Is prune juice effective for weight loss?

Losing weight can be a challenge for many people. While diet and exercise are the foundations of any weight loss program, some people look to additional tools like supplements or special foods to help move the needle on the scale. One such food that is often touted for weight loss is prune juice. But does drinking prune juice actually help with weight loss?

What is Prune Juice?

Prune juice is exactly what the name implies – a juice made from dried plums, or prunes. To make prune juice, prunes are soaked in water to reconstitute them, then pressed or blended to extract the juice. The resulting juice contains many of the nutrients found in whole prunes, like vitamin K, potassium, and antioxidants.

Prune juice has a natural laxative effect due to its high fiber content, sorbitol, and phenolic compounds. It has long been used as a home remedy to relieve occasional constipation. This natural laxative effect is why some believe prune juice may help with losing weight.

Proposed Weight Loss Mechanisms of Prune Juice

There are a few different ways that prune juice is thought to potentially aid weight loss:

Natural Laxative Effect

As previously mentioned, prune juice acts as a mild laxative thanks to its fiber, sorbitol, and phenolic content. This can help promote regular bowel movements and prevent constipation, which some believe may help with weight loss. Constipation can cause bloating, which leads to feelings of fullness and fluid retention, potentially inhibiting weight loss. The laxative effect of prune juice may minimize constipation, bloating, and fluid retention.

Reduced Calorie Intake

Some think drinking a glass of prune juice before or with a meal can lead to reduced calorie intake at that meal. Prune juice is low in calories but high in fiber and nutrients. The fiber and nutrients may promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction, leading to less food consumed at the meal.

Additionally, some evidence suggests prune juice can slow down the rate of stomach emptying after a meal. This slowed gastric emptying may also increase feelings of fullness and decrease appetite.

Increased Fat Excretion

Some research has found connections between increased bowel movements and greater excretion of fats in feces. The laxative effects of prune juice may promote more frequent bowel movements, allowing greater amounts of fat to be excreted rather than absorbed by the body.

Scientific Research on Prune Juice and Weight Loss

There is limited scientific evidence directly examining whether prune juice is effective for weight loss. However, some studies provide insights:

Human Studies

Several small human studies have found prune juice consumption is associated with:

  • Lower body weight
  • Reduced body fat
  • Decreased food intake at meals

In one study of 55 overweight adults, those who drank 8 oz of prune juice per day for 12 weeks lost more weight than the control group drinking a placebo juice. However, the weight loss was minimal at around 0.5 kg (1.1 lbs).

Animal Studies

In rats fed a high-fat diet to induce obesity, supplementation with prunes or prune juice resulted in:

  • Lower body weight and body fat
  • Decreased food efficiency (reduced weight gain per amount of food intake)
  • Increased number of bowel movements
  • Increased fecal fat excretion

These results align with some of the proposed mechanisms for prune juice aiding weight loss, such as reduced calorie intake, more frequent bowel movements, and greater excretion of fat.


While these study results are intriguing, there are important limitations to consider:

  • The studies are small and few in number.
  • The observed weight loss effects are generally modest.
  • Larger, longer-term human trials are needed to confirm results.
  • Possible mechanisms are unclear and need further research.

Other Potential Benefits of Prune Juice

In addition to possible weight loss benefits, prune juice has been associated with several other health benefits:

Potential Benefit Description
Improved regularity Prune juice acts as a natural laxative and can help relieve constipation.
Increased bone density Animal and human studies link prune consumption to improved bone mineral density.
Lowered blood pressure Some evidence suggests prunes may help lower blood pressure levels.
Reduced cholesterol Studies show prune juice may help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol.
Better blood sugar control Early research indicates prunes may help improve glycemic control.
Enhanced antioxidant status Prunes are high in antioxidants that can help combat oxidative stress.

Is Prune Juice Safe?

For most people, drinking prune juice in moderation is safe. However, there are some considerations:

Side Effects

Because of its laxative effects, excess prune juice consumption may result in:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Gas and bloating
  • Loose stools

These side effects can typically be avoided by sticking to the recommended serving size of 4-8 oz per day.

Drug Interactions

The natural laxative effects of prunes may interact with certain medications, including:

  • Diuretics
  • Laxatives
  • Diabetes medications
  • Digoxin

Consult your healthcare provider before drinking prune juice if you take any medications.

Sugar Content

While prunes and prune juice are nutritious, the dehydration process concentrates natural sugars. One cup of prune juice can contain over 100 grams of sugar.

The high sugar content makes moderation important, especially for those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

How to Incorporate Prune Juice

If you want to try using prune juice for weight loss or its other benefits, here are some tips:

  • Drink a small glass (4-8 oz) with breakfast or lunch.
  • Mix with water to dilute the sugar content.
  • Pair with foods high in protein, fiber, or fat to help control blood sugar.
  • Introduce it slowly to assess tolerance.
  • Avoid drinking in excess, especially in the evening.
  • Select prune juice with no added sugars.

The Bottom Line

Current evidence suggests prune juice may offer modest potential as a weight loss aid. Possible mechanisms include reducing appetite, increasing feelings of fullness, promoting bowel movements, and increasing fat excretion.

However, human data directly linking prune juice to weight loss are limited. More high-quality, large-scale human studies are needed.

Prune juice is likely most effective when combined with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. While it may provide some benefit, prune juice alone is unlikely to produce dramatic weight loss.

Drinking a moderate amount of prune juice can be safe and healthy as part of a balanced diet. But excessive consumption may result in adverse effects. Speak to your healthcare provider to see if incorporating prune juice is appropriate for your individual health goals and needs.

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