The focus on healthier ageing now means that more people are interested in eating the right type of diet.
Oranges are an important source of nutrients and plant compounds in the diet. This is irrespective of whether they are eaten as whole fruit or drunk as juice.
Many people have misconceptions about the nutritional value of fruit juices and the impact of processing on the nutrient content. Here we look at three facts about packaged orange juices and the nutrition they provide.
FACT 1: Orange juice is pure
It is legally prohibited to add sugars and additives which is why 100% orange juice doesn’t contain any preservatives, colourings, flavourings, sweeteners or other compounds that are not naturally present in whole oranges.
FACT 2: Orange juice contains essential nutrients
A typical glass (150 ml) of 100% orange juice provides, on average, 68 mg of Vitamin C. This is more than 80% of a typical person’s daily needs.
Vitamin C is necessary for the normal functioning of our immune system and contributes to the protection of our cells from oxidative stress (substances which perform this function are called antioxidants). Vitamin C also contributes to reducing tiredness and fatigue!
In addition, the same serving provides 16% of the recommended intake for folate, a nutrient that contributes to normal immune function and psychological function, and 13% of the recommended intake for potassium, a mineral that supports the maintenance of normal blood pressure and normal muscle function.
Like many other fruits, oranges also contain plant compounds, called polyphenols. The specific types found in oranges and their juices are hesperidin, naringin and narirutin.
FACT 3: Packaged orange juice maintains its nutritional benefits
Whether you drink orange juice squeezed at home or buy it from the store, it will contain similar amounts of vitamins, minerals and plant bioactives. Even processed orange juice counts as a minimally processed food as it’s simply put through a brief pasteurisation or high pressure process to remove any microorganisms that might spoil the product.
Many people wrongly believe that the vitamins in fruit juice are destroyed by pasteurisation or storage. This is untrue. The biggest issue for vitamin C is oxygen which is why fruit juice producers apply measures to carefully limit oxygen exposure while the fruit is being squeezed to minimise the loss of vitamin C before the juice is bottled.
Experts agree that children can benefit from eating more fruit and vegetables as they provide vitamins, minerals and fibre. They’re also a healthier alternative to sweet or savoury snacks. While fruit juice was valued in the past for its vitamin C content, the spotlight on sugar has made many parents feel unsure about whether to give it to their children. Here, we look at the facts.
Nutrients for the body
100% fruit juice, such as orange juice, contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folate and potassium.
- Vitamin C contributes to normal immune function, increases iron absorption and supports collagen formation which is important for normal bones, skin and teeth;
- Folate contributes to normal immune function and blood formation;
- Potassium contributes to normal muscle function and to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
Children and adults who consumed 100% orange juice had a higher intake of essential nutrients and bioactive flavonoids, lower intake of added sugar, and better overall diet quality.
BARTOW, Florida, June 24, 2020 / PRNewswire / – A new population-based study1 published at Frontiers in Nutrition reports that the consumption of 100% orange juice was associated with several dietary and health benefits for children and adults. Orange juice consumers had higher-quality diets, higher intakes of key nutrients, including bioactive flavonoids, and lower intake of added sugars. There were no negative effects on body weight.
Dietary data for almost 16,000 children and adults (> 2 years of age) came from the nationally representative 2013-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Washington and Albert Einstein College of Medicine and funded by the Florida Department of Citrus.
Orange juice consumers had diets with significantly higher amounts of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D (adults) when compared to non-consumers. No difference in dietary fiber intake was observed, suggesting that 100% orange juice did not displace any fiber from the diet. Notably, orange juice consumers had diets with significantly less added sugars when compared to non-consumers.
Focusing on the intakes of bioactive compounds from plants, the study found that orange juice consumers had significantly higher intakes of flavonoids and total flavonoids (children) as compared to non-consumers. The flavanone, hesperidin, is provided in the diet almost exclusively by oranges and orange juice. Hesperidin may have antioxidant properties and help promote cardiovascular and brain health2,3,4. For children, 100% orange juice may be especially important as a key source of healthful bioactives since their diets do not typically include fermented black tea, the primary source of flavonoids in the American diet.
Orange juice provides key nutrients, contributes to total fruit intake, and may also serve as a marker of a healthier diet overall. For both children and adults, 100% orange juice consumers had higher-quality diets, measured using the USDA Healthy Eating Index 2015, which also tracks the consumption of grains, fruit, and vegetables, and the Nutrient Rich Food Index.
It is important to highlight that there were no differences in BMI z-scores or waist circumference between children who consumed 100% orange juice and those who did not. For adults, orange juice consumers had significantly lower BMI and waist circumference. These results are consistent with the preponderance of research showing no negative effects of 100% fruit juice or orange juice consumption on body weight. 5,6,7
“National data support the inclusion of 100% orange juice as part of an overall healthy diet for both children and adults. We show that orange juice consumption was associated with better diets, less added sugar, and did not affect body weight,” said Dr. Adam Drewnowski, Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Washington and principal investigator on this study.
Just one in ten Americans meet their daily fruit intake as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines, missing out on important nutrients8,9. A glass of 100% orange juice can help close that gap in a convenient, quick, and satisfying way without contributing to overweight or obesity when consumed as part of a healthy and calorie-appropriate diet. This study is cross-sectional in nature and, therefore, can only show associations and not cause and effect.
About the Florida Department of Citrus
The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of the Florida government responsible for the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs more than 37,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.
A new, four-year longitudinal study with 7,000 children and adolescents reports that 100% orange juice is positively associated with increased height but not with increased body weight, BMI, or BMI percentile.
BARTOW, Florida, October 15, 2020 / PRNewswire / – A growing body of nutrition research suggests that children and adolescents can benefit from regularly drinking 100% orange juice without concerns about weight gain. A new, four-year longitudinal study published in Public Health Nutrition found that drinking 100% orange juice is not associated with negative effects on body weight, BMI, or BMI percentile among 9 to 16-year-olds, and higher orange juice consumption is associated with increased height for girls and increased trends for physical activity levels in both boys and girls.
Based on the analysis by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Harvard Medical School, the lack of a connection between orange juice consumption and increased body weight held true whether kids consumed just one glass of orange a month or one glass of orange juice per day. The average consumption of 100% orange juice among study participants was 2.6 6-oz. glasses per week for boys and 2.2 6 oz. glasses per week for girls. This level of consumption is well within the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests limits for 100% fruit juice consumption of 8 oz. daily for children over seven.
“The question of whether fruit juice intake causes poor health outcomes, such as weight gain in children, has been a subject of controversy for years,” said Dr. Ock Chun, Professor in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut and principal investigator of the study. “I hope our findings reassure parents and health educators that regularly enjoying a glass of 100% orange juice can provide kids with beneficial nutrients without increasing the risk of becoming overweight or obese. In fact, consuming 100% orange juice regularly could help address shortfalls in the diet and bolster intake of key nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin, as well as calcium and vitamin D found in fortified orange juice.”
This longitudinal study, funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, adds to the growing body of scientific research supporting the role of 100% orange juice in children’s diets.
- A data analysis of more than 7,000 kids, ages 2 to 18, found that consumption of 100% orange juice is associated with better diet quality, improved nutrient adequacy, and no increased risk for overweight or obesity in children. 2
- Another data analysis of nearly 14,000 Americans, ages 4 and older, concluded that people who drink 100% orange juice have lower BMI and healthier lifestyle behaviors than people who don’t drink orange juice. 3
- A cross-sectional analysis of more than 26,000 children and adolescents concluded that 100% orange juice consumption was not negatively associated with BMI in either boys or girls, but was positively associated with height, height-for-age, intake of fruit and non-starchy vegetables and physical activity levels. 4
- A trend analysis for children reported that despite higher energy intakes, there was no significant difference in physical activity levels, percent overweight or obesity, or BMI z-score when comparing kids who consume 100% orange juice vs those who don’t. 5
- A comprehensive review performed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for their Evidence Analysis Library examined the association between 100% fruit juice intake and weight in children and concluded that the evidence does not support an association between 100% fruit juice consumption and weight status or adiposity in children with ages between 2 to 18. 6
Every glass of 100% orange juice supports overall health and can help adults and children meet intake recommendations for key nutrients they may be lacking in their diets. An 8-oz. serving size contains vital vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, hesperidin and more, with no sugar added. From helping improve diet quality to supporting a healthy immune system, 100% orange juice offers several health benefits and can also easily be incorporated into simple, great-tasting recipes.
The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government responsible for the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs more than 37,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, please visit FloridaCitrus.org.
New research shows that hesperidin – a compound found in oranges – may ward off the coronavirus infection. Do the latest findings suggest that drinking a glass of orange juice can help ward off the threat?
A new research has identified a novel treatment and preventative measure against COVID-19 – the viral disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. According to the research, published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, hesperidin – a compound in orange peels – can block coronavirus from entering host cells through ACE2 receptors which can prevent the infection. “Anti-viral activity of hesperidin might constitute a treatment option for COVID-19 through improving host cellular immunity against infection and its good anti-inflammatory activity may help in controlling cytokine storm,” writes the researchers.
A cytokine storm is an overreaction of the body’s immune system.
“In some people with COVID-19, the immune system releases immune messengers, called cytokines, into the bloodstream out of proportion to the threat or long after the virus is no longer a threat,” explains Harvard Health.
When this happens, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, potentially causing significant harm.
“A cytokine storm triggers an exaggerated inflammatory response that may damage the liver, blood vessels, kidneys, and lungs, and increase formation of blood clots throughout the body,” the university site continues.