice with their breakfast experienced less inflation of their appetite hormones throughout the day versus fasting.[2] This may help explain why juice drinkers tend to eat fewer calories later in the day compared to breakfast skippers.

Nutrients Lacking in Juice Alone

Despite some potential advantages, there are good reasons why relying solely on fruit or vegetable juice for breakfast is not ideal.

First, juice lacks protein and fiber that are important nutrients to have earlier in the day. Protein helps provide steady energy and satisfaction, while fiber promotes fullness. Without these two nutrients, juice may not keep you feeling full and energized until lunchtime.

Juice is also missing out on fat, an essential macronutrient. Fat takes longer to digest, which helps maintain stable blood sugar levels after eating. Starting your day with mainly sugars from juice could lead to a blood sugar crash later on.

Additionally, juice strips away pulp and skin from produce. While juicing makes it easier to consume large amounts of fruits and veggies, the pulp and skin contain valuable fiber, plant compounds, and nutrients.

Finally, juice servings are often much smaller than an entire piece of fruit. You would need to drink several glasses of juice to consume the equivalent nutrients you’d get from eating whole fruits and veggies at breakfast.

Nutrient Comparison of Juice vs. Whole Produce

1 cup Orange Juice 1 Medium Orange
112 calories 69 calories
25.8 g sugar 12.5 g sugar
0.5 g fiber 3.1 g fiber
1.7 mg vitamin C (2% DV) 70 mg vitamin C (78% DV)

As this nutrition comparison shows, while orange juice is a great source of vitamin C, an entire orange contains more fiber and vitamin C for less sugar and calories.

Health Consequences of Juice-Only Breakfasts

Over time, relying solely on juice for breakfast can negatively impact your health in a few key ways:

Blood Sugar Spikes

Because juice is high in simple sugars like glucose and fructose, it is absorbed very quickly into your bloodstream. This can spike your blood sugar levels shortly after drinking juice.

Large, rapid rises in blood sugar put stress on the body. Over time this can contribute to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.[3]

Nutrient Deficiencies

Juice lacks many nutrients and antioxidants found in whole fruits and vegetables. Over time, juicing alone can contribute to deficiencies in fiber, protein, fat, zinc, iron, folate, and more.

These deficiencies can negatively impact immune function, digestion, energy levels, skin, hair, and nails over time.

Weight Gain

Although juice diets may lead to short term weight loss, juicing alone is not a sustainable long term weight loss strategy.

Juice lacks protein and fiber to create satiety. As a result, people who only drink juice may feel hungrier later in the day, causing them to overeat.[4]

Fruit juice is also quite high in calories and sugar. Just 8 ounces of orange juice contains over 110 calories. It’s very easy to consume excess calories from juice, leading to weight gain.

Tooth Decay

Sipping juice throughout the day exposes your teeth to acids and sugars which can erode tooth enamel. This increases your risk of cavities over time.

Chewing whole fruits and vegetables helps produce saliva which helps clear food particles and neutralize acid. Juice drinkers miss out on this protective benefit.

Better Breakfast Options

While juice shouldn’t be totally avoided, relying on it alone is less than ideal. Here are some healthy, balanced breakfast ideas that are nutritionally superior to juice-only:

Whole Fruits

Eating whole fruits like berries, bananas, apples, grapefruit, or pineapple provides fiber, volume, and nutrients that juice lacks. The fiber also helps slow sugar absorption. Pair fruit with a source of protein like yogurt or nuts for a balanced meal.

Vegetable Omelet

Eggs provide high quality protein to help you power through the morning. Add in sautéed veggies like spinach, tomatoes, onions, or mushrooms for added nutrients.


Oatmeal contains slow burning carbs and 4 grams of fiber per half cup to keep you full. Top with fruit, nuts, milk, or nut butter for protein.

Yogurt Parfait

Layer Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts, seeds, and granola for a balanced breakfast packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and carbs.


Blend Greek yogurt or nut butter with milk and your choice of fruit and greens. The protein and fiber help create a satisfying meal versus juice alone.

The Bottom Line

Having juice alone for breakfast is certainly better than skipping breakfast altogether. However, due to lack of protein, fiber, fat, and chewing resistance, juice-only breakfasts have some downsides.

For balanced nutrition, juice is best enjoyed alongside other whole foods and as part of an overall healthy diet. Having a juice along with a source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help create a nutritious breakfast that provides sustained energy.

Some key takeaways on juice for breakfast include:

  • Juice provides beneficial vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from fruits and veggies.
  • However, juice lacks protein, fiber, fat, and chewing resistance for fullness.
  • Long-term juice-only breakfasts may contribute to blood sugar spikes, nutrient deficiencies, weight gain, and dental issues.
  • For best nutrition, enjoy juice as part of a balanced breakfast with whole foods.
  • Some better breakfast options include whole fruits, oatmeal, eggs, smoothies, or yogurt parfaits.

Moderation and variety are key when it comes to fruit juice. While juice can be included as part of a healthy diet, relying solely on juice long-term is not the best breakfast strategy.


[1] Effect of carotene-rich vegetable juice on anxiety, depression, and fatigue in young adults: A double-blind, randomized clinical trial. Nutrition. 2021.

[2] The acute impact of ingestion of sourdough bread on blood glucose, insulin, and incretins in overweight and obese men. Nutrients. 2018.

[3] Dietary sugars, blood glucose, and chronic diseases. Nutrients. 2020.

[4] Comparative evaluation of the effect of raw fruit juice and fruit on satiety and energy intake. Nutrients. 2018.

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