Can You Drink Your Fruit And Vegetables? How Does Juice Compare To The Whole Food?

by Ella

Are you finding it challenging to meet your daily fruit and vegetable intake? You’re not alone. A staggering less than 5% of Australians consume the recommended servings of fresh produce each day, with only 44% meeting their fruit quota and a mere 6% reaching the vegetable target.

Health experts advise adults to aim for at least five servings of vegetables (approximately 375 grams) and two servings of fruit (about 300 grams) daily. Fruits and vegetables are crucial for maintaining health due to their rich array of nutrients—such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber—and health-promoting bioactive compounds, which offer benefits despite their low calorie content.


If you struggle to incorporate these nutritious foods into your diet, you may wonder: Is it acceptable to consume fruits and vegetables in the form of juices or smoothies? As with all nutritional matters, the answer lies in context.


Overcoming Barriers

Common obstacles to consuming enough fruits and vegetables include personal preferences, habits, perishability, cost, availability, time constraints, and limited culinary skills. Juicing or blending fruits and vegetables can help mitigate some of these challenges.


These methods can mask undesirable tastes, such as the bitterness of certain vegetables, and can effectively process imperfect produce, like bruised or soft spots. Preparation requires minimal skill and time, especially when opting for store-bought juices. Despite slight alterations in nutrient composition due to processing and storage, unsweetened juices remain significant sources of essential nutrients and beneficial bioactives.


Nutritional Value and Considerations

But does drinking your fruits and vegetables count toward your daily intake? The classification of juices in dietary guidelines can be perplexing. While the Australian Dietary Guidelines include 100% fruit juice as equivalent to whole fruit, vegetable juices are not specifically mentioned, likely due to their lesser prevalence at the time of the guidelines’ last revision in 2013.

Guidelines caution against excessive consumption of juices, citing lower fiber content compared to whole fruits. Fiber plays a crucial role in digestive health, heart health, and satiety. Moreover, juices and smoothies release sugars more rapidly, categorizing these sugars as “free,” which the World Health Organization advises limiting for optimal health.

However, fruits and vegetables offer holistic benefits beyond isolated nutrients. A reductionist approach to nutrition, focusing solely on sugar content or specific vitamins, may overlook these broader advantages. Juices can retain and sometimes enhance the nutritional profile of fruits and vegetables by including parts typically discarded, such as the skin.

Health Implications

Recent meta-analyses suggest that 100% juice generally has a neutral or positive impact on health outcomes, correlating with improved heart health and inflammatory markers, and showing no clear links to weight gain or adverse metabolic effects. Observational studies hint at potential health risks associated with juice consumption, such as increased risks of heart disease and certain cancers, but these findings lack direct causation and may conflate 100% juice with sugar-sweetened beverages.

Dental Considerations

Concerns about juice’s impact on dental health often conflate 100% juice with sugary drinks or use unrealistic scenarios. Proper oral hygiene practices, like rinsing or using straws, can mitigate these risks by minimizing prolonged exposure to acidity and sugars.


The debate over consuming whole fruits versus juices reflects their distinct culinary roles and nutritional benefits. While water remains the preferred beverage according to dietary guidelines, incorporating juices into one’s diet depends on individual dietary needs and preferences. Smoothies and juices should not be seen as miraculous solutions like “cleanses” or detoxes, but as convenient and tasty options to supplement nutritional intake in a society where fruit and vegetable consumption is suboptimal.

Ultimately, whether you choose to consume your fruits and vegetables in their whole form or as juices depends on what aligns best with your lifestyle and dietary goals. Both methods offer viable paths to achieving adequate nutrient intake and promoting overall health.



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