Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Orange Juice?

Orange juice is enjoyed throughout the world. In fact, surveys reveal that it is the world’s most popular fruit juice. Manufacturers produce around 1.6 billion metric tons of this beverage each year. In addition to buying orange juice in many varieties at grocery stores, you can also squeeze your own orange juice by hand or with an electric juicer. 

One popular form of orange juice available in stores is frozen orange juice concentrate. To drink this form of orange juice, you need to mix cold water with the concentrate. This method became widespread during World War II when the United States Dairy Association (USDA) partnered with food scientist Richard Stetson Mores to create a reliable frozen orange juice concentrate process.

Orange juice contains many beneficial nutrients — most notably Vitamin C — but you should consider the amount of sugar in each serving. You may want to limit your intake or choose a 100 percent fruit juice version that doesn’t contain added sugar. 

Nutrition Information

One cup of fresh orange juice contains: 

  • Calories: 112
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 26 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 21 grams

Orange juice is a good source of: 

Orange juice with pulp is a good source of fiber. Studies have shown that fiber helps the body maintain digestive health and may lower your risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

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Potential Health Benefits of Orange Juice

Orange juice is nutritious, but it’s important to limit your consumption because of its high sugar content. 

Research has found that drinking orange juice in moderation can have many potential health benefits:

Immune System Support

Orange juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C — one cup contains twice the daily recommended value. Vitamin C supports your immune system and may be effective in fighting against the common cold. 

Birth Defect Risk Reduction

The folate in orange juice supports healthy fetal development. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that pregnant women take in at least 400 mcg of folate or folic acid each day to prevent neural tube defects. 

Reduced Risk of Kidney Stones

Orange juice contains a high level of potassium citrate. This nutrient binds to the calcium in urine, creating an environment where kidney stones are less likely to develop. 

Potential Risks of Orange Juice Consumption

Orange juice is an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals. However, like all juices, orange juice contains a significant amount of sugar, which can increase blood sugar levels. Increased blood sugar can be dangerous for people who experience hypoglycemic symptoms like dizziness when consuming sugar too quickly.

Weight Control

The high concentration of sugar in orange juice, especially in orange juice that contains added sugar, makes it a high calorie beverage. For people following a restricted calorie intake to lose weight, low calorie, dense foods are more effective.

Healthier Alternatives

Look for orange juice that does not contain added sugar. Also consider high-pulp orange juice, which contains more healthy fiber. You can even find orange juice that has been fortified with extra calcium, as well as vitamin D, which does not naturally occur in orange juice.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 25, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Fortification of orange juice with vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 is as effective as an oral supplement in maintaining vitamin D status in adults.”

CDC: “Folic Acid Helps Prevent Some Birth Defects.”

Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: “Soda and Other Beverages and the Risk of Kidney Stones.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Orange Juice.”

Harvard Health Publishing: “Can Vitamin C Prevent a Cold?”

Mayo Clinic: “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.”
Statista: “Orange juice production volume worldwide from 2014/2015 to 2019/2020 (in million metric tons).”

Time: “The Surprisingly Link Between World War II and Frozen Orange Juice.”

University of Michigan, University Health Service: “Weight Reduction.”

West Texas A&M: “Is fruit juice healthier than whole fruit?”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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