Orange Juice Good or Bad?

Millions of people start their families day with a tall glass of orange juice. 

 "A great source of Vitamin C," is the common tag line. What you may not know is that there's a dirty little secret that Tropicana, Minute Maid, and other orange juice purveyors hope OJ drinkers continue to ignore. Orange juice is loaded, and I mean LOADED, with sugar. One serving of OJ, an 8 ounce glass contains 22 grams of sugar. By comparison, 8 ounces of Dr. Pepper  only contains 27 grams of sugar. Pretty close right? Well we know the soda is crap, would you ever let your kid suck down a soda at breakfast? If you would, good luck...really, good luck. So, I think most of us would agree soda would never make your healthy drink list. However in terms of sugar, Orange Juice and soda must be looked at as one and the same. Deal with that. A little history.

Although there are no instances of wild oranges, according to Wikipedia Oranges probably originated in Southeast Asia, oranges were cultivated in China as far back as 2500 BC. Between the late 15th century and the beginnings of the 16th century, Italian and Portuguese merchants brought orange trees in the Mediterranean area. Spanish explorers introduced the sweet orange into the American continent. On his second voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus took seeds of oranges, lemons and citrons to Haiti and the Caribbean. Subsequent expeditions in the mid-1500s brought sweet oranges to South America and Mexico, and to Florida in 1565, when P Spanish missionaries brought orange trees to Arizona between 1707 and 1710, while the Franciscans did the same in San Diego, California, in 1769. An orchard was planted at the San Gabriel Mission around 1804 and a commercial orchard was established 1841 near present-day Los Angeles. In Louisiana, oranges were probably introduced by French explorers. Archibald Menzies, the botanist and naturalist on the Vancouver Expedition, collected orange seeds in South Africa, raised the seedlings on board and gave them to several Hawaiian chiefs in 1792. Eventually, the sweet orange was grown in wide areas of the Hawaiian Islands, but its cultivation stopped after the arrival of the Mediterranean fruit fly in the early 1900's. Orange trees are widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates, the fruit can be eaten fresh or processed to obtain juice, and for its fragrant peel. They have been the most cultivated tree fruit in the world since 1987.

Oranges are a healthy fruit. Eating one at breakfast, or at any time of the day is a smart and healthy choice. However, an average orange yields only 2 ounces of actual juice. That's like 2 (real) shots of tequila. So, when you drink an 8-10 ounce glass of OJ, it's comparable to eating 4 or more oranges. Can you ever imagine yourself eating 4 large oranges in one sitting? No way! Yet all restaurants serve OJ in a 10-12 ounce glass. The numbers don't lie and recent studies have confirmed that drinking one glass of OJ, per day raises diabetes risk by 20%, thanks to all of the sugar. Did you get that? I just shake my head when I see toddlers sucking on a bottle full of orange, apple or other juice. Moms and Dads may as well be filling it up with Mountain Dew. My advise, give your kids the whole orange to play with, teach them when they are young, and let them drink, clean fluoride and chlorine filtered water and organic milk.

There was an extensive study done that showed that drinking just one glass of orange juice a day could significantly increase a person's risk of diabetes. The "American Study" followed the long-term health of 70,000 female nurses over an 18 year period. Women who had one glass of fruit juice a day increased their odds of developing Type 2 diabetes by 18%. The researchers suggest that "caution should be observed in replacing some beverages with fruit juices in an effort to provide healthier options". When you eat a whole fruit, it takes longer for the sugar to break down in the body but fruit juice comes into the blood stream much more quickly and can negatively affect insulin levels.

"Fresh Squeezed" juice, is made by squeezing the liquids out of a fruit. After pressing, the juice can be caned or bottled as is or to make "Frozen OJ "it can be blended with additives, other juices, or de-watered, frozen and packed into cans. This concentrated juice mix can then be made back into a juice in your kitchen by adding water. Wanna guess how many chemicals it takes to pull that little miracle off? It never tastes the same as fresh juice. "Fresh pressed" is just that, oranges that are cut in half and they squeeze the juice out of them. When you see juice from "Concentrate"  on the can or bottle of juice you buy at the market, it's juice that has been extracted by high heat from oranges, heat so high it takes all the vitamins out, and they have to to be re-added in synthetic form. The water is removed and the juice is stored, when needed the water again has to be cooked back into the dehydrated juice.

Sugary drinks, natural or otherwise, lead to a host of child health issues and habbits. Everything from bulging bellies to tooth decay. Dr. David Ludwig, an expert on pediatric obesity at Children's Hospital Boston, said, "All of these beverages are largely the same. They are 100 percent sugar,"  "Juice is only minimally better than soda." The trouble is that parents who are quick to limit a child's soft drink consumption often overlook or even encourage juice indulgence thanks to juices good-for-you image. That image can be overstated. Though healthy in moderation, juice essentially is water and sugar. In fact, a 12-ounce bottle of grape soda has 159 calories. The same amount of unsweetened grape juice packs 228 calories.

While the $10 billion juice industry maintains that a conclusive link between it's products and obesity has yet to be established, researchers and nutritionist agree, sugar is sugar. It's interesting to note that before the rise of soda, juice, and other sweetened drinks during the latter half of the 20th century, water, ice tea, and milk were children's primary beverages. Here in America, where 1/3 third of the children are either overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, health officials now say high-calorie beverages have little place in a young child's diet. "With the possible exception of milk, children do not need any calorie containing beverages," Dr.Ludwig says. "What is needed to replace fluid loss and satisfy thirst is the same beverage we've been drinking for millions of years, and that's water." The danger of juice is that too much can throw off the balance of calories and nutrients children need, according to Dr. Terrill Bravender, director of adolescent medicine at Duke University Medical Center. Dr. William Dietz, with the division of nutrition and physical activity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says parents need to be firm.
Thirst is satisfied with water, hunger with whole foods. Caloric beverages can blur that line. "What parents don't realize is that "no added sugar" doesn't mean "low sugar." Dr. Ludwig also is critical of juice marketing efforts, saying parents are easily misled into thinking they are making healthy choices. He was particularly critical of one bagged juice beverage's claim that it "hydrates kids better than water." "This is an example of how children's diets can be perverted by the marketing of products in the food industry when it places profit ahead of public health," he says.

Image DetailSo eat the whole fruit or squeeze your own juice if that's your preference, and avoid products that say "from concentrate". As we saw that is quite a perverted process of delivering juice to the masses.
Sure it's a little extra effort but who deserves it more than you. So whole fruit, or fresh squeezed good...juice from concentrate bad. Ice, OJ, Tequila, Grenadine, Orange garnish, REAL GOOD. Good Luck...

 Doc's Fitness Tip's Publishes Twice Weekly.

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