What is better for you apple or orange juice?

Juice is a popular beverage choice for many people. Two of the most common types of juice are apple juice and orange juice. But when it comes to nutrition, is one better for you than the other? This article examines the nutritional profiles, health benefits, downsides, and overall effects of apple juice versus orange juice to help you determine which one is the healthier choice.

Nutritional Profiles

Let’s start by looking at the basic nutritional profiles of apple juice and orange juice.

Apple Juice

A typical 8 ounce serving of unsweetened apple juice contains:

  • Calories: 114
  • Total fat: 0.5 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Potassium: 200 mg
  • Total carbs: 28 g
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Protein: 0.5 g

Apple juice is high in sugar, with a 8 ounce glass containing around 24 grams. It’s also low in protein and doesn’t contain beneficial fat.

Orange Juice

An 8 ounce serving of raw, unsweetened orange juice has:

  • Calories: 112
  • Total fat: 0.5 g
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Potassium: 496 mg
  • Total carbs: 25 g
  • Sugar: 21 g
  • Protein: 2 g

Orange juice also contains a significant amount of natural sugar, with around 21 grams per 8 ounce serving. It provides a bit more protein than apple juice.

Vitamin and Mineral Content

In addition to basic macronutrients, the vitamin and mineral content differs between apple juice and orange juice.

Vitamin/Mineral Apple Juice (8 oz) Orange Juice (8 oz)
Vitamin C 2 mg (3% DV) 93 mg (116% DV)
Thiamin 3% DV 5% DV
Niacin 2% DV 3% DV
Vitamin B6 3% DV 6% DV
Folate 1% DV 4% DV
Pantothenic acid 1% DV 4% DV
Calcium 1% DV 2% DV
Magnesium 1% DV 2% DV
Phosphorus 1% DV 2% DV

As you can see, orange juice contains significantly more vitamin C. It also has higher amounts of other vitamins and minerals like vitamin B6, folate, calcium and magnesium. Apple juice is relatively low in vitamins and minerals overall.

Health Benefits

Both apple juice and orange juice provide some health benefits, though orange juice has more proven benefits overall.

Benefits of Apple Juice

Here are some of the evidence-based health benefits of apple juice:

  • Antioxidants – Apple juice contains antioxidants like quercetin, epicatechin, and procyanidins, which may help fight free radicals and reduce oxidation in the body.
  • Polyphenols – Apple juice contains polyphenol compounds that may help promote heart health and have anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Hydration – Like other juices, apple juice can help hydrate the body quickly.

Benefits of Orange Juice

Some research-backed benefits of orange juice include:

  • Vitamin C – Orange juice is very high in vitamin C, which supports immune function and iron absorption.
  • Folate – Orange juice contains folate, which plays a role in DNA and cell function.
  • Potassium – With nearly 500mg potassium per serving, orange juice promotes heart health and normal blood pressure.
  • Anti-inflammatory – The antioxidant hesperidin in oranges demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Blood pressure – Drinking orange juice daily has been linked to improvements in blood pressure and flow in clinical studies.

Downsides to Consider

While apple and orange juice have nutritional upsides, there are some downsides to consider:

Apple Juice Downsides

  • High sugar – With around 24g per serving, apple juice is very high in natural sugars. This could be problematic for diabetics or those limiting sugar.
  • Tooth decay – The sugar content could also contribute to cavities if consumed frequently.
  • Lack of fiber – Apple juice lacks the fiber content of whole apples, so it doesn’t provide the same filling effects or digestive benefits.
  • Processing – Some nutrients are lost in the juicing process. Opt for minimally processed juice for more benefits.

Orange Juice Downsides

  • High sugar – At 21g per serving, orange juice is also high in sugar, so it should be consumed in moderation.
  • Acidic – The acidity of orange juice may contribute to heartburn or reflux issues in some people.
  • Pesticides – Some orange crops may be heavily treated with pesticides, so opt for organic juice when possible.
  • Amount of oranges – It takes several oranges to make one small glass of juice, so nutrients are somewhat concentrated.

Juice Versus Whole Fruit

It’s also important to note that both apple juice and orange juice provide less nutrition than eating whole apples or oranges. Important fiber, water content and some vitamins are lost in the juicing process. For example, a whole medium apple contains 4 grams of filling fiber. The juice has none. If you do opt for juicing, try to opt for minimally processed versions and consume whole fruits and veggies too.

The Verdict

So in conclusion, is apple or orange juice better for you overall?

Based on nutritional content alone, orange juice is the healthier choice over apple juice. It contains more vitamins, minerals and proven health promoting compounds. Orange juice has high levels of immune-boosting vitamin C and blood pressure lowering potassium. It also contains the antioxidant hesperidin. Apple juice is relatively low in vitamins and minerals in comparison.

However, both juices are high in natural sugar. A typical serving provides over 20 grams of sugar without any fiber. So neither should be consumed in excess or seen as a nutritional powerhouse compared to whole fruits.

For the occasional glass with breakfast or a snack, orange juice is likely the better option because of its higher micronutrient content. But for regular juice consumption, whole fruits and veggies are best for mitigating sugar intake and obtaining more filling fiber.

As with most nutrition advice, moderation is key. Having a small glass of fruit juice here and there can fit into a healthy diet. But drinking large amounts frequently should be avoided.

Focus on getting your daily fruits and vegetables from whole food sources. Then enjoy the occasional small glass of orange or apple juice for a nutrient boost.


When comparing apple juice and orange juice, orange juice edges out as the healthier choice due to its higher vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content. However, both juices are high in sugar with little fiber, so they should only be consumed in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet focused on whole fruits and vegetables, protein, fiber and healthy fats. For an occasional nutrient-rich juice that offers benefits like vitamin C and potassium, orange juice is a good option.

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