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Is Orange Juice Bad For You? 4 Possible Side Effects

Orange juice is one of the most commonly consumed beverage for kids and adults alike. While fruit juice has been long considered an easy way to get your daily 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, recent research suggests that you are better off having the whole fruit than the juice. Not only does the fruit juice have a lot of sugar, it also lacks fiber, which could help slow down the release of the sugar and prevent blood sugar spikes. Drinking commercially produced orange juice compounds the problem. The juice from the concentrate may contain some of the vitamins and minerals found in the whole fruit, depending on the level of processing. But juices bearing the label “100% juice, not from concentrate” may not contain as much because they undergo pasteurization which removes the heat-sensitive vitamins and antioxidants. Moreover, in the early stages of processing, the fresh juice is deaerated or deoxygenated to preserve it longer. Since this process removes flavor, flavor enhancers are added alongside high-fructose sugars. But even if you have freshly squeezed orange juice, which has several health benefits, there are side effects.

1. Increases Blood Glucose Levels

Commercial orange juice has a high fructose load, which is linked to insulin resistance and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. But 8 oz of unsweetened, freshly squeezed orange juice also has 20.83 g sugar.1 Considering the WHO suggests capping the added sugar intake – that is from sweeteners, fruit juice, or honey – at 25 g a day for females and at 38 g for males, this amount is quite high even if you are not diabetic.2 And while a whole orange has a glycemic load of 5, the juice has 12 since juicing removes the fruit fiber. It is this fiber that slows down the release of sugar and the subsequent rise of blood glucose levels. Orange juice also has other carbs. So if you are watching your carb intake whether to lose weight or manage diabetes, reserve orange juice for rare occasions and start eating the whole fruit.

2. Leads To Weight Gain

As the fiber content is orange juice is negligible, it cannot keep you full for a longer time. Moreover, as researchers have suggested, fructose, a kind of sugar found in fruits, prompts the brain into overeating.3 On top of that, overconsumption of orange juice leads to a sudden rise and fall of sugar levels. When the levels are too low, you end up feeling hungry and eat more food, especially carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain and metabolic syndrome.

3. Causes Dental Problems

Teeth are the strongest organs of the body and protected by enamel. Enamel, however, is sensitive to acids. Acids react with the calcium in enamel, deteriorating it. Teeth also get affected by the bacterial action, where bacteria feast on the sugars and convert them into acids. Orange juice being high in both acids and sugar results in cavities and other dental problems.

4. May Lead To Iron Toxicity In Some

Oranges are a rich source of vitamin C, with one 8 oz glass of the juice providing 124 mg. Vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from plant sources of iron. This can be harmful for people with hemochromatosis, a condition where the body ends up storing too much iron, leading to iron overload and affecting several organs including the kidneys, liver, pancreas, and brain. This is why patients of hemochromatosis are not advised to have orange juice or any other citrus fruit juices.

References   [ + ]

1. Orange juice, raw. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.
2. The growing concern over too much added sugar in our diets. University of California San Francisco.
3. Study suggests effect of fructose on brain may promote overeating. YaleNews.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.