Food News - The OJ (Orange Juice) Health Trap

Each year, as I get older, I get wiser, in all aspects of my life, and most importantly; in matters concerning my diet....

For so many years, we have been made to believe that certain foods are particularly good for us and we are encouraged to eat loads of them, and then over time, we discover new properties/components of these foods which make them really bad for us....!

All around the world, orange juice has long been seen as healthy and an essential part of our daily diet. Orange juice features permanently on most food menus, and most meals, for instance, breakfast, cannot be served without a generous portion of orange juice...!

All manner of researches and findings all suggest that drinking orange juice regularly is good for you and essential for healthy, portraying its high levels of vital nutrients like vitamin C.

So following an article I came across online about Orange Juice being under fire from Nutritionist, I had to write this post because, as a nutritionist myself, I largely believe the arguments but forward in the article...

Like all fruit juices, orange juice is quite healthy, I agree with this fact, but how is the orange juice produced, what are its main content, how often and in what quantity do we consume it...? Get some of the key facts below:

Facts to Consider

Commercial Orange Juice Contains Very High Levels of Sugar: regular oranges contain natural sugars in them, which are naturally balanced with the other nutrients, fibre, vitamins, minerals etc. Oranges used to produce commercial juices are purposefully genetically engineered to possess certain qualities/properties, in particular, maximum increase of sweetness. This is done so as to increase agricultural yield which will be best for production and profitability.

Over Processing: processing orange juice requires heat treatment which is used to reduce water content (for storage and transportation reasons). But this process consequently increases its sugar content. The heat treatment can also destroy some of the nutrients thereby reducing the overall content. Further processing of commercial orange juice, (especially those made from concentrated orange juice) requires inclusion of additives of which sugar (sucrose or fructose syrup) is most prevalent. These additives are used to improve tastes, textures and general stability of the juice. Of course the proportion of these additives are significantly high in some brands, and can pose danger to health.

Over Consumption: because orange juice is of such convenience, we tend to over consume it. A 200ml glass of orange juice typically contains about 6-8 oranges, depending on the size of each orange and how juicy they are. On average, an individual will consume 2 glasses of orange juice per meal! Some scientific researches actually suggest that this is equivalent to consuming 2 glasses of fizzy drinks per meal, in terms of the high sugar content...!

Oranges vs Orange Juice: regular oranges contain a natural balance of nutrients and are better suited for our diet without posing serious health concerns. In particular, eating oranges proves healthier than drinking commercially processed orange juice, because they have high levels of fibre in them. When consumed in their natural state, a person will eat an average of 2-3 oranges at a time. This amount is about enough to provide satisfaction.

Orange Juice vs Juice Drink: Always check the packaging of your store bought orange juice and see if it contains 100% orange juice or not. 100% juice indicates that the product contains only fruit juices. If not, that indicates that the product contains some orange juice AND other ingredients. Read the labels and check the list of ingredients to determine if the product is suitable for you.

Getting the most out of Orange Juice
  1. The watch word is moderation. Store bought orange juices are really convenient, and if care is not taken its is really very easy to consume too much of them. Limit consumption to just one glass per meal and it is advisable to dilute with water to reduce the residual sugar content.
  2. Rather than rely on store bought juices, make some at home! Invest in a good juicer and enjoy freshly squeezed organic juice every time.

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