Missing Components of Apple Juice

November 23, 2013

Researchers see benefit in keeping apple juice cloudy.

A serving of fruit juice is largely considered equivalent to a serving of whole fruit, but several components of fruits are removed during the juicing process. And they are usually full of nutrients. In the case of apple juice, numerous apple materials are discarded-some of which may even offer lipid-lowering benefits.

Previous studies suggest that apples and processed apple products contain nutrients that lower cholesterol absorption, but results are inconsistent. A team of European researchers realized that no human studies have looked at the lipid-lowering potential of whole apples versus their juices, nor of apple pomace-the pulpy byproduct of apple juice. In hopes of getting closer to the mystery of apple’s potential cholesterol benefit, the researchers assigned 23 volunteers to consume whole apples, apple pomace, clear or cloudy apple juice, or control for several weeks and in crossover fashion.

Compared to control, apple consumption resulted in a trend towards lowered total and LDL cholesterol-but only with whole apples (6.7%), pomace (7.9%), and cloudy juice (2.2%). Compared to whole apples and pomace, clear juice actually increased LDL cholesterol.

The less reduced forms of apple likely temper cholesterol because they contain pomace-and peel, in the case of whole apples-which offer ample amounts of pectin and polyphenols. These particular compounds may have cholesterol benefits of their own, based on previous research. The presence or absence of pulp, which contain these substances, is what creates the visual difference of cloudy apple juice and clear apple juice.

Based on their findings, the researchers conclude that clear apple juice “may not be a suitable surrogate” for the nutritional recommendations of whole fruit. Their findings are part of a larger movement of repurposing apple byproducts. One recent example is AppleActiv, an organic apple peel powder obtained from applesauce leftovers.

 

Robby Gardner

Associate Editor

Nutritional Outlook magazine

robby.gardner@ubm.com