Equating 100 percent orange juice with sugar-sweetened beverages that contain added sugars and provide few, if any, nutrients is misleading and creates confusion among people trying to make more healthful choices for themselves and their families.
One hundred percent orange juice has no added sugar; it contains only natural sugars present in the juice when squeezed from the orange. In addition, emerging research suggests that the consumption of 100 percent orange juice with its intrinsic sugars does not result in detrimental health effects sometimes associated with the intakes of excess or nutritionally unbalanced added sugars, such as body weight or composition changes, insulin resistance or development of characteristics of metabolic syndrome.
The reality is that few Americans consume the recommended amounts of fruit each day, and leading health organizations agree consuming 100 percent orange juice supplies a substantial amount of nutrients and can help Americans meet those daily fruit recommendations as a complement to whole fruit. One-hundred-percent fruit juice is recognized by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the USDA MyPlate as a nutrient-rich beverage that can contribute to fruit intake and be part of a healthful diet. In fact, research suggests adults and children who consume 100 percent orange juice tend to have better overall diet quality and nutrient adequacy as compared to those who don’t consume orange juice. As with all foods and beverages that provide calories, 100 percent fruit juices should be consumed in appropriate amounts that fit with an individual’s overall diet and lifestyle.
At a time when most people are struggling to eat a healthy diet, it is more important than ever to know how to choose foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients, such as 100 percent orange juice.
Gail C. Rampersaud
Associate in Nutrition Research and Education
University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences