Fruit Juice Types: Which Is Nutritionally the Best?


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There are different fruit juice types. You may not know but not all fruit juice types are nutritionally good for you!

Well, we all know the importance of taking fruit.

But, sometimes, for different reasons, we have to go for fruit juice and drinks instead of eating whole fruits.

It is even more common to see parents pack these bottled drinks into kids’ lunch bags. We want them to have balanced vitamins in their daily meals, which is a good practice.

But there is something you need to know about fruit drinks that I bet you might never have considered.

If you have different fruit juice types in the fridge, I want you to pick them up now and read the label.

Now I am not talking about the brand name. It will not matter if it’s a 5Alive, Chivita, or whatever. That is not what I want you to check.

At the base of the brand name that is usually very conspicuous is another description you will see. For each fruit juice types, you could see any of these;

  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit concentrate
  • Fruit nectar or
  • Fruit drink

These descriptions tell you the type or class of drink to which the juice belongs!

Apart from its expiry date, this information is the most important that you need to know about the drink you just bought.

Classes of Fruit drinks

difference between fruit juice, and food drink

Do you know that fruit drinks are of different categories?

It will not matter if it’s mango, guava, orange, apple, or pineapple. The quality of the fruit juice in your hand will depend on the class to which this drink belongs.

Why does it matter?

It matters because many people believe that when they take any fruit juice, they get a reasonable quantity of vitamins that eating whole fruit will provide.

Unfortunately, this might not be so. 

In fact, many of the fruit juice found in the market contain a very minimal amount of natural fruit in them. 

Some only contain water, sugar, artificial flavor of the fruit, and just a few drops of the fruit content itself.

How do you know the class that which a particular fruit drink belongs?

Fruit juice types

There are four different types or classes of fruit drinks. 

All fruit juice types contain fruit in them, but the quantity of their fruit content differs.

Another factor that distinguishes between fruit juices types is if sugar is present in them or not.

And if sugar is present, in what quantity?

difference between fruit juice, and food drink

#1 Fruit juices

The following qualifies a drink to be a fruit juice;

  • They must contain 100% fruit content
  • They must have zero percent of sugar. Please do note that this does not mean fruit juices are sugar-free. Fruit contains sugar, only that the sugar content of fruit juices is 100% natural.
  • Fruit juice that only the pressed pure juice is packaged is known as pure juice. This means that there is another form of fruit juice as we see below.

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#2 Fruit concentrates

Fruit concentrates are another form of fruit juice. But the method of production is slightly different from that of fruit juice.

  • They also contain 100% fruit content
  • They have zero artificial sugar
  • Unlike fruit juices in which no extra processing is done on them, fruit concentrates have their fruit juice undergo some processing before being packed finally. An example of such a process is that the juice water and flavor are initially extracted, and then re-added in the later stage of their production. They do this for some reason.

#3 Fruit nectar

The difference between fruit juice and fruit nectar is the quantity of fruit content present.

  • Fruit nectar is a drink made from fruit juice or pulp, water, and sugar. 
  • Fruit nectar has much less fruit content in them. 
  • Therefore, their taste is enhanced with sugar or honey, and water.
  • Nutritionally, the quantity of fruit content present in fruit nectar range from 25% to 70%. This range depends on the kind of fruit and the quality of the drink.

#4 Fruit juice drink

They are also written as fruit drinks on some packages.

  • Fruit drinks have the lowest concentration of fruit content in them.
  •  Artificial additives, flavors, sugar, and water are added to most fruit juice drinks To enhance their taste.
  • Legally, for a drink to be called a fruit drink, it must have at least 6% of fruit content. But depending on the kind of fruit, it can go up to 30%. For instance, orange fruit drinks must have at least 6% orange content, and pome and grapefruit drinks must have at least 30% fruit content.


Interestingly, we have some other kinds of products that litter the market claiming to be fruit drinks. These drinks do not belong among any of the categories that we discussed above.

Any drink that can’t claim to have up to 5% fruit content is not a fruit drink. Such fruit drinks contain nothing more than artificial flavorings, additives, sugar, and water. 

Such drinks have zero nutritional benefits.

Our Recommendations 

Now that you know the meaning of the description written on the labels of fruit juice brands, you must make better decisions about the kind of drinks you take and also give to your family.

Interestingly, these descriptions are always on the packaging of these drinks, yet people don’t know the differences.

difference between fruit juice, and food drink

Now that you know, you can make better buying and nutritional decisions.

Obviously, fruit juice is the best kind of fruit drink. But you should also note that the market price will not always be the same as others. But considering the nutritional benefit and quality that they have over fruit nectar and fruit drinks, the cost will be worth the value.

For health reasons, avoid any fruit drink that contains at least less than 5% fruit content.

Many of these artificial additives are dangerous to health in the long run. Drinking them is just a mere waste of money, not to mention putting your health at risk.

Conclusion; Fruit juice types

Unknown to many people, there are different fruit juice types; They are fruit juice, fruit concentrate, fruit nectar, and fruit drinks.

When next you want to buy fruit juice, make sure you check the description before buying so you know the difference in the quality of these fruit drinks.

Fruit juice has 100% fruit content without additives such as water, sugar, or flavorings. 

Fruit concentrates also have 100% fruit content. Unlike fruit juice, they undergo further processing during production.

Fruit nectar has a lower concentration of fruit content, up to 30%. They contain water, sugar, and additives to enhance their taste. Fruit drinks have the lowest level of fruit content, usually as low as 6%. They also have artificial additives, flavorings, water, and sugar added.

The best quality of any fruit drink type is the fruit juice, next to fruit concentrates, then nectar. The lowest quality of these classes is the fruit drinks.

Avoid any fruit drink that has less than 5% fruit content.

Before now, did you usually check the class of fruit drinks before buying them?


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