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How Healthy is Natural Orange Juice? A Look at Fruit Juice Nutrition

Natural Orange Juice...What Is Natural Juice?

What is natural juice, and how does it differ from juice that is not natural? Natural juice is a term that can refer to juice straight out of the fruit (or vegetable) or concentrated juice that has been reconstituted with water. For example, if you squeeze an orange, you will have natural orange juice. If you purchase 100% orange juice from concentrate, it is natural orange juice.

There is not really any juice that is not natural. Juices that are diluted with water and sweetened with sugar do not become "not natural" juice. They are just no longer pure juice. Similarly, if you purchase instant oatmeal packets that have no added ingredients and those that have added flavorings, you don't have natural oatmeal and not natural oatmeal. You just have plain oatmeal and oatmeal with additives.

There is no legal definition to the word "natural" with regard to nutrition. Food companies are required to adhere to truthful advertising laws, so as long as there is no deceit or inaccurate information on a label, use of the word "natural" is fine. Natural does not mean healthier, though advertisers know you might think it does, so they use the word.

three orange slices

Nutrition of Fruit Juice

Let's delve into the nutrition of juice. Fruit juice contains about 100-140 calories and 26-34 grams of sugar per cup. There is a range of calories and grams of sugar because different fruits vary in their sugar content. Juice does not contain fiber. This includes orange juices that have pulp, which even state on their labels that they are not significant sources of fiber. Juices can be high in various vitamins. Most notable amongst the vitamins is vitamin C, which is famously, due to great advertising, in orange juice.

Comparing Fruit Juice to Fruit

To make a reasonable comparison, I will look at one cup of juice and one cup of the whole fruit, diced. The fruit has more fiber, less calories, and less sugar than the juice. One cup of orange pieces also has more vitamin C than one cup of juice.

Juice From Concentrate Versus Juice Not From Concentrate

Are there any nutritional differences between juice from concentrate and juice that is not from concentrate? There are some small and not practically significant differences. Juice that is not from concentrate has about 10% more vitamin C. Juice that is from concentrate has about 40% more calcium--though both are very low in calcium compared to how much we need in a day. A cup of orange juice, whether it is from concentrate or not, has about 1% or less of an average person's calcium needs. There are a few other similarly insignificant differences between the juice from concentrate and juice that is not from concentrate.

Is Juice at Least Healthier than Soda?

My answer: Not that much healthier. Juice has more similarities to soda than differences when it comes to most people's definition of nutritious. They are both high in carbohydrates and sugar. Surprisingly to many, juice has more calories and grams of sugar per cup than soda. Juice does have some vitamins and minerals, and that is where it is superior to soda.

Some people may raise the concern about high fructose corn syrup in soda. To lay out the facts clearly, juice also contains fructose, though soda such as cola contains about three times as much fructose. There is some research linking fructose to insulin resistance and liver disease, suggesting that fructose may have more negative health effects than other types of sugar. Still, the fact that soda might be less healthy than juice does not turn juice into a health food. Take it for what it actually is.

Should You Drink Natural Fruit Juice

Maybe your nutrition needs are different than most people's needs with regard to recommendations for juice intake. There are a few medically appropriate times to drink juice. Additionally, the fact that juice (or soda) is not a health food does not make it forbidden. Given what you now know about juice, you can make a decision about how much juice you would like to drink. You can always ask a registered dietitian for personalized information and recommendations.

1 commento

25 lug 2023

I love how you write so clearly and concisely. I really understand what you are saying.

Mi piace

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