Diana Nelson

Orange Juice. Trick Or Treat?

The truth about juice and the impact of orange juice on overall health.


It is popular all over the world. From child to adult. Stalks you in the shops, at home and even on vacation at the hotel. Orange juice has earned its popularity thanks to its incredibly bright and sweet taste. Drinking this juice even boosts your mood. That’s how we are made, give our body something tasty and life will start to play out in new colours. The tricky tasty stuff, hidden in pretty cardboard packaging, is a frequent guest in our kitchens. But is it really all roses?

Orange juice – Nutrition facts

A glass of orange juice is the best way to start breakfast. But when it comes to nutrition, isn’t your glass of sunshine incomplete? Orange juice has a low energy value, and a very low protein and fat content. It has medium carbs and sugar level, almost no fibre, and medium glycemic index. Orange juice has also a great amount of vitamin C, which is good for the immune system, but low potassium and vitamin B1.

Source: USDA

Key factors which make orange juice bad

Can and will raise blood sugar levels

Sugar in fruit is not the type of sugar that requires excessive control, unlike sugar in sweets, fizzy drinks and juices.

Fruit juices can be particularly tempting to be over-consumed because they are easy to drink. Of course, for many people, this is a great option. You don’t have to spend time peeling an orange or other fruit and chewing it. Just pouring the juice into a glass is enough. And there can be many such glasses because it’s so easy and delicious.

Like all store-bought juices, orange juice contains a big amount of added sugar in its composition, which can raise blood sugar levels. An increase in blood sugar levels can be dangerous for people who experience symptoms of hypoglycaemia such as dizziness if they consume sugar too quickly. But not only that.

Frequent uncontrolled consumption of such juice can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, which leads to other serious consequences for the human body.

Added sugar in juices can be compared with added sugar in sweet treats such as chocolate and cakes. Plus, most commercial juice eliminates wholesome fruit parts like skin and pulp – important sources of fibre and nutrients. So it’s better to eat whole fruit as you get more fibre and reduce the consumption of added sugar.

Orange juice. Experiment by our expert

Here we introduce one of our Healthypedia personal testers. Michael Freeman is a big health enthusiast, has a great shape in his 50s, and is metabolically healthy. He tested orange juice for us with his continuous glucose monitor. Let’s look at the results and read Michael’s feedback.
Orange Juice test Nutrition
Blood glucose

I loved orange juice since my childhood. I thought it was the best morning drink and enjoyed the taste and freshness. Labels on the juice were promising and trustworthy. Full of vitamin C and so on and so forth. But when I began going deeper into real nutrition science, I was surprised to learn how tricky orange juice is. After a request from Healthypedia editors to take this challenge I purchased the best orange juice with the least amount of added sugar and the maximum amount of natural ingredients in Waitrose. I hoped that I was mistaken about the effect but a miracle didn’t happen. Even the most natural version of orange juice produces a pretty low result. 6 out of 10. I believe more regular orange juices will produce even poorer results. But good for me and for everybody else, there is a great alternative with completely the same taste. Oranges are a brilliant option with more benefits but without the downsides of this unrefutable orange beverage.

Healthypedia - Michael Freeman
Michael Freeman Health and Longevity Enthusiast, 50

Contributes to weight gaining

Fruit juice is less nourishing than whole fruit and is drunk quickly, increasing the risk of overeating and gaining weight. You will not be sated of juice, of course. Often a deliciously sweet drink, especially juice, makes us drink it again and again. You will not even notice when you have downed two, three or even four glasses. Sometimes that happens.

In a large prospective cohort study among postmenopausal women, results showed a mean weight change of 3.2 pounds over three years. In a multivariable-adjusted analysis, an increase in 100% fruit juice intake by one serving per day was associated with an increase in weight over three years of 0.39 lb.

Can cause inflammation

Drinking sugary drinks can spike inflammation levels. Moreover, this effect can last for a considerable amount of time.

It has been shown that excessive sugar intake and high glycemic index carbohydrates are associated with an increase in inflammation in the body, insulin resistance, and weight gain.

A study of sweetened beverage consumption in young men at three weeks of glucose, fructose and sucrose in different dosages showed that fasting glucose and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels (the concentration of this protein in the blood rises when a person is affected by inflammation) increased significantly after all interventions by 4-9% and 60-109%, respectively.

Can damage tooth enamel

The citric acid in orange juice, especially if consumed excessively, can damage your teeth resulting in tooth decay. The acid can soften and erode tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay.

Drinking orange juice with your meals is a great option. You can also drink juice through a straw to minimise the impact of the juice on your teeth. Maintain good dental hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and getting regular dental check-ups.

Some key factors that are good – we need them too


As much as we would like to say that orange juice is bad for your health, it does have some good points too.

1Rich in vitamin C

100% orange juice is a great source of vitamin C. Do not confuse it with a store-bought one. It is always pasteurised which means reducing the vitamin C content in it. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports the immune system and can be effective in fighting colds by protecting you from viruses and bacteria, as well as speeding up the wound healing process.

2Reduces the risk of kidney stones

Orange juice has a good amount of potassium. There is 4% of DV of potassium per 100 ml (3.38 oz) of juice. Potassium binds with calcium in the urine, creating conditions in which the likelihood of kidney stone formation is reduced.

How much you will have to pay for imaginary pleasure

The cost to your health is very high, especially if you eat junk food and drink sugary beverages and they take up a large percentage of your diet.

Added sugars carry hidden health risks for children and adults. Sugars follow us everywhere and have many different names. If you spend some time studying the label on the back side of the product you buy, you are likely to find sugar in it. Why? Sugar is the cheapest and easiest preservative, prolonging the life of products, sometimes even for years. The big manufacturers don’t care about your health, they only care about their profit margin. And the more the better. Not only that, sugar is addictive and makes you buy it, again and again, to enjoy the pleasantly sweet taste and boost dopamine – the joy hormone.

When you don’t eat right, harmful microflora grows in your intestines, controlling you and demanding something sweet over and over again. Why not juice with added sugar and a couple of years of shelf life? Few people think about what goes into their bodies and of what quality. But we can control that, can’t we? Always opting for a healthier nutritious diet and whole foods.


Healthier alternatives to orange juice

It is not easy to encourage good habits in yourself and your family. But if you decide to do so, you will find these alternatives worth considering.

  • The best alternative to orange juice is whole oranges. Simple and very efficient. The fibre you got eating whole oranges will reduce sugar impact significantly, you will get more nutrients because waste during orange juice production in most cases is even more nutrient than the juice itself.

  • If you can’t live without juice then try to find the healthiest version of orange juice in the grocery store. Skip versions with added sugars and artificial flavourings and conservatives. The healthiest version is to squeeze the oranges you have and make juice yourself. But if you have oranges there is no reason to do so many wasteful actions to extract the juice and lose health benefits and nutrients. Just eat oranges and do better for yourself.

Let’s summarise

In the end, orange juice is not as harmless as you might think at first glance. More often than not, the producers inject their product with sugar for better preservation, without much need to worry about you and your children. Excessive consumption and neglect of juice quality leads to high blood sugar, weight gain, inflammation and even type 2 diabetes. Choose more simple and much healthy alternative – eat whole oranges.

Hungry for knowledge? Here is more

The popular Doctor Eric Berg shares some interesting information about orange juice and why it is not healthy! Dr. Berg is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘The Healthy Keto Plan’ and is the director of Dr. Berg Nutritionals. Let’s watch!

Healthypedia FAQ

100% orange juice contains no added sugars. Instead, the sweetness of 100% orange juice is provided by the naturally occurring sugars (sucrose 40%, glucose 30%, and fructose 30% ) that form in the orange as it grows on the tree.

Water, lemon or lime water, coconut water, herbal tea and berries smoothie

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