Become a Member Sign In

Athletic-Minded Traveler’s Blog delves into all things active and healthy. Here you can find recipes, training advice, “best of” lists, travel tips, yoga insight and more.

Orange Juice - Not as Healthy as you Think

Many people start their (and/or their kid's) day with a tall glass of orange juice. "A great source of Vitamin C," is a common refrain heard by the masses. But, there's a dirty little secret that Tropicana, Minute Maid, and other orange juice purveyors hope drinkers continue to ignore...

Orange juice is loaded, and I mean LOADED, with sugar. One serving of OJ (an 8-ounce glass) contains 22 grams of sugar. By comparison, 8-ounces of Dr. Pepper (pick your pop) contains 27grams of sugar. Pretty close right? Would you ever let your kid suck down a soda at breakfast? Would soda ever make your healthy drink list? In terms of sugar, Orange Juice and soda must be looked at as one and the same.

"But how can that be -- oranges are a very healthy fruit, i thought?" That's correct, oranges are very good for you and your kids. Eating one at breakfast (or at some point during the day) is a smart and healthy choice. However, an average orange yields 2 ounces of actual juice. So, when you drink an 8-ounce glass of OJ, it's comparable to eating 4 oranges!!! Can you ever imagine yourself eating 4 oranges in one sitting? No way! Worse, many restaurants serve OJ in a 10-12 ounce glass!

Recent studies have confirmed that drinking one glass of OJ a day raises diabetes risk by 20% (thanks to all of the sugar).

What to do?

1) Eat the real thing - drinking juice strips away the all-important fiber contained in pieces of fruit.

2) Drink a very small portion - if you don't have the time to peel an orange, drink only 2-3 ounces of juice (shot glass). This amount contains an equivalent proportion of natural sugar found in an orange.

3) Don't give your kids juice - I cringe when seeing toddlers sucking on a bottle full of orange, apple or other juice. Moms and Dads may as well be filling it up with Mountain Dew. Give your kids the real thing and let them drink water and/or milk.

Thumbnail Image 

We'd simply say that when you

We'd simply say that when you eat those 4-5 oranges, you're eating less of something else. You have the gift of knowing when you're full! Regards!

What is the point of

What is the point of justifying the consumption of OJ with the fact that it has trace nutrients in it or that it has no added sugar? Drinking one soda a day increases your risk of diabetes by 18%. In other words, OJ is effectively equivalent to drinking soda.

Imagine a liquid detergent you use to wash clothes that contains trace nutrients but also increases your risk for a disease by 20% when consumed. Wouldn't it be crazy to drink it on the assumption it still contains some nutrients or is made differently than arsenic?

I'm not suggesting that you don't drink OJ. My point is to be honest about what you do without ignoring the facts. For example, I eat meat. When people ask me why, I say "because I'm an a**hole who likes the taste of it." But I also say that if scientist ever grow animal tissue in a laboratory that doesn't involve animals suffering in cages and being slaughtered, I'll eat that instead.

Likewise, "I drink OJ because it tastes good, I don't have time to peel an orange, I know it's no different than drinking soda, and I'm aware that I might get diabetes later in life" is the intellectually honest thing to say. This is hard to say when the glass of OJ isn't just for you, but for your kid too. But you should say it nonetheless-- the same way we tell our kids that smoking is bad for you even though tobacco is naturally derived.

I'm not sure I would drink

I'm not sure I would drink milk either every cow has mastitis, which is an infection in the gland and puts pus in your milk..
Drink homemade almond milk way better for you...

I get simply orange or the

I get simply orange or the trop50 juice. An 8 oz glass has only 10 grams of sugar, 100 calories and no fat. If there is fat in oj it was added with something else, perhaps a preservative.

There are many different brands, and even within those brands there are different ones. The one I get has a lot of everything in it. Unfortunately most of it is added after the purification process but still, it has more vitamins than most juices or really any other drink. Always check sugar content. Some juices are much lower than others, especially like the v8 fusion juices... Others are just sugar water... Like v8 splash. Sometimes the price is key. If it's 2 dollars for half a gallon it's probably garbage.

While REAL orange juice is

While REAL orange juice is not the worst of drinks it's definitely not the healthiest either. In my article Orange Juice vs Whole Oranges, I explain and show the difference. You'd be amazed at the difference in volume between several oranges and just the juice.

As a matter of fact, two

As a matter of fact, two Arizona sweet orange trees are growing in the backyard. They produce a glorious bumper crop of fruit ever year. And yes, in late winter and through the spring, from January through April, I do eat four or five oranges every morning. Oddly, I don't put on weight when I do that.

If oranges were so bad for you, I'd get fatter and fatter with each harvest.

Possibly being full of beans is what's fattening?

We'd simply say that when you

We'd simply say that when you eat those 4-5 oranges, you're eating less of something else. You have the gift of knowing when you're full!! Kudos.

Let's take everything with a

Let's take everything with a grain of salt here. I've been drinking OJ my entire life. I grew up on it and I like it. In an effort to be more health conscious I have cut back on my serving size and sometimes cut it with seltzer water to make a refreshing low sugar low cal beverage. I don't drink soda and I drink a lot of water but sometimes I want something more than that. So depicting OJ as something terrible is just silly. Americans just need to practice healthier eating habits overall. And pushing too much milk on kids isn't all good either. #1 it's very filling and #2 it can add 200 to 300 extra calories per day if you drink two 8oz servings of it. I say let your kids have a glass of OJ and hey let them have the bowl of Fruit Loops too. Just send them out in the yard to play and burn it off instead of letting them veg out in front of the tv all day.

Non-fat milk trumps OJ every

Non-fat milk trumps OJ every day of the week. And the non-dairy calcium fortified versions also offer better nutrition. Want the Vitamins of OJ? Take a vitamin. Eat the whole orange for a much better nutrition kick. Here is the post for Milk and the non-dairy options:

Facts 8oz OJ vs 8oz NON-fat milk
OJ 112 calories vs 90 for milk
OJ: 21g sugar vs milk's 11g
OJ 1.7g protein vs milk's 9g

And milk has Vitamin D and calcium. Yes, OJ has vitamin C but that is EASY to come by.

Im drinking orange juice that

Im drinking orange juice that has Vitamin D and Calcium.... I havent noticed cows adding vitamin c to their milk lately...

Juice is considered to be

Juice is considered to be good for health. But juice that are available in market contains heavy amount of sugar. So people who are taking juice for loosing weight must read the label before consuming. I think eating fruits is a better idea than juice. Otherwise you can prepare juice at home without sugar.

"Pav Pank of Diabetes UK,

"Pav Pank of Diabetes UK, said: 'It is very unlikely the consumption of fruit juices alone increases the risk of developing diabetes. There are a number of factors such as being overweight, especially around the waist, an unhealthy diet and a lack of physical activity."

This is from the study you used as evidence of the evils of OJ. Perhaps you should read your sources completely and not take things out if context. You can make statistics say anything you want: and the old mantra; causation is not causality.

A new study in Nutrition

A new study in Nutrition Journal gives a thumbs up to 100% OJ in MODERATE consumption. Why? To meet RDA intake of fruit. It's sad that so many people lack fruit in their diet that OJ becomes the only source.

Editor's Note** This is a

Editor's Note**
This is a heated discussion. BUT a solution is simple: drink water and milk (or other "dairy" -- we like almond milk that is fortified with D and calcium). For kids especially, juice is a loser. The below article from December 4, 2012 gives a useful perspective...and basically concludes that even if it's 100% fruit juice, a piece of fruit and water is MUCH better.

Kids get used to sweetened beverages...healthy or not. Do right by your kids and stick to milk and water. It CAN be that easy. Educate your child. "Oh you would like OJ or lemonade? Sure, but that means no dessert." The same strategy works with sweetened cereal. You want the fruit loops? Sure, but that means it's dessert. That is education. Treats are fine; better than fine. Enjoyable. But kids need to understand that an 8 oz glass has more sugar than most treats...So put it in the treat category. Here is the link to the recent article.

I can believe that it

I can believe that it increases the risk of diabetes, especially since the orange juice you find at Walmart is probably a lot more processed than the more wholesome brands. But the comparison to soda is inaccurate; soda contains processed corn syrups and artificial preservatives the human body was never meant to consume (and no, the laughable commercials from corn companies that condescendingly chuckle "sugar is sugar!" do not even address the problem, let alone are they accurate). The sugar in orange juice is found naturally in the fruit, and the problem, much lesser, is simply too much of a good thing. (Albeit, just eating an orange is a better option.)

Well the whole issue with

Well the whole issue with orange juice (Besides the acidic levels) is the fact it's processed before being put onto the shelves of your local Walmart. If you want to enjoy orange juice, just make your own and drink it fresh.

say something about orange

say something about orange juices acidity level please

I always find these

I always find these criticisms of orange juice very suspicious - because my whole life I have had a very different experience with orange juice and soda.
The rare times I have large quantities of soda (2 glasses of soda in one day is a large quantity for me), soda always leaves me feeling slightly edgy and bloated. But never has orange juice left me with that feeling. Just the opposite

I've been drinking large quantities of OJ my entire life (I'm now 38) and my health and every physical/doctor exam has been stellar my entire life. I'm a very athletic person and consistently use orange juice to refresh or hydrate. If OJ were as bad as soda I imagine my body (or at the very least my blood pressure) would be a mess.
Everyone's body chemistry is different, there are obviously some rules, but don't listen to people who try to portray orange juice being a hoax as one of those rules.

I never knew this! i always

I never knew this! i always thought OJ was very healthy, i used to drink about 3 glasses a day! thanks alot for the artical! veryvery helpful :)

I do agree the real thing is

I do agree the real thing is better.However, they do make oj now with lower sugar.Everything in moderation

My orange juice says it has

My orange juice says it has no sweeteners in it.

But that trop50 stuff used

But that trop50 stuff used stevia extract to sweeten it. I just wish they would tone down sugar without compensating for it.

Because it's water!... Don't

Because it's water!... Don't you ever notice how bland those juices taste at times?? They have to use water to substitute their drink or how else do you think they'd be able to make so much of it? Or maybe oranges aren't that exspensive. But the juices still are. They're pricey anyways. That's what I wonder. With Tropicana orange juice. They seem watered down. Especially the Trop 50. And then so they balance it out with sugar to balance taste. I just think orange juice should taste a little more pure. (Not dissin Tropicana) And to touch more on the sugar thing, my father would state that he was a "type 2" diabetic and would buy and drink orange juice, yet never eat any fruit besides apples every now and then. And he was slightly overweight. If you ever seen the food pyramid, YES, you would ask yourself why would a person have that sort of diet. I think people need to just excercise better judgment and go with what feels sensible and stop trying to cut corners.

So why don't you cut it with

So why don't you cut it with water yourself? Pretty simple solution to the problem, don't you think? Oh, wait. It's because it would taste AWFUL if you diluted it down with water. THINK MCFLY!

Actually, I cut orange juice

Actually, I cut orange juice with water all the time, only I do it with setlzer. It's like drinking Orangina, but probably less calories.

You said you like to dilute

You said you like to dilute your OJ to cut down on the calories, right? You do realize that in the end you are still consuming the same amount of calories, right?

I agree. Orange juice that we

I agree. Orange juice that we see in the supermarkets are full of sugar and it is not good for our body. It is still better to drink or eat the real orange. It is healthier and natural. Thanks for posting this article, it is informative.

But the ingredients are very

But the ingredients are very different for orange juice. There is no added sugar. Soda has high fructose cory syrup or some other added sugar. So at least with juice you are getting viatmins, and other good stuff. You get nothing with pop. It's nutritionally bankrupt.

I guess given that the RDA for sugar is 40 grams, sucking down 20+ grams with OJ, soda or any other sweetened drink, is a waste.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.