Truthfully, I’m not a fan of juice. I have trouble with the acidity and the amount of fructose in most juices. But I know a lot of people have similar issues and may be looking for low FODMAP juices. I thought a post on this topic might be helpful, despite not being much of a juice drinker myself.
Fruit juice and FODMAPs are a mixed bag. Many popular juices, including apple and grape, are very high FODMAP. Some less popular juices, like cranberry and grapefruit, are (likely) low FODMAP. And orange juice? Well, it depends on what kind.
In this post we’ll look at low and high FODMAP juices. The vast majority of juice sold in grocery stores is made from concentrate, so that’s primarily what’s discussed here. The process of turning juice into concentrate changes the FODMAP content, especially the fructose content. So we’ll also discuss the difference between low fructose and low FODMAP, too.
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Low FODMAP Juices
The FODMAP of most concern in fruit juices is fructose. But it’s not the amount of fructose in a food that determines whether its high or low FODMAP. Instead, researchers look at the ratio of fructose to glucose, and specifically at the amount of fructose in excess of glucose.
If a food has more glucose than fructose, it has no excess fructose and is classified as low FODMAP. However, if a food has more fructose than glucose, it’s said to have excess fructose.
According to published low FODMAP guidelines, a food should have no more than .40 grams of excess fructose per serving. If a food has more than .40 grams of excess fructose, it’s classified as high FODMAP.1
If fructose plus another FODMAP are present in a food, the excess fructose threshold drops to .15 grams per serving. So, if a fruit juice contains both fructose and fructans, the excess fructose should not exceed .15 grams. If it does, the juice will the classified high FODMAP.1
Due to high fructose content, most juices are high FODMAP. However, lower fructose juices can contain other FODMAPs. If other FODMAPs are or may be present in a juice, I’ve discussed that here in the individual write-ups for each juice.
One thing that affects the fructose content of juices is whether they are fresh squeezed or made from concentrate. Let’s learn a bit about that now.
What is Fruit Juice Concentrate?
Most juice sold in stores is not fresh squeezed but instead is made from concentrate. To make juice concentrate, fresh fruit is crushed to extract the juice. Most of the water is then removed from the juice, which leaves behind a thick, fruit-flavored syrup made up mostly of sugars.
This sugary juice concentrate is used to flavor products like yogurt and candy. Or the concentrate can be reconstituted by adding water to create fruit juice.
Concentrate is a cheaper way to make large amounts of fruit juice.2 Because the flavor of concentrate is so strong, you can make a lot more juice by adding water to concentrate than you can by juicing fresh fruit.
Fresh vs From Concentrate Juice
Turning fruit juice into concentrate changes the sugar composition. I discussed this in detail in my post on lemons, but the same happens with orange juice. An 8 ounce cup of freshly squeezed orange juice has 5.16 grams of glucose and 5.53 grams of fructose. So, a serving of fresh orange juice has .37 grams of excess fructose.
On the other hand, an 8 ounce glass of refrigerated orange juice made from concentrate has 4.47 grams of glucose and 5.25 grams of fructose. So, orange juice made from concentrate has less glucose and fructose overall. But it also has a lot more excess fructose. A serving of reconstituted orange juice has .78 grams of excess fructose, much more than fresh juice.
There are many things that can alter the sugar composition of fruit juice concentrate. This includes how different sugars react in water. Generally, fructose dissolves more easily than sucrose which dissolves more easily than glucose.3 There are also different ways of making fruit juice concentrate.4 And additives, including extra sugar, can be mixed into concentrate.5
The bottom line here is that juice made from concentrate has a different sugar profile than the fresh version. Whether that means it has more or less sugar depends on how the concentrate is made and whether any sugar is added during that process. Since most of the juice we buy in stores is from concentrate, that’s the version I’ve included most in the following lists.
Low FODMAP Juices List
*Asterisk indicates juice may contain other FODMAPs.
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
All the other low FODMAP juices listed are made from concentrate, but I included fresh orange juice here because many people juice oranges at home.
Oranges, and citrus in general, are generally a good bet for people sensitive to fructose. If you want to learn more, you can check out this post on fructose in different types of oranges.
Of all the above options, fresh orange juice may be the best in terms of both taste and fructose content.
While total fructose exceeds the low fructose guideline of 3 grams per serving or less,6 fructose accounts for less than 30% of the total sugar in orange juice. And an 8 ounce glass of fresh squeezed orange juice falls just below the low FODMAP guideline for excess fructose. Plus, people may find orange juice more palatable than cranberry or grapefruit juice.
Like fresh orange juice, pineapple juice is high fructose but low FODMAP, containing no excess fructose.
Be aware that there are reports that pineapple, and presumably pineapple juice, may be high in fructans at larger serving sizes.7 But, honestly, I haven’t found much evidence to support this.
One study comparing FODMAP food lists from different countries found three lists include pineapple. In all three, including the Monash app, pineapple is listed as low FODMAP.8 Additionally, a study from Brazil found low concentrations of fructans in fresh pineapple,9 a finding supported by a study on pineapple from Africa.10 Similarly, a study of commonly eaten foods in the United States found no detectable fructans in fresh pineapple.11
So, in my opinion, the only well-documented FODMAP in pineapple is fructose. And, based on low FODMAP excess fructose rules, pineapple juice would be classified as low FODMAP. You can learn more about that in this post dedicated entirely to pineapple.
Be aware that there hasn’t been any testing on pomegranate juice. There are reports that pomegranate seeds may be high in fructans, so the juice may be high in fructans, too.12 At present, there’s not enough data to draw a conclusion. I’m tentatively listing pomegranate juice as low FODMAP here. If more data becomes available, I’ll update the list.
The fructose content of pomegranate juice is similar to those on the high FODMAP juices list. The only reason pomegranate juice is considered low FODMAP here is due to a very high glucose content, which results in a low excess fructose score.
Cranberry juice is the only one on this list that’s truly both low fructose and low FODMAP. But, to be clear, the data shown is for natural, unsweetened cranberry juice, which is very tart. If you drink cranberry juice as part of a “juice cocktail,” when it’s mixed with other juices, this data won’t be relevant.
White Grapefruit Juice
Fructose makes up a large percentage of the total sugar in grapefruit juices, but it’s still considered low FODMAP, as least as far as excess fructose goes.
As with pineapple juice, it’s been reported that grapefruit contains fructans. But, also as with pineapple, there’s sparse evidence to support this. You can find a fuller discussion of this topic in my post on FODMAPs in grapefruit.
As we’ve seen here, there aren’t many low FODMAP juices and the ones that are low FODMAP tend to be less popular. According to the USDA, orange juice is the top juice choice in the United States, followed by apple, with grape juice coming in a distant third.13 Unfortunately, the “from concentrate” versions of all these juices are high FODMAP.
High FODMAP Juices
I mentioned earlier that low fructose doesn’t always mean low FODMAP, which is true. But, at least with regard to fruit juices, the general rule is that high fructose means high FODMAP. For example, apple and grape juice have some of the highest fructose content of all juices and they’re also the highest FODMAP.
High FODMAP Juices List
*Asterisk indicates juice may contain other FODMAPs.
Orange Juice from Concentrate
We’ve already discussed orange juice a lot, so I won’t say much here. When buying orange juice made from concentrate, be aware that if the label simply lists orange juice concentrate, and not 100% juice, as an ingredient, there could be extra sugars or other additives present.
Whether purple or white, grape juice is extremely high fructose and also high FODMAP. This isn’t surprising, since grapes appear at the top of my list of high fructose fruits. Grapes, and grape juice, really are bad news for people who deal with fructose malabsorption. You can learn more in this post on FODMAPs and grapes, if interested.
I have a pretty extensive post on the fructose content in apples, most of which are high fructose. It’s no surprise, then, to find that apple juice is also high fructose, as well as very high FODMAP. In addition to fructose, apples are also high in another FODMAP, sorbitol. You can learn more in my post on FODMAPs in apples.
Red/Pink Grapefruit Juice
Darker fleshed grapefruit, like pink and red, generally has more sucrose and thus is sweeter than lighter fleshed varieties.14 This helps explain why pink/red grapefruit juice is high FODMAP, while white grapefruit juice is low FODMAP, at least for fructose content. (As mentioned earlier, grapefruit juice may contain fructans, too.)
An 8 ounce glass of white grapefruit juice has 2.29 grams of sucrose, while a glass of red/pink juice has 7.95 grams. This means the composition of sugars between white and pink/red grapefruit is very different.
Since white grapefruit juice has much less sucrose, glucose steps up to give the juice more sweetness. This extra glucose helps balance out the fructose content, bringing down the amount of excess fructose. This is why white grapefruit squeaks in under the low FODMAP excess fructose threshold.
On the other hand, the higher sucrose content of pink/red grapefruit juice means there’s less glucose and fructose overall. But the ratio of glucose-to-fructose is slightly over the low FODMAP excess fructose threshold, making pink/red grapefruit juice high FODMAP.
I know many people treat tomato like a vegetable, but it’s botanically classified as a fruit and some people drink tomato juice like fruit juice, so I decided to include it here. Even though tomato lacks the sweetness of other fruits, tomato juice is still high FODMAP. An 8 ounce glass of tomato juice has .425 grams of excess fructose, just over the low FODMAP guideline of .40 grams of excess fructose per serving.
Conclusion: Most Juices are NOT Low FODMAP
The vast majority of fruit juices are not low FODMAP. Many popular juices exceed the low FODMAP threshold for excess fructose. Lower fructose juices may contain other FODMAPs in quantities that exceed stated guidelines, though there needs to be more research here. For now, it seems the safest options are fresh squeezed orange juice, unsweetened cranberry juice and pineapple juice.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any direct alternatives to juice. Sure, you can drink tea or coffee, but there aren’t any real substitutes for fruit juice. You can always reduce your serving size, but even with that, some popular juices will still be high FODMAP.
Honestly, if you’re sensitive to fructose, it may be best to avoid fruit juice entirely, especially if you eat fruit or other foods with fructose throughout the day. I have a long list of foods, not just fruit and fruit juices, that are high in fructose, which is linked below, if you’re interested.
Posts Related to “Low FODMAP Juices”
As mentioned, I have a pretty lengthy list of foods high in fructose. It may be worth checking out if you struggle to properly digest fructose.
About the Author
Amanda Coleman, PhD, studies food culture and teaches a popular Food and Society course. Years of digestive problems led her to live low FODMAP. Now she uses her research and analysis skills to help others understand FODMAP essentials, so they can lead better, healthier lives.
Disclaimer: the author is not a certified medical professional. Opinions expressed and content contained on this website are for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Exercise caution and due diligence when using this site and the information contained herein and understand your experiences may vary.