Vitamin villains: These orange juice brands are no sweet deal for your health

Vitamin villains: These orange juice brands are no sweet deal for your health

While orange juice has some vitamins, it also contains a lot of sugar — in fact, 300 ml orange juice contains roughly the same sugar content as a can of Coke, Sprite or a bag of M&Ms.

This, according to Business Insider, means that orange juice can actually do more harm than good since the juice is high in sugar fructose, which some evidence suggests could actually suppress your immune system.

Orange juice high in sugar fructose

The publication reports that juicing fruit ultimately removes most of the fibre, which is the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full until your next meal.

According to a report from Forbes, when we eat whole fruit, say an apple, the fibre slows the absorption of the apple’s sugar into our bloodstream. The slower digestion process ensures that our pancreas doesn’t have to work overtime, pumping out insulin to deal with a rush of sugar. 

This is one of the reasons calories from sweetened beverages are often referred to as “empty calories,” since they can increase hunger pangs and mood swings and leave you with low energy levels.

SA orange juices loaded with sugar

Meanwhile, Business Insider South Africa found that most orange juices in South Africa are loaded with sugar – the most sugar-rich orange juice that they identified contains as much sugar as drinks like Coke and Pepsi. It is this high sugar content that has repercussions when thinking you are drinking something ‘healthy’.

More harm than good

Many people believe that drinking juice is a good way to give the body vitamin C.

In the United States, for example, people seem to have resumed drinking orange juice in the hope that it will help them fight off illness. Sales of the drink rose 0.9% in the four weeks ending on 20 January, according to The Wall Street Journal — the first time in almost five years that Nielsen data showed a year-over-year increase.

Laboratory Talk actually did an analysis of vitamin C in orange juice and found that pasteurised, ready to serve orange juices were found to contain typically 25% less vitamin C per serving than frozen concentrates, caused in part by heat destroying the vitamin C.

The majority of food manufacturers therefore, add considerably more vitamin C than the labelled value to compensate for the losses that occur due to degradation.

But when Business Insider did a comparative study, they found that all orange juices in South Africa have significantly less than the 48mg of vitamin C per 100ml present in a freshly squeezed orange. And three have more sugar in them than they do vitamin C. At least two orange juices had no vitamin C in them – despite both being called “100%” orange juice.

Comparison of orange juice vitamin C and sugar con
Image: Business Insider South Africa

Source: thesouthafrican.com

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