Orange Juice: Nutrition Facts, Benefits and More

orange juice

Orange juice has been a breakfast staple for a long time, and it is the most famous fruit juice in the world. The ads and phrases for this drink on TV make it seem like it is naturally healthy and good for you.

Still, some scientists and health professionals think this sweet drink might be harmful for you. It talks about orange juice and whether it’s good or harmful for you.

From the Orchard to Your Glass

Store-bought orange juice typically involves more than just squeezing fresh oranges and transferring the juice into bottles or cartons.

Instead, they follow a rigorous, multi-step process and store the juice in large tanks for up to a year before packaging.

First, a machine washes and squeezes the orange. The machine removes the oils and pulp. The juice is heat-pasteurised to inactivate enzymes and kill microbes that could otherwise cause deterioration and spoilage.

Next, we remove some of the oxygen. This prevents oxygen from damaging vitamin C during storage. We evaporate the juice to store it as a frozen concentrate, removing most of the water.

Regrettably, these methods also eliminate the compounds responsible for imparting scent and taste. Later, carefully blended flavour packs add some of these compounds back to the juice.

Finally, before packaging, we may mix juice from oranges picked at different times to minimize quality differences. Some juices contain pulp that undergoes additional processing after extraction.

Orange Juice vs Whole Oranges

Whole oranges and orange juice both have some of the same nutrients, but there are some important differences.

One important difference is that orange juice has a lot less fibre than a whole orange. It also has about twice as many calories and carbohydrates, most of which are fruit sugar.

The following table shows how healthy one cup (240 ml) of orange juice is compared to a medium orange (131 grammes). Both of these foods are considered one serving of fruit. 

Orange juiceFresh orange
Fat0 grams0 grams
Carbs25.5 grams15 grams
Fiber0.5 grams3 grams
Protein2 grams1 gram
Vitamin A4% of the RDI6% of the RDI
Vitamin C137% of the RDI116% of the RDI
Thiamine18% of the RDI8% of the RDI
Vitamin B67% of the RDI4% of the RDI
Folate11% of the RDI10% of the RDI
Calcium2% of the RDI5% of the RDI
Magnesium7% of the RDI3% of the RDI
Potassium14% of the RDI7% of the RDI

You can see that whole oranges and orange juice have similar nutrients. It is beneficial for you to eat both because they have a lot of vitamin C and folate, which helps lower the risk of some birth problems during pregnancy.

But if some of these nutrients didn’t disappear during production and storage, juice would contain even more of them. One study found that store-bought orange juice had 15% less vitamin C and 27% less folate than orange juice made at home.

Oranges and their juice, although not mentioned on the packaging, are rich in flavonoids and other beneficial plant chemicals. Making and storing orange juice results in the loss of some of these nutrients.

Even worse, one study found that pasteurized orange juice had 26% less antioxidant activity immediately after heating and 67% less antioxidant activity after storing for about a month.

Are some types better for you?

The best orange juice is squeezed at home, but it takes time. Because of this, a lot of people choose to buy orange juice at the store.

Fruit-flavoured drinks with little to no real juice and lots of added sugars and colours, like high-fructose corn syrup and yellow food colouring, are the least healthy choice.

Whether made from frozen orange juice extract or never frozen, 100% orange juice is healthier for you. The nutritional worth and taste of these two choices are about the same.

Orange juice with extra calcium, vitamin D, and other good things for you is also sold in stores. Drinking it for these nutrients is unhealthy because it’s high in calories. Instead, taking a supplement pill is a healthy way to make up for lost food without adding calories.

You can buy orange juice drinks that claim to have 50% fewer calories and sugar than regular orange juice if you’re watching how many calories you eat.

However, these drinks contain extra water and sugar alternatives that you may not want, such as stevia and sucralose. If added, the contents list will include these.

Last, you can pick how much pulp you want in your orange juice. Extra pulp doesn’t add enough fibre to change the nutrition label number compared to juice without pulp, but it does add flavonoids and other beneficial plant chemicals.

Possible Benefits

Approximately 80% of Americans do not consume the recommended amount of fruit each day, which is two cups for the average adult. Orange juice is a tasty and convenient option to help you get your daily fruit intake because it’s always available and of constant quality.

It’s also usually less expensive than whole oranges. As a result, it can help people on a tight budget fulfill their daily fruit requirements.

However, health experts advise consuming whole fruit whenever possible rather than juice, and they point out that fruit juice should not account for more than half of your daily fruit intake, or one cup (240 ml) for the average adult.

Numerous investigations on the heart-healthy effects of orange juice have revealed that it may help boost antioxidant levels and guard against free radical damage to cholesterol, which increases the risk of atherosclerosis.

Nevertheless, organizations or businesses that want to sell more orange juice and/or mandate that people consume larger quantities of orange juice—two cups or more per day, for example—usually fund these studies.


Orange juice is healthy, but its calories and blood sugar effects are issues.

A lot of calories

Fruit juice is quick to drink and doesn’t fill you up as much as whole fruits. This makes you more likely to eat too much and gain weight.

Research has also shown that drinking calorie-dense drinks like orange juice doesn’t always make you eat less. Therefore, you may eat more calories than you would have without the juice.

Over the course of four years, people who drank one cup (240 ml) of 100% fruit juice every day gained 0.55 to 0.75 pounds (0.2 to 0.3 kg) on average.

Researchers also discovered that adults and teens who drank two cups (500 ml) of orange juice with breakfast burned 30% less fat after meals than those who drank water. This could be due to the fact that the sugary juice makes the liver fatter.

Most kids consume a lot of juice and juice drinks, so the effects of orange juice on them may be the most harmful.

Kids may eat too many calories and get cavities from drinking orange juice and other sugary drinks. Diluting orange juice doesn’t always lower the risk of cavities, but it can help you eat fewer calories.

Potential to elevate your blood sugar levels.

Having orange juice instead of whole oranges could also make your blood sugar rise more.

Whole oranges have a glycemic load of 3–6, and orange juice has a glycemic load of 10–15. The glycemic load shows how the type and amount of carbs in a food affect blood sugar levels.

A food is more likely to make your blood sugar go up if it has a high glycemic load.

Researchers have looked into what happens when orange pomace is added to orange juice to help fix some of these problems. Orange pomace is the fiber- and flavonoid-rich leftovers from the segments, broken pulp, and core.

Adding pomace to orange juice may help lower its effect on blood sugar and make people feel fuller, according to early tests on humans.

However, more research is required, and pomace-enriched orange juice is not yet available for purchase.

The Bottom Line

Orange juice has about the same amount of calories and sugar as a whole orange, but it has a lot less fibre.

It may seem like an easy way to get all the food you need, but it can increase your blood sugar and even make you gain weight.

Eight ounces (240 ml) is the most you should drink in a day. When possible, choose whole oranges over juice.

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