You can find bottles of fruit juice and nectar in the grocery store, in many delicious flavors and mixes. Most of us just grab a bottle of fruity goodness of the shelf without really knowing what we are drinking, but the truth is that there is a big difference between the various fruit drinks sold.
If you are conscious of your diet, or just want to know what you are drinking, then you should know the difference between the juices. The two main fruit drink varieties you will see in the store are juice and nectar.
So what is the difference between juice and nectar? The main difference between juice and nectar is that juice is extracted from the pulp of fruits, and nectar (when it comes to fruit drinks) is a non-carbonated drink that contains some fruit juice and other ingredients such as water and sweeteners. Fruit juice is usually 100% pure fruit juice, or close to it, but some can contain a lesser content of fruit juice, whereas nectar is fruit juice mixed in with water and other ingredients.
Understanding the difference between nectar and juice will help you decide which option is healthier for you, and will hopefully give you a little more insight into what you are buying.
What Is Fruit Juice?
Fruit juice is made from the extraction or the pressing of the natural liquid found in fruit. In the past, fruit juice was considered to be a healthy addition to your diet, helping you meet your five portions of fruit and vegetable requirements each day.
However, nowadays fruit juice is considered more of a sugary treat that needs to be consumed in moderation.
Many of us would much rather prefer to drink fruit juice than chomp on fruit throughout the day, but this might not actually be the healthiest option.
You need to be wary of the fruit juice you purchase from the store. Some might be pure fruit juice and contain 100% juice, and some might only contain around 10% of fruit juice and be bulked up with sweeteners, sugar, and other liquids.
The pros of consuming fresh fruit juice are that you still get some of the great benefits that you would get eating fruit. You can still benefit from most of the vitamins and nutrients found in fruit naturally, but often with just a bit of extra sugar.
Another problem with using fruit juice to get your daily dose of fruit is that it does not contain enough fiber. When fruit is juiced, the sugars in the fruit are released, and this removes the insoluble fiber.
Fruit juice is fine to drink in moderation, as long as you read the label of the fruit drink properly, to ensure it contains as much pure fruit juice as possible.
How Is Fruit Juice Made?
You can make fruit juice at home using your own juicer, and you can add in many different fruit and vegetables to make your own mix of fruit juice.
However, commercially made fruit juice is made on a larger scale. It all starts in the fruit groves, where the fruit is grown.
The fruit is then cultivated until they are ready to be picked. The mature fruit is sent straight to the factory where only the ripest fruits are selected to make fruit juice.
The fruit is inspected, and once washed, are placed into fruit squeezers, where all the liquid is squeezed out. The juice is then pasteurized, which works to keep the fruit fresher for longer, and helps to protect the natural nutrients and keep the premium quality of the fresh fruit juice.
It ensures the fruit is safe to drink over a longer period.
What Is Fruit Nectar?
Fruit juice and fruit nectar are distinguished between each other in many countries.
The main difference is that fruit juice is usually 100% pure fruit juice, whereas nectar is diluted fruit juice which has been mixed in with water, additives, sweeteners, and preservatives.
This definition does change depending on which country you live in, but the most commonly accepted description of nectar is that it is diluted fruit juice.
Nectar can also refer to the juice from fruit which is too thick to drink as is. Examples of this are the juice from apricots, peaches, and pears.
These fruits might also contain too much acidity or fruit pulp that they cannot be sold as 100% fruit juice, so they are diluted using water, sugar, and other additives, and this is then called fruit nectar.
Nectar is thicker than fruit juice, and isn’t as clear or smooth as fresh fruit juice, and needs to be diluted down.
The vitamins and minerals in nectar are similar to what you would get when eating the fruit fresh, but the addition of sugar and other additives can make it an unhealthy option if it is not consumed in moderation.
How Is Fruit Nectar Made?
Fruit nectar is made very similar to the way that fruit juice is made, except that the end result is thicker.
When making fruit nectar at home, the best way to do so would be to de-pit your fruit if it contains pits, and vacuum seal it and then press down on the sealed fruit to squish it down to a pulp. This can then be added to some sugar and water, or it can be used in desserts!
You more commonly will find fruit nectar already added to water and sweeteners in the store, and these aren’t always labeled as fruit nectar.
It is very dependent on where you are purchasing the fruit juice from, but if the fruit drink only contains a small percentage of fruit juice, then it is most probably fruit nectar.
Should You Drink Fruit Juice or Fruit Nectar?
Fruit juice, when 100% pure, is healthier than drinking fruit nectar. This is purely because there are no additives such as sweeteners or extra flavors, and you will just be drinking pure juice.
This way you will not be consuming too much sugar, which is one of the main reasons fruit juice is considered to be unhealthy when consumed too often.
Play it safe and rather stick to drinking 100% fruit juice, so you know exactly what you are drinking. You can also choose to make your own fruit juice or nectar at home, to be sure of what is going into the juice you are drinking!
Juicing is a popular way for many to include an extra dose of nutrients and vitamins into their diet, and is also used as a weight-loss strategy.
Whatever reason you choose to juice at home, it is a wonderful way to make juice, and either nectar, for yourself and your family, and is a much healthier alternative to purchasing sugary fruit juice from the store.
Can you drink fruit nectar?
Fruit nectar is thicker than normal fruit juice and contains more acidity and pulp. While you could drink it, it would be difficult to do so as the consistency is more of a puree than a juice.
Once water and sweeteners are added, you can drink fruit nectar the way you would enjoy a glass of fruit juice.
What is diluted fruit juice?
For some people, fruit juice can be too sweet, and a single serving of fruit juice might contain too much sugar. Because of this, many people choose to dilute their fruit juice to make it weaker.
To make fruit juice a healthier option, you should dilute one part of unsweetened fruit juice to four parts of water. This way you can get used to a weaker version of fruit juice, but still, be able to get your sweet fix of fruit as well!
Is juice concentrate better for you?
Whether or not juice concentrate is better for you will depend on what has been added to the concentrate. If there are no added sugars or additives to the concentrate, it is just as good for you as 100% pure fruit juice.
Just be sure to check the label to make sure you know what is in the fruit concentrate, to make sure it is as healthy for you as possible.
Does 100% of fruit juice actually contain 100% fruit juice?
Yes, according to the FDA, any fruit drink claiming to contain 100% fruit juice should contain 100% fruit juice and nothing else.
However, this does not mean that the juice is all from the same fruit, but it must contain 100% juice from any fruit or vegetable. So once again, check the label to see all the ingredients.
The Difference Between Juice and Nectar
Most fruit drinks on the shelves look pretty similar, and it can be difficult to tell one type of fruit juice from the other, and which one is healthier to consume, compared to another that is loaded with sugar.
Juice and nectar are fairly different products, and if you see fruit juice, it means that it is 100% pure fruit juice, or close, and nectar means that the fruit nectar has been added to water, sweetener, and other additives to make it a drinkable consistency.