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Grape juice

Plain old grape juice isn't as popular as fermented grape juice (aka wine). However, grape juice does contain phytochemicals like wine does, although often in lesser amounts. Grape juice has been tested in a small number of trials for endurance exercise, antioxidant capacity, and inflammation.

Our evidence-based analysis on grape juice features 26 unique references to scientific papers.

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Grape juice Summary

How does grape juice compare to wine or grapes, for health benefits?

There haven't been trials directly comparing wine to grape juice (outside of studies in animals such as hamsters[2]), so the comparitive benefits are theoretical. Grape juice is different enough from grapes, due to lack of fiber and consequent effects on gut bacteria and other factors, that the results of whole grape trials aren't transferable to grape juice.

Wine contains alcohol (duh!), and alcohol in moderate amounts may help relax blood vessels and increase HDL.[3] Wine also has higher amounts of certain phytochemicals than grape juice does, but similar amounts of other ones.

Despite the phytochemical profile, it's difficult, it doesn't appear that grape juice reduces blood sugar, insulin, blood pressure, or improved lipids. However, one study that used a highly concentrated juice was more likely to find benefits, so perhaps it's a dosing issue. There are a variety of studies, largely sponsored by a large juice company, that have explored other areas of health, and the results are so far inconclusive.

It's important to note that there are very very few trials on grape juice, compared to on wine. So the reliability of the total body of evidence is somewhat low.

How does grape juice compare to wine, for health DETRIMENTS?

Grape juice doesn't contain alcohol. Consuming alcohol in moderate amounts can turn into consuming alcohol in large amounts, whether chronically or even on occasion.

Even in moderate amounts over time, alcohol may not be that healthy. Some researchers believe the evidence for benefits is mixed enough, and potential detriment large enough, that health benefits should not be trumpeted.[4][5]

Grape juice however, and fruit juices in general, are linked to tooth erosion and dental carries.[6] However, the trials on this typically use conditions that don't fully reflect real-life juice drinking. Grape juice in amounts that are clinically effective may also contribute excessive calories into your diet, as juices are much easier to consume than whole fruits.[7]

What type of grape juice is used in clinical trials?

Often but not always purple grape juice, at 100% purity (in other words, not mixed fruit juice, or sugar-added juice). Occasionally, white grape juice is used.

How does grape juice compared to other fruit juices for health benefits?

Many trials haven't been conducted which compare different fruit juices against each other. There are some studies that have found higher inflammation than apple juice, and lower arterial stiffness than grapefruit juice, but much more research is needed. We'd love to know, but the financial incentive isn't there (What if none of the fruit juices did better than the other ones? That certainly wouldn't encourage further funding by the losing juice's industry.

That being said, grape juice doesn't appear to help memory and cognition quite like blueberry juice can. Unfortunately for the consumer, blueberry juice is much more expensive than grape juice.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

First, make sure you use 100% grape juice, rather than a juice with added sugar or other juices mixed in.

There are relatively few trials on grape juice. The most commonly used dose was 10 ml of grape juice per kilogram of bodyweight, per day. For a 70 kg person, that would amount to 700 mg, or nearly 24 ounces.

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects grape juice has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Minor Very High See all 6 studies
Most studies have found at least modest increases in the antioxidant capacity of tested blood after consumption of grape juice.
grade-c Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Research is limited, but one study found an increase compared with an isocaloric amount of apple juice, and another found an increase from a small amount of concentrate compared with no intervention. One study did find a small reduction, and another didn't find an effect.
grade-c - Moderate See all 8 studies
It's unlikely that, compared to an isocaloric amount of sugar, grape juice reduces blood glucose levels. However, the vast majority of the studies were not in people with full-blown hyperglycemia, and participants weren't selected on this basis, so the effects on diabetics are unknown.
grade-c - Moderate See all 7 studies
While a small reduction in people with hypertension is possible, the research doesn't point to a reliable benefit.
grade-c - High See all 8 studies
Studies overall don't support an effect, though one study with a highly concentrated grape juice found an increase. It may be a dosing issue, though we don't know yet.
grade-c - Moderate See all 6 studies
No apparent effect compared with a flavored sugar drink or apple juice as control. However, studies looking at its effects on type 2 diabetes haven't been done.
grade-c - Moderate See all 9 studies
Studies overall don't support an effect. One study that used a highly concentrated juice found a reduction, and it may be a dosing issue, but we don't know yet.
grade-c - High See all 9 studies
Studies overall don't support an effect. One study that used a highly concentrated juice found a reduction, and it may be a dosing issue, but we don't know yet.
grade-c - High See all 9 studies
No apparent effect overall.
grade-c - Very High See all 6 studies
No apparent difference compared with a non-fruit sugar drink.
grade-d Strong - See study
Large reduction in one study due to a highly concentrated grape juice supplement. More research is needed to confirm.
grade-d Notable Very High See 2 studies
A very small amount of evidence suggests an increase in aerobic exercise capacity through increased time to exhaustion.
grade-d Notable - See study
One study found a reduction in superoxide. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Notable Moderate See 2 studies
A notable increase in uric acid (nearly 30%) after a month of grape juice supplementation in one study, and no change, but less of a reduction than in a control group in hemodialysis patients.
grade-d Notable - See study
One study found an increase in a grape that consumed 10 ml/kg daily, but not in one that took vitamin E. The sugar content may be involved. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor - See study
A small increase with a small decrease of ApoB in one study. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor - See study
A small decrease, with a small increase in ApoA in one study. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor - See study
One study found an increase in subjective appetite compared with a grape-flavored sugar drink. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor - See study
One study found an improvement compared with grapefruit juice. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor Very High See 2 studies
Flow-mediated dilation may be improved by grape juice, though more research is needed.
grade-d Minor - See study
One study found a small calming effect during cognitive testing. Much research is needed.
grade-d Minor Very High See 2 studies
A small amount of research suggests that it may be able to mildly prevent DNA damage due to oxidative stress. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor Very High See 2 studies
Two studies on cognitively impaired participants found an increase in the Geriatric Depression Scale, and simultaneously no effect of a grape-flavored sugar drink. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed evidence, but the positive study was specifically on people who had coronary heart disease.
grade-d Minor - See study
One study found an increase in Gamma-delta T-cell proliferation but not peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Much more research is needed.
grade-d Minor High See all 3 studies
Some studies have found that acute and chronic intake have coincided with improvements in elderly participants with mild cognitive impairment, but much more research is needed to confirm this in more rigorous trials.
grade-d Minor - See all 3 studies
Mixed evidence, but more likely to support a modest reduction in oxidized LDL. More research is needed.
grade-d Minor - See study
An increase was found in one study.
grade-d - - See study
Unclear effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
No change in anaerobic threshold after a month of grape juice supplementation.
grade-d - - See study
One study failed to note a meaningful effect on catalase, but other components of the antioxidant enzyme profile weren't assessed.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect from acute consumption in one study.
grade-d - - See study
One study didn't found an effect from acute consuming during cognitive testing.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
One study failed to find an effect on HOMA-IR.
grade-d - - See study
There was a possible small increase in one study, but it was unclear if it was due to the grape juice.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study of participants with coronary artery disease.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - Moderate See 2 studies
Mixed evidence. Much more research is needed.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
No apparent effect in one study.
grade-d - - See study
A possible small reduction in one study, but it's unclear if it's genuine. Much more research is needed.

Studies Excluded from Consideration

Confounded with apple juice.[1]

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Things to Note

Do Not Confuse With

wine, resveratrol, grape sugar

Caution Notice

Regular grape juice consumption, especially without adequate dental hygiene, can increase the risk of dental caries.

For those with diabetes or pre-diabetes, regular juice consumption can be risky.

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Click here to see all 26 references.