Apple juice, a cocktail of benefits (and disadvantages)

Drink apple juice

The scientific community and food experts strongly recommend taking fruits and vegetables daily. However, there are also foods that can be processed, such as apple juice, with a high content of sugars and elements not so beneficial to health.

In this article we wanted to make a scientific review of the studies related to the intake of apple juice. We have found positive aspects and some not so positive, so we want to refer to each of them, empirically demonstrated.

These are the benefits and harms that apple juice can offer us.

Benefits of apple juice

Promotes hydration

The apple contains a high amount of water (about 90%), so its consumption, in the form of juice, favors a greater state of hydration. In fact, medical personnel in some countries recommend mixing water and apple juice when cases of mild dehydration are detected in children, since their sugar content makes assimilation faster.

This dehydration can usually occur when they suffer from digestive disorders such as gastroenteritis, where the list of ingredients we can take is also greatly limited. [See studys derivados]

Apple juice promotes full hydration even over electrolyte drinks designed for it, as has been shown in some scientific studies. In addition, apple juice is usually attractive to drink for children, as opposed to other hydrating drinks that do not have as much sugar.

Even so, in severe cases of dehydration, electrolytic beverages have shown greater long-term effectiveness in the recovery of these processes.

Contains healthy plant compounds

The apple contains different healthy antioxidant compounds, such as polyphenols. As with many other fruits, most of them are concentrated in greater quantity in the peel, a fact that makes it advisable to consume it, as long as we know that its origin is organic.

Among these antioxidant elements, the following stand out, which can be included in apple juice, since they are also found in the meat of this fruit:

  • Hydroxycinnamic acids
  • Dihydrocalcones
  • Flavonols (quercetin glycosides)
  • Catechins
  • Oligomeric procyanidins

In the skin, depending on whether it is green or red apple, we find interesting compounds that characterize the color of the fruit, such as triterpenoids in green apples and anthocyanins in red apples.

In general, antioxidant compounds have the ability to reduce the presence of free radicals (by complexation) and limit the oxidative damage that these types of substances can cause. This oxidation is linked in numerous studies to the formation of different forms of cancer and heart disease. [See study]

The consumption of a small glass of apple juice (between 150 and 160 ml) limited oxidative damage for 1 hour and a half, something very interesting when we take unhealthy foods. [See study]

However, we must bear in mind that we do not find in all types of commercial juices the same amount of polyphenols. In many cases, turbidity is eliminated to leave a product clear and attractive to the consumer. This reduces the total concentration of these antioxidant substances by up to 60%.

Thinking about health, a poorly filtered and processed apple juice is always better than the clear and clean one.

Promotes cardiovascular health

The polyphenols present in this type of fruits and plant compounds have beneficial activity in cardiovascular health.

This claim has been demonstrated in several scientific studies, where a notable reduction in cholesterol considered as bad (LDL) has been seen. This causes the risk of suffering a heart attack or any stroke to be significantly reduced.

A scientific study concluded a notable reduction in LDL cholesterol (up to 20%) in people who took 1 and a half glass of apple juice (375 ml total) compared to the placebo group in just a month and a half of starting treatment.

One I am a student noted that when healthy adults drank 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of clear apple juice daily for 6 weeks, their LDL (bad) cholesterol was 20% more resistant to oxidation compared to the start of the study.

In any case, taking plant foods rich in antioxidants favor the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even some types of cancer.

Protective effect on brain functions

Can these antioxidant substances promote the proper development of the brain? The answer is yes.

Studies still in the preliminary phase have indicated a protective effect on brain function with the consumption of apple juice in significant amounts (between 2 and 3 glasses daily).

These protective effects of apple juice are summarized as follows:

  • Increased performance on memory tests in people who habitually consumed apple juice versus placebo. [See study]
  • Maintenance of acetylcholine levels (nerve messenger), and whose tendency is negative as we advance in age. [See study]
  • Reduction of the increase in beta-amyloid proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. [See study]

In any case, a greater volume of scientific studies is needed to draw more comprehensive conclusions in supporting the consumption of apple juice.

Disadvantages of drinking apple juice

Already commented on the advantages produced, in general, by the daily consumption of apple juice, the current products based on this food that we can get in the supermarket have added substances that are not so beneficial. Here’s the problem.

1. May contribute to weight gain

An apple of medium size gives us about 90 kcal on average. On the other hand, a glass of pure apple juice (250 ml) provides 115 kcal. The problem comes from the fact that there are very few products based on apple without added sugars, so the caloric intake is considerably increased.

On the other hand, juice is always drunk much faster than consuming and chewing any piece of fruit, so it is always advisable to taste and chew fresh and unprocessed fruit.

A chewed apple offers a noticeably higher percentage of satiety than drinking the juice of its juice.

Based on this, health authorities recommend limiting consumption depending on age, but especially in young children.

The American Association of Pediatrics recommends the following daily limits for apple juice:

AgeApple juice limit
1 to 3 years120 ml
3 to 6 years150 ml
7 to 18 years250 ml
Adults250 ml

2. Does not contain many vitamins and minerals

A glass of apple juice (250 ml) provides less than 10% of the minerals or vitamins we need, but when we study compound, the results can be worse. In the case of vitamin C, its consumption provides less than 2% of the RDA of this vitamin.

3. Its sugar content is high (and does not contain much fiber)

When looking for a product rich in apple, you have to remove from the list those products that contain added sugars or dilute the juice in water.

All the energy that the apple gives us comes from carbohydrate sources. Among them, the natural sugars glucose and fructose.

However, many of the juices that are clarified eliminate an important part of the natural fiber of this fruit, leaving only 0.5 g of fiber for each glass of juice.

If we compare it with taking a piece of apple, the fiber increases considerably, with 4.5 grams of fiber contributed (18% of what we need daily).

4. Promotes the formation of dental caries

The consumption of any drink with high sugar content favors tooth decay. Not only that, the malic acid of the apple can also erode tooth enamel and provoke, in the long term, the appearance of cavities. [See study]

This does not occur in the naturally consumed apple, since the acids are not as concentrated. Among all the juices, apple juice is the one that produces the greatest wear of the enamel. This information you can check it here.