Is orange juice good for you?

  • orange juice triggers the fat storage cycle
  • Cristiano Ronaldo off-the-pitch hero of Euro 2020
  • my “orange juice” routine

Is orange juice good for you?

NO.

(Don’t you hate when you have to read 3 paragraphs before you get your answer?)

Orange juice isn’t good for you because all the UNNATURAL modifications made to oranges make your body react unnaturally.Orange juice isn't good for you

Even freshly squeezed orange juice confuses your body.

Let me explain.

…And tell you what I LOVE to do instead of starting my day with a glass of OJ.

Is orange juice good for you? NO… Reason #1

Oranges are stripped of most of their fiber in the process of becoming orange juice.

And fiber is KEY to unlocking your HAPPY weight.

Why?

Fiber fills you up naturally, so you don’t eat more than you need.

Think about that last bit:

“…so you don’t eat more than you need.”

In other words:

When you mess around with what Mother Nature creates, it’s easy – so easy – to eat MORE than you need… whether you take something away, like fiber. Or add something like salt.

Like, you’re going to eat more salted peanuts than raw peanuts that come straight outta the shell.

Which is why I always say:

Eat food as close to its natural state as you can

Especially when we’re talking about something that arrives in it’s own compostable packaging and tastes perfectly delicious, just as it is.

Like an orange.

Like an orange

Or a peanut.

Orange juice and other factory foods make you eat more than you need

I mean, even the Cajun Nuts website states:

Perfectly roasted peanuts encased in a crunchy shell then coated with the perfect amount of spicy Cajun seasoning. One bite will have your taste buds begging for more.

This warning (?!) is a lot like the potato chip Pringles advert:

“Once you pop, you can’t stop.”

It’s taken me a long time to learn this but…

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

Whether it’s a person, peanut or potato chip.

And don’t worry…

You can get used to eating an orange as easily as you get used to drinking orange juice

Just like the type of peanuts you prefer simply comes down to the type of peanuts you get used to eating.

So I say poo-poo processed food like:

salted peanuts
dry roasted peanuts
Cajun peanuts
& French burnt peanuts

as often as you can.

And get used to natural food, like raw peanuts instead!

Your body will thank you.

Natural food works with your body the best

Please note:
It’s no big deal to eat salted peanuts or candied peanuts. Especially if you treat candied peanuts as… candy. A treat! KNOWLEDGE is POWER. That’s why I like to tell you the stuff I wish I knew when I was working so hard to lose weight but gaining it instead. Understanding how our bodies work and what healthy eating actually looks like (it’s not rice cakes and diet coke!) helped me lose 30 pounds without dieting 22 years ago. And trust me, if I can make food a non-issue when my eating was unbelievably disordered, you can too! xo

I’m not into orange juice at all

But I used to drink OJ all the time… before I knew all the stuff I’m about to tell you.

And you’ll LOVE eating food that ISN’T processed too, when you fully understand why natural food unlocks your H 🙂 PPY weight.

So ya. Let’s get back to the PURE magic of fiber and how it helps you eat what your body actually needs.

Orange juice lacks the fiber that fills you up naturally

Here’s a sub-par picture I sketched of an orange:

When oranges are processed to make juice, the fiber is removed and additives are put in

The 3 commonly eaten fibrous parts of an orange are the:

  • pulp
  • pith
  • & segment wall

And hey, if you like eating the seeds and the rind… you do you.

A little orange zest adds a lot of zing to salad dressings and baked goods, right?

The problem is that when you:

buy orange juice, like Tropicana
make orange juice from frozen concentrate
or squeeze your own OJ, freshly…

the only fiber you get is the pulp.

That is, of course, unless you’re drinking the “no pulp” kinda orange juice

Duh!

That is, of course, unless you're drinking the "no pulp" kind

(I’ve never actually  said “Duh!” in real life—not even back in the ’80’s, when people were wearing florescent tube socks, jelly shoes, shoulder pads, side pony tails, too much blush and feathered bangs held firmly in place with hair spray… and saying “Duh!” was cool.)

The thing is, the pulp, pith and segment walls of an orange take up space in your stomach, which fills you up naturally.

And extracting the energy and nutrients from fibrous food, like a whole orange, takes TIME, baby.

That’s a lot of work for your body to do!

But it also means that the energy and nutrients are absorbed into your blood stream slowly.

Which means you stay full loooooooooooooger.

The result?

Say it with me:

You don’t eat more than you need!

That’s right.

An orange eaten exactly as nature intended fills you up naturally and keeps you full longer.

Here’s a cute orange I cut open this morning to show you what I was trying to draw:

orange cut in half

Oranges are bursting with fresh juice and are full of fiber that’s satisfying to chew. Yum!

Plus the pith (part between the skin and the fruit) actually has as much Vitamin C as the fruit itself.

Why your body LOVES fiber

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, is a plant-based nutrient. While fiber is a carbohydrate it cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules, like other carbs. Thus: fiber stays relatively intact as it passes through your intestinal tract.

(That *might* sound like lyrics in a rap song… Drake. This is GOLD. Get on it.)

But fiber is no slouch! It does a TON of magic as it works through your body. For instance, fiber binds to cholesterol particles inside your small intestine to prevent the cholesterol from entering your bloodstream. Then when fiber exits your body, cholesterol comes along for the ride.

Along with lowering your cholesterol levels, fiber:

  • reduces constipation (a bulky stool is easier to pass, yo!)
  • flushes carcinogens out of your body
  • keeps your digestive track clean and healthy (fiber rakes your colon)
  • lessens the risk of heart ❤️ disease
  • helps prevent diabetes
  • is a big part of the kind of meals that unlock your HAPPY weight

When I was a kid at camp, my friend Linda told me that eating fiber was like pulling a rope through your body. Thirty-odd years later and that image is still stuck in my head. The power of a great visual analogy.

Fiber is fascinating. Now let’s turn our attention to the ugly truth about orange juice. Ready?

Fiber face-off: an orange V orange juice

Fiber has no calories, it just adds bulk to your food.

Which is why after eating one orange you’re probably like:

“Yah, I’m good.”

And don’t reach for another orange.

But look at the tiny amount of orange juice a single orange yields:

But look how much orange juice one orange makes

Alex’s parents got that little red juicer back in the ’70’s.

They gave it to us (I don’t remember when) and we use it all the time to squeeze lemons.

But look at all the fiber that’s left after squeezing an orange:

All the fiber that's left

I peeled the segment walls and pith out of the orange peel (not easy) and dumped the pulp, that was caught in the red juicer, onto the brown pottery plate.

(Isn’t it fun how techie we can talk, now that we’re all versed on the fiber found in an orange? If people overheard us in the school yard they’d think we were in our own secret club… Well, these terms were new to me anyways! Until I wrote this post.)

So all that remains of an orange that’s been juiced is… a whole bunch of good stuff!

I’m pretty sure every time you squeeze an orange, an angel loses her wings.

Why orange juice makes you consume more than you need

The truth is, because a glass of orange juice has had most of its fiber removed, either by you and your juicer, or in a factory, it actually takes between 3 and 5 oranges just to make one skimpy glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

is orange juice good for you -5 oranges

And so often a glass of orange juice goes down so well, people will raise their glass for seconds when the jug of OJ is offered ’round the table again.

(If you’re eating with people who observe formal niceties, like serving others before themselves.)

However… how often do you plop yourself down on a chair, peel one orange after the other and eat between 6 and 10 oranges in one sitting?

is orange juice good for you - 10 oranges

Full disclosure:
Before my eating was disordered I’d chain eat a few oranges at a time. What’s more refreshing than fruit? And oranges are a fabulous way to get energy after a long run—which I did often. (When I trained hard, the races were a little less stressful.) But even I couldn’t manage to eat enough oranges to make one decent glass of orange juice.

Bottom line?

Orange juice makes it harder to unlock your HAPPY weight

Fiber fills you up naturally

Check out her jean cut-off cowboy boots (pic above). Ah-mazing!

I’m an Anti-Juicer

A few years ago we found a beautiful Breville Juicer in it’s original box behind a condo building on a dog walk. Alex did his customary q-tip cleaning to make sure it was cleaner than clean; litt-o-bit-o-bleach and a lot of elbow grease. (…Ummm, Drake. Seriously. Call me.) And when Alex made some green juice there was so much gorgeous fiber left – like the skin and seeds of a full cucumber, all the stringy stalks of celery, etc. ETC. that I ended up eating the pile of fiber, with a fork, because I could not put all that good stuff in that trash that our bodies LOVE and that Mother Nature rolled up her 1000-thread-count-100%-Egyptian-cotton puffed sleeves to make. Then we boxed the juicer back up and donated it to the Salvation Army.

Is orange juice good for you? NO… Reason #2

One serving of orange juice has DOUBLE the concentration of sugar than the sugar found in one orange.

One orange has 12 grams of natural sugar found in it’s natural state (the sugar is embedded in fresh, natural fiber).

So as I said earlier, your body has to work to release that sugar in order to use it as energy. And releasing the sugar takes time.
12 grams of sugar

Whereas one serving (250 mL) of orange juice has 23 grams of sugar—that’s not packed in fiber.

So that sugar hits your blood stream like a bat out of hell and your blood sugar spikes.

Please note:
This variety of orange juice (Tropicana), found at my local pharmacy (!) has NO added sugar… and still it has 23 grams of sugar.

is orange juice good for you? - no

Oh, and look at the label above again.

Fiber?

Zero.

I took tons of pictures. This must be a label on a “pulp-free” bottle of orange juice.

Pulp-free Orange Juice!

They even try to make it sound like a good thing.

Similar to the Condo they put up beside us that’s advertised as “Oven-free!” People rarely throw an easy meal together any more. Most of my walk with Rocky is dodging delivery bikes. I’m not joking. And when Rocky and I go out on a Saturday morning I see at least 3 people within a 5 minute walk from my home get McDonald’s dropped off at their door by a young kid wearing a big, square insulated backpack. There’s a McDonald’s 2 blocks from our homes!! I guess cooking is out of the question when walking is like, such a nuisance…

Aren’t dog walkers nosy and gossipy just a wealth of information?

But, you know.

One must wonder what my neighbors think of me…

It wasn't easy slipping out the front door of our home unnoticed in that orange jump suit

Rocky and his polka-dot tootsies certainly have better things to do than observe the behavioral patterns of urban-dwellers. He’s 15 + 3 months old and in this photo he’s shaking off a kiss… something else he doesn’t have time for.

Rocky don't think much of me either

But in all honestly, choosing to put a baked potato with full-fat sour cream, a couple of carrot sticks and a salmon steak on a plate… is good for your body and also your wallet.

Just fry the salmon, chicken, tofu or whatever protein you fancy, in a little butter, olive oil, coconut oil or whichever natural fat you prefer.

The possibilities are endless!

And it’s a super-quick, all-natural balanced meal that meets ALL your nutrient needs… which makes you feel satisfied and BOOSTS your metabolism.

is orange juice good for you? - finger puppets

Your body LOVES natural food!

And if you have that 2nd glass of orange juice?

Which brings us to 500 mL in total… we’re looking at 46 grams of sugar.

Oh my!

Now we’re looking at MORE sugar than the amount found in a can of Coke (355 mL):

Coca-cola nutritional label

I’m not going to do the math to get the exact comparison of sugar in mL’s of orange juice to mL’s of Coke.

Why?

Because you’re smart.

You get what I’m on about. They both have too much fiber-free (!) sugar ready to be instantly absorbed.

And you know what happens next…

Orange juice, like Coke, triggers the Fat Storage Cycle

Remember the post I wrote before this one?

The one about the FABULOUS Ron Finley!

You’ll recall that when you eat sugar that’s NOT consumed in it’s natural state… like sugar that’s found in processed foods like orange juice (vs. natural sugar wrapped in the fiber found in an orange) the FAT STORAGE CYCLE is triggered:Stop Counting Calories - Sugar Rush

The sugar in processed food, like orange juice, has a simple digestive process

Once the sugar is quickly absorbed into your blood stream, the sugar rush overloads your system.

So your body quickly stores the sugar (as fat) in order to return your blood sugar to a healthy level such that your bod (!) can function properly.

Then you have a sugar crash that triggers hunger and cravings… which makes you want to eat more sugary food. And so continues the Fat Storage Cycle.

It's important to keep your blood sugar levels in your target range as much as possible to help prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. Staying in your target range can also help improve your energy and mood— Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Like I said:

When you eat things that are unnatural, your body reacts unnaturally.

Like craving sugary food for long periods of time!

The whole sugar rush and crash (Fat Storage Cycle) is super tough on your body 🙁

That’s why Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t want you to drink Coke!

If you’ve been following the Euro 2020 (held in 2021) there were two huge HERO moments at the start of the tournament.

And both happened off the pitch.

On Day 1 Denmark’s Christian Eriksen technically died during the game. But thanks to the team captain, Simon Kjaer, who rolled Eriksen onto his side, stabilized his head and then opened his mouth to prevent him from choking on his tongue, Eriksen could be revived.

(Time to refresh my CPR training.)

When medics arrived Simon Kjaer shifted gears and organized his teammates (many in tears) to link arms and circle around Eriksen to keep him shielded from the crowd and tv cameras.

Then Kjaer rushed to reassure Eriksen’s distraught partner Sabrina.

How much quick thinking can one person do during a crisis?

Hats off to the one and only Simon Kjaer!

The 2nd HERO moment was when Cristiano Ronaldo sat down at the end of the match for the press interview, removed the Coke bottles and replaced them with water.

Coke is a Euro 2020 sponsor!

Wow… it’s taken till 2021 (52-ish years since they put a man on the moon) and the belle of the ball, Ronaldo, to have the balls to point out that maybe, just maybe, a sporting event sponsorship isn’t that aligned with bloody Coke.

Already there’s spoofs!

People are so quick to turn these flash-in-the-bucket moments into a thing.

Stop drinking Coke… and orange juice

Yes, that moment went viral. And it’s sticking!

Yesterday while I was surveilling the neighborhood on foot walking Rocky, we came across two kids who were kicking a soccer ball on the wall at the back of their building in the full Ronaldo #7 kit and I asked:

“Did you see what he did with the Coke?”

And they fully acted it out!

Kjaer and Ronaldo are fantastic athletes. And I bet neither of them drink orange juice.

Why would they when they can eat an orange?

is orange juice good for you?

…What soccer players eat at half time. At least when I was a kid. (Every one had a designated week to bring wedged oranges.)

Fun fact:
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about Coke without mentioning Pepsi. Did you know PepsiCo owns Tropicana Orange Juice?

Is orange juice good for you? NO… Reason #3

Many orange juice brands are packed with preservatives and other additives your natural body doesn’t recognize.

Many even have added sugar.

Yes, it’s true!

Where do you live?

What variety of orange juice is available at your grocery store?

What orange juice brands are found at your grocery store?

When you check out the nutrition labels, they’re all slightly different.

Here’s some words you might see that you’ll want to familiarize yourself with… though if you don’t plan to drink orange juice, these words are not so important.

…Like, I don’t plan on playing Dungeons and Dragons any time soon, so I don’t need to know any of the DnD lingo.

What’s a “Tiefling”?

Who cares!

[A Tiefling is a humanoid of demonic lineage (depending on the game edition) usually with horns, sharp teeth, and orb eyes.]

However, understanding what words like pasteurizing means will really help you put a nail in the orange juice casket.

Quick glossary of orange juice terms:

for those who want to be in the know

FROM CONCENTRATE
First the juice is heated up via steam. Then most of the water is removed from the juice using evaporation and pressure. And the final step is flash cooling the juice extract. The result? The concentrated orange juice extract:

  • has a longer shelf life (so it can be consumed when it’s less fresh)
  • is lighter (so it’s more economical to ship)
  • & takes less space to stock in the grocery store

Clearly all these choices are made with your health in mind.

PASTEURIZED
During the process of concentrating the orange juice the juice is also pasteurized, which kills off any bad bacteria and also kills vital nutrients. Hooray! Nothing like pouring yourself a tall glass chock-full of degraded and de-stabilized nutrients. (Isn’t the whole point of drinking orange juice to get the ESSENTIAL vitamins and minerals?) This is what “pasteurized” means when it’s on a milk carton too.

For example, processed orange juice has up to 26% less antioxidant*. After being stored for a month, the orange juice then contains 67% less antioxidant. Some of the juice you buy has been stored up to a year.

*Antioxidants fight radicals within the body to prevent diseases like cancer.

BTW
That means: by the way (!)
Whether or not your juice is from concentrate or not from concentrate, it’s pasteurized. Unless you freshly squeeze it.

Other processed orange juice terms

…Well, there’s lots of other terms I could list but really, after learning what “from concentrate” means and what the process of “pasteurizing” does to the food you eat… do you need more convincing?

Remember… you stay hungry until you meet your body’s nutritional needs!

you stay hungry until you meet your body's nutritional needs!

So you want to eat nutrient-dense food as often as you can, and stay away from food full of empty calories, like orange juice.

Bottom line?

Is orange juice good for you? NO.

But an orange is!

here's the marvelous benefits you can expect

If you’re ready to let orange juice bow out of your life and make room for FRESH oranges, here’s the marvelous benefits you can expect:

The Vitamin C in an orange (including the pith!):

  • helps fight cancer-causing free radicals
  • makes it easier for your body to absorb iron (reduces fatigue, great for pre-menopausal women & those who follow a plant diet)
  • is needed for serotonin production (a hormone that stabilizes mood, a feeling of well-being and happiness & modulates sleep)
  • boosts your immune system
  • helps your body make collagen (heals wounds)
  • protects cell damage
  • lowers blood pressure & cortisol (stress hormone)

One orange provides 80% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C.

Just one orange!

Just one orange!

Oranges also:

supply other key nutrients
(like potassium & folate)
support gut health
(that’s the fiber!)
& are antioxidant superstars that provide anti-inflammatory benefits
(lower the risk of depression and help prevent weight gain)

What I do instead of waking up to orange juice

My morning routine is a bit of a dance.

It’s also boring!

But I swear I do about 50 super-quick jobs in just a few minutes… It looks like this:

scoop cat liter
turn on Alex’s computer
block Rocky from the stairs
put water in my empty 1.5 wine bottle (to drink throughout the day)
& water in the kettle (for a Breville latte), and in a pot (for steel cut oats) & Rocky’s bowl
brush teeth
give Gunther his cyclosporin (eye drops) + a treat (he has to chase)
put steel cut oats in boiling water & set timer
line up Rocky’s arthritis medications & Gunther’s other eye meds (he was caught in a house fire before we adopted him)
peel 2 oranges (one for Lx)
eat orange & 1 mg folic acid pill*
measure out Rocky, Gunther and Coco’s food for the day
feed Gunther (Gunther follows me around until this point)
around this time a very sleepy Coco appears and I put his food high on a stool so no one else eats it (b/c everyone else would)
put on Rocky’s brace and take him out to the park
& so on…

*The folic acid is to promote stronger hair & nails. It always comes in a container with 365 pills and I always wonder where I’ll be a year from when I start. (My start date is around Remembrance Day.)

I bet your morning routine is a bit of a whirl too!

But I love morning routines.

They keep the world on its axis 🙂

If I can’t do my routine… and in that exact order… well, I don’t want to even think about what could happen (!)

Everyone thrives with routine. Especially healthy eating and exercise routines!

There’s more than one way to skin an orange

Let’s remove all the obstacles between you and your daily orange.

If you don’t like peeling an orange, just cut it up into segments, slices, half moons or spearheads:

If you don't like peeling an orange, just cut it up into segments, slices or spearheads

In a last ditch effort to get you to eat oranges I un-hung our hanging basket and forced it into this picture to make the orange against the purples POP! Don’t they make these oranges look even more appealing?

I love oranges!!

And now that you’re armed with this information, I hope you’ll also reach for an orange (instead of wasting time with orange juice).

Make Today Count

make today count - the10principlesChoosing an orange over orange juice is a whole foods principle you can apply to any food choice.

Whether it’s apple juice, fish or french fries. Or steel cut oats (over rolled oats).

There’s always more natural alternatives to heavily processed foods! I LOVE this potato wedge recipe.

We eat it almost every Friday with fish. (I said I love routine!)

What’s one food you’re planning to eat today that you can, say, use butter instead of the more man-made margarine?

What about making your own salad dressing instead of buying one designed in a factory with a 2029 expiry date?

Building healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.

Is orange juice good for you? - summary

Next Steps

All 3 reasons orange juice isn’t good for you come down to OJ leading you to consume more than you need. The first step to make change? Remember that you can learn to love oranges as much as orange juice. How about having 1/2 a glass of orange juice and half an orange to start? Ease into a new healthy routine!

Before you know it you’ll be craving the juicy segment of an orange and enjoy chewing your Vitamin C. All the while knowing all the work your body will be doing to extract nutrients from the fiber and all the work the fiber will be doing to keep your body healthy… without you really doing anything other than choosing an orange over orange juice.

Heck, all this magic can happen in your body while you’re Keeping up with The Kardashians (whose father defended OJ). Or if you’re exciting like me, keeping up with your neighbor’s food delivery habits.

Final thoughts…

What about 100% orange juice?

Now if you’re thinking, but I drink Tropicana Orange Juice and it says 100% orange juice on the back.

Think again.

When I went on an orange juice photo field trip for this post, I was initially pleasantly surprised to find that so many brands of orange juice, that are big in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, and all around the world, have this label:

“No sugar added”

No added sugar

And some have only ingredient: Orange Juice

I saw that the expiry date was 2 months from now

But when I saw that the expiry date was 2 months from when I took the photo… Something started to smell of rotten oranges.

So I dug around a bit and found this video.

And I’m not the only one who’s freshly peeved (!):

(If you’ve got kids that’s a great video to watch with them… it will help them see that not everything they read is true! Something that also took me ages to learn.)

Remember… whatever you prefer is simply what you’re used to eating. Get used to eating something better!

Big thanks to Alex who found these two orange jump suits while on neighborhood watch a dog walk… which prompted this post:

Big thanks to Alex who found these two orange jump suits

I’m never wearing the one on the left again. It felt like walking around in a garbage bag on a hot day. But uncomfortably tight like an orange balloon.

Coco’s not always adept at reading the room…

coco with jumpsuit

…but that day he was spot on.

What about you?

Will you keep drinking orange juice?

Or are you ready to start getting used to craving a fresh orange?

Also… what’s the weirdest part of your morning routine?

Kelly Clark

 

 

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