Most juice is basically just sugar water, and when you buy the stuff in cartons in the supermarket, it’s usually cut with added sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup. But if fruit juice is just sugar, then is fruit just sugar as well?
The answer is no, definitely not. Whole fruits are made up of juice, skins, and pulp, whereas juice is just… juice. Edible fruit skins contain a lot of fiber, as well as phytonutrients including antioxidant-carrying carotenoids and anti-inflammatory flavonoids. Pulp is also high in fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.
When you juice a fruit, you remove nearly all of its fiber content, along with the nutrients in the skins and pulp. One 8-ounce glass of apple juice may contain some vitamins, but it can also contain the equivalent of three to four apples, so you’ll be consuming a whole lot more sugar than you’d get from eating one apple. Juicing your own fruit at home will retain more of the healthy components than buying it at the supermarket (the less processed anything is, the better), but comparing the nutritional value of a piece of fruit to the nutrition of a glass of its juice is like comparing, well, apples and oranges.