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Stop the Squeezing!

by Brett Blumenthal

Ok, it is early in the morning and you b-line for the refrigerator to get that wake-me-up glass of orange juice.  It sounds like a healthy idea…fruit…vitamin C…what could be wrong with that?  Well, in all honesty, it isn’t so great.  Sure, it is better than a glass of coke or any other sugary, high-fructose-corn-syrupy beverage, but it isn’t as healthy as you might think.

Here are the facts: It takes 3 to 4 standard oranges to make one 8 oz. glass of orange juice.  Sounds as though you are getting 3 to 4 servings of fruit in your diet.  Right?  Not really.  The truth is that you lose vital nutrients when you don’t eat the real fruit and instead drink the juice, causing you to consume more empty calories than you would if you ate the whole fruit.  Let’s take a quick look:

  • Fiber:  Sure, you might have a little pulp in your glass, but it isn’t as fibrous as a real orange.  Is a matter of fact, when you look at a Tropicana – Lots of Pulp nutrition label, you’ll find that there isn’t even 1/2 a gram of fiber in a an 8 oz. glass of orange juice.  But guess what, there is 2 – 4 grams of fiber in one orange! (More on Fiber)
  • Carbohydrates: One glass of OJ provides you with 26 grams of carbs. Most of those calories are from sugars (empty, useless calories).  On the other hand, an orange provides you with only 11 – 22 grams of carbs, and a lot of the calories are from fiber, filling you up and providing nutritious health benefits (lowers blood cholesterol and glucose levels).
  • Calories: One glass of OJ causes you to consume 110 calories, while the whole orange is only 45 – 85 calories.

What to do: Eat an orange, a grapefruit, a cup of berries, a banana and skip the juice.  If you are looking for a vitamin C dose, do what I do…wake up and gobble a chewable Vitamin C tablet.  It tastes like OJ, has more Vitamin C and doesn’t cost you the empty calories!

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Nutrition Tagged with: , ,