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What does juicing an apple do?

Juicing an apple is the process of extracting the liquid contents from the fruit’s flesh while removing the skin and pulp. The resulting juice contains many of the apple’s nutrients and bioactive compounds like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Drinking apple juice can provide several potential health benefits, but also contains high amounts of natural sugar without the fiber found in a whole apple. This article explores what juicing an apple does in terms of nutrition, health effects, and best practices if you want to try juicing.

Nutritional Differences Between Whole Apples and Apple Juice

Juicing an apple removes the peel, pulp, and fibrous material, leaving only the liquid contents behind. This changes the nutrition profile compared to eating a whole apple:

  • Fiber – A whole medium apple with skin contains 4.4 grams of fiber, while apple juice has essentially no fiber content.
  • Sugar – A 248 gram apple contains 19.9 grams of sugar. 248 mL (1 cup) of apple juice contains 25.9 grams of sugar.
  • Vitamin C – Apples are rich in vitamin C with 14% DV in a medium fruit. The juice has 11% DV vitamin C in a 1 cup serving.
  • Potassium – A whole apple provides 195 mg potassium. 1 cup of juice has 308 mg potassium.
  • Calories – A medium apple has 95 calories, while 248 mL of juice contains 114 calories.

As you can see, juicing removes the beneficial fiber while concentrating the natural sugars and some vitamins. The main drawback of juicing is the loss of pulp and skin, which provide bulk and nutrients.

Health Effects of Apple Juice

Drinking apple juice can provide the following health benefits:

  • Antioxidants – Apples contain polyphenol antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid. These compounds can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body.
  • Blood sugar regulation – Polyphenols in apple juice may help inhibit digestive enzymes that break down carbs, slowing sugar absorption.
  • Heart health – The polyphenols in apple juice may also protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation and lower blood pressure.
  • Anti-cancer effects – Apple polyphenols have been shown to reduce growth and spread of certain cancer cells in vitro and animal studies.

However, apple juice is high in natural sugar with little fiber content. Drinking too much can negatively impact blood sugar levels and dental health. It’s best to limit intake and consume whole fruits more often.

Best Practices for Juicing Apples

Here are some tips to get the most nutrition and flavor when making fresh apple juice:

  • Use a combination of apple varieties like Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith for more complexity.
  • Juice apples with skins on to retain fiber and polyphenols.
  • Add lemon, ginger, carrots, or beet to increase nutrition and taste.
  • Drink juice immediately after making for highest vitamin content.
  • Store leftover juice in air-tight container in fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Consider diluting with water to reduce sugar content.

Nutrition Facts of Apple Juice vs. Whole Apple

This table compares the vitamin, mineral, and macronutrient profiles of apple juice versus a whole medium apple with skin.

Nutrient 1 Cup Apple Juice (248mL) 1 Medium Apple (182g)
Calories 114 95
Protein 0.5 g 0.5 g
Carbs 28.9 g 25.1 g
Sugar 25.9 g 19.9 g
Fiber 0.2 g 4.4 g
Vitamin C 11% DV 14% DV
Potassium 308 mg 195 mg

Potential Downsides of Apple Juice

Despite the possible health benefits, drinking apple juice comes with some downsides:

  • High sugar, low fiber – Too much can spike blood sugar and may contribute to weight gain.
  • Tooth decay – The sugar can erode tooth enamel over time.
  • Lacks nutrients from skin and flesh – Juicing removes beneficial fiber and polyphenols.
  • Oxalates – Apples contain oxalates that can contribute to kidney stones for those prone to them.
  • Drinking calories – Liquid calories from juice don’t provide the satiety of whole fruits and vegetables.

For these reasons, it’s best to enjoy apple juice in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet focused on whole foods.

The Bottom Line

Juicing an apple provides several nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and polyphenol antioxidants. Drinking small amounts of fresh apple juice can benefit heart health, blood sugar regulation, and inflammation. However, juicing removes the fiber and concentrates the natural sugar content. Overdoing apple juice can negatively impact dental health and blood sugar control for some people. Enjoy apple juice in moderation along with whole fruits and vegetables for the best nutrition.