Many so-called weight loss drinks are actually not that helpful. Find out whether prune juice is actually good for weight loss or not.
Fruit juices like prune juice are generally not that good for weight loss. This is because prune juice is somewhat higher in calories, low in fiber, and easy to overconsume.
You have other drink options that are more helpful for this health goal.
At the same time, there are definitely drinks that are worse for weight loss than prune juice too. By replacing these with prune juice you could actually see positive results.
If you decide to drink prune juice when trying to lose weight, you want to choose the ones that don’t have added sugar and other sweeteners.
How is prune juice made?
Knowing how prune juice is made helps you understand why fruit juices are typically suboptimal for weight loss.
First of all, someone dries regular plums (a fruit). This results in something called prunes which are already less helpful for weight loss than the whole version.
To get prune juice, the brand then rehydrates prunes and presses this fluid out again (1). Additionally, you strain out the pulp from the prune juice that is left.
Finally, some prune juice brands and recipes add ginger, mint, salt, sugar, other sweeteners, lemon juice, strawberries, and many more ingredients.
So while there are some general things to say about prune juice, keep in mind that individual brands can vary in terms of nutrients and impact on weight loss.
Micronutrients in prune juice
The different types of calories in prune juice and their amounts influence weight loss a lot but looking at the micronutrients can be helpful too.
These micronutrients which include vitamins and minerals often play roles in things like losing weight and general health.
100 grams of one example of prune juice contains the following amounts of vitamins and minerals (2):
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Potassium: 8% of the DV
- Manganese: 8% of the DV
- Iron: 7% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 7% of the DV
And a few vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.
These amounts of vitamins and minerals per 100 grams of prune juice are welcome but not that impressive compared to many other food options.
It is worth noting that 100 grams of fluid, about half a glass, is easy to consume. However, even with that in mind, prune juice is not the best way to consume more vitamins and minerals.
One of the main reasons people think prune juice is good for weight loss is because it can act as a laxative (3, 4). This effect is mainly because of a substance called sorbitol which has laxative effects (5).
That being said, this theory does not seem to hold up. Laxatives don’t seem to work for fat loss (6).
Fiber in prune juice for weight loss
When finding out whether a plant-based food like prune juice is good for weight loss or not you definitely want to look at the amount of fiber in it.
Fiber is a category of nutrients with some interesting effects that can help people who are trying to lose weight.
Before going into these details, the example prune juice contains around 1 gram of fiber per 100 grams (2).
One gram is better than nothing but compared to many foods, prune juice is relatively low in fiber.
This is unfortunate because fiber helps you feel fuller without adding significant amounts of absorbable calories.
Many people fail to stick to weight loss diet plans because they struggle too much with hunger and cravings. Fiber can help reduce these to some extent.
Besides that, fiber also tends to be beneficial for your gut health and microbiome composition. These things seem to influence weight loss and general health.
So the small amount of fiber in prune juice does benefit weight loss to some extent. However, if you really want to increase your fiber intake, other food options will be better.
Even regular plums contain about 1.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams (7).
Will prune juice help you lose weight?
To figure out whether prune juice is good for weight loss and to what extent you also need to know the total number of calories. The source of calories matters too but the total amount offers valuable information too.
This example of prune juice contains 71 calories per 100 grams (2).
Compared to whole vegetables and fruits, this is on the higher side. Even so, 71 calories per 100 grams is still reasonably low. You do still want to keep the fluid aspect in mind.
68.7 of the calories above come from carbohydrates (17.4 g per 100 grams of which 1 g fiber). Even regular plums are not that keto-friendly and not that suited for low-carb diets. Let alone prune juice.
This particular example of prune juice is actually decent for weight loss. The main issue is that it is relatively easy to consume half a glass of prune juice.
Because it is easy to overconsume prune juice, it is reasonable to say this drink is not good for weight loss on its own.
At the same time, there are drinks that are worse for weight loss too. By replacing these with prune juice, you could actually see some positive changes.
So what weight loss results you will experience from drinking prune juice will depend on many details like the rest of your diet, your other lifestyle habits, your body, etc.
In general, you want to choose solid foods that are more helpful for weight loss instead of prune juice.
If you do decide to drink more prune juice, you want to avoid the ones with a lot of added sugar and other sweeteners.
Can prune juice reduce belly fat?
Many people get the impression that you have to do specific exercises or drink certain drinks to target fat loss in areas like your belly.
Unfortunately, it is generally not possible to choose where you lose fat from in significant amounts. To make this happen, you need to lose enough body fat overall.
So in theory, prune juice could help you reduce body fat if it serves as a healthier replacement and if your body “decides” your stomach area is next.
That being said, this will not always be the case. Additionally, there are more helpful foods and drinks for reducing belly fat too.
Drink these things instead
As mentioned prune juice can be a more weight-loss-friendly alternative than something like soft drinks.
At the same time, other alternatives like black coffee, tea, and other healthy water drinks will often be more helpful for losing weight.
When should you drink prune juice for weight loss?
What you eat and drink is not the only thing that influences your weight loss. At what times you consume these things can influence your results too.
The human body tends to deal better with high-carbohydrate foods and drinks like prune juice earlier in the day. This could be better for your health and potentially weight loss.
That being said, the guideline that will generally offer the most results is not consuming prune juice right before bedtime.
Having to digest food typically reduces sleep quality and the fluid in prune juice may make you wake up at night to go to the toilet.
Prune juice will likely not be so fattening at night that it means the end of your weight loss journey. Even so, you preferably want to stop drinking it a few hours before bedtime.
Which is better: prunes or prune juice?
As briefly mentioned, juicing vegetables and fruits tends to be bad for weight loss because it leaves behind nutrients that can be helpful for this goal.
You may wonder if this also applies to prunes vs prune juice and what the specific nutritional differences look like.
Whole prunes contain about 240 calories per 100 grams (8). This is actually a lot higher than the number of calories in 100 grams of the example prune juice.
However, regular prunes also contain about 7.1 grams of fiber which is a lot more helpful than the 1 gram in 100 grams of prune juice. Regular prunes also contain bigger amounts of vitamins and minerals.
It is hard to predict whether prunes or prune juice will be better for weight loss. The same weight of prunes will keep you fuller for longer but it will also contain a higher number of calories.
Regular whole plums will typically be better for weight loss than both of these options.
Even the dried fruits that are the least suboptimal for weight loss are relatively high in calories per 100 grams compared to many other types of foods.
Generally stay away from liquid calories
If you are currently drinking liquids with calories, stopping with this is one of the changes that will offer a lot of weight loss results.
When looking at the nutrients per 100 grams in these drinks, they may look alright. However, it is relatively easy to overconsume liquids.
Fruit juices may sound somewhat healthier due to the fruit names in them but similar concepts apply. By filtering out the other nutrients, you mainly have some water with sugar and a few vitamins and minerals.
Whole foods tend to be a lot more helpful for weight loss and just as tasty.