My wife has a chronic, not-very-well-understood GI condition that includes hyper-sensitivity to certain foods.

We're looking to more information about the chemical composition of various foods for both healthcare and home-cooking purposes.

In particular, she has observed that:

  • She can consume both apples and apple cider (hard or regular) about as well as a typically healthy adult.
  • Apple juice causes her significant intestinal distress.
  • Even a tiny whiff of apple cider vinegar sets off her gastric symptoms immediately. (She can, however, safely consume other vinegars, such as white, red wine, balsamic, or rice wine vinegar.)

Are there chemical differences between apple cider, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar – such as transformations of the sugars due to fermentation of heating – that could explain this?

  • Isn't your "apple cider" just unfiltered apple juice? That would mean that everything present in cider is present in juice, but the cider has a little fibre. Hard cider would then have less sugar as the yeast uses it in brewing. But correct me if my understanding of American terminology is wrong - here "cider" means an alcoholic drink made from apples, and any unfermented liquid pressed from apples is known as juice (it may be "cloudy")
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 3, 2019 at 15:28
  • Alex refers to "hard or regular" cider, so your understanding of language is correct, Chris.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 5:30
  • Is the apple juice "Real" one? Like cloudy unfiltered one or is it clear and (maybe) made from concentrated juice (even if it says 100%)? Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 9:03
  • @ChrisH Yes, in the US, cider or sweat cider is what you would call juice or unfiltered or cloudy juice. Left over from prohibition when the name cider was retained while making actual cider was outlawed. For most of the rest of the world it is not cider until fermented.
    – dlb
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


There certainly are chemical differences between apples and commercially purchased apple juice, but it's impossible to tell what they are, they are trade secrets.

Apple juice bought in stores is not "apples squeezed then bottled", such a juice would become unappetizing before it was transported out of the factory. Juices are high tech products - "100% apple" just means that all ingredients were derived from apples, but the producer can have changed them in whatever ways it saw fit, before making a final product with the right consistency and aroma.

If you are talking about freshly squeezed apple juice at home, the only chemical difference between that and whole apples is the oxidation of some antioxidants in the apple, mostly polyphenols. The sugars are not changed chemically.

  • Think preservatives, classifiers and chemicals to help stop or stall fermentation in the commercial juices. To some extent some of the same additives might be in commercial attempts to sell extra apples as what we in the US call cider while really just trying for a higher price. If looking to avoid those trade secrets, one likely needs to press the apples themselves or go to the farm for raw cider.
    – dlb
    Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 13:40

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