If you have been bombarding your body everyday with ounces of packaged orange juice thinking that they are healthier than other sugary drinks, its time for a rethink. Were you aware that all orange juice brands have as much sugar as a Coke or Pepsi, and sometimes even more? Although it is recommended to have five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, packaged juices don’t count because they don’t have any health benefits.
A whole fruit has fiber which slows down the absorption of the fruit’s sugar into the bloodstream. The pancreas don’t have to release higher amounts of insulin to deal with sugar from fruit. Conversely, the surplus amounts of sugar from the packaged juice makes your body insulin-resistant when consumed regularly. The cells are unable to properly absorb the sugar in the bloodstream leading to high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes. High sugar affects the heart, kidneys, eyes, and lower extremities.
Why Avoid Packaged Juices?
Packaged juices are not healthy and the high-sugar content leads to obesity, tooth problems, and heart disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) reduced the recommended daily intake of sugar from 10%, down to five percent, cutting it in half. According to the American Health Association (AHA), adult women’s recommended sugar intake is five teaspoons (20 grams) per day, adult men’s recommended sugar intake is nine teaspoons (36 grams), and children’s recommended sugar intake is three teaspoons (12 grams).
12 ounces of orange juice contains nine teaspoons of sugar! Sugar shouldn’t be completely eliminated from a healthy diet, however, sugar-sweetened foods should be. According to the AHA, over the past 30 years, we have consumed an average of 150 to 300 more calories per day, 50% of which come from beverages. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., an obesity expert at the University of Ottawa said, “Juice is fairly describable as a glass of water that contains a smattering of vitamins along with 5 or more teaspoons of sugar. Unfortunately there is no combination of vitamins that would make the consumption of a glass of non-sating sugar a healthful behavior.”
Orange Juice Brands to Avoid
Whole Food 365 – Organic Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
Eight ounces contains 110 calories. It has 420 milligrams of potassium, 26 grams of carbs, and 21 grams of sugar. It is free of fats and proteins. The vitamin C content is the highest at around 200% and it contains two percent calcium.
Tropicana No Pulp Orange Juice
A six-ounce serving of this orange juice brand contains 22 grams of sugar.
Minute Maid 100% Orange Juice
An eight-ounce serving of this orange juice brand contains 24 grams of sugar.
If you are still tempted to consume an eight-ounce serving (110 calories) of packaged juice, you can burn the extra calories by working out by
- walking for 29 minutes;
- jogging for 13 minutes;
- swimming for 9 minutes; or
- cycling for 15 minutes.
Packaged Orange Juice Alternatives for a Healthier Lifestyle
Although freshly squeezed orange juice doesn’t contain fiber and has equal amounts of sugar compared to packaged orange juice, it also contains more vitamins and antioxidants than the packaged juice. And the freshly squeezed juices taste better, too. You can make your orange juice fibrous by blending the fruit with veggies like spinach, carrots, beet, or kale.
You can opt for whole fruits instead of squeezing out the juices. Whole fruits are more satiating and have their nutrients intact, which are otherwise lost during the juicing process. You can opt for smoothies made from whole fruits containing skin and pulp.
You can also hydrate yourself with fruit water. Just add a few slices of your favorite citrus fruits to filtered or sparkling water. Eat the fruit slices after you finish with the water.
Packaged orange juice can’t be 100% sugar-free, even if their label says so! The manufacturers have great marketing skills and are never really honest about their ingredients. So next time you have a craving for orange juice, grab an orange, or at least have freshly squeezed orange juice.