Is Orange Juice Good For You?
Orange juice, and by extension oranges, have come in and out of favor when it comes to nutritional recommendations. At one time, a glass of orange juice was considered to be a healthy addition to any meal.
More recently, however, many studies have pointed out that commercially prepared juices – even 100% fruit juice – contained about as much sugar as a can of soda. Such studies called into question North Americans’ reliance on fruit juices, and orange juice in particular, in the diets of children in particular. Speculation revolved around whether juice consumption contributed to rising rates of obesity.
A very recent study says that does not appear to be the case.
No Effect On BMI
A four-year study by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Harvard Medical School was recently published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. The study looked at data from more than 7,000 children and teenagers, and found results that might surprise. Consumption of 100% orange juice is associated with:
• Increased height;
• Increased physical activity.
The latter suggests that orange juice is consumed within a healthy and balanced lifestyle, based on an average consumption of between 12 and 16 ounces per week, or one to two cups.
• There was no correlation to increases in body weight or BMI percentile in 9 to 16 year olds, and overall, the study’s authors made some recommendations.
Orange Juice In A Healthy Diet
Dr. Ock Chun , Professor in Nutritional Sciences at University of Connecticut and principal investigator of the study is quoted in a media release.
“The question of whether fruit juice intake causes poor health outcomes, such as weight gain in children has been a subject of controversy for years,” he said. “I hope our findings reassure parents and health educators that regularly enjoying a glass of 100% orange juice can provide kids with beneficial nutrients without increasing the risk of becoming overweight or obese. In fact, consuming 100% orange juice regularly could help address shortfalls in the diet and bolster intake of key nutrients such as vitamin C, potassium, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin, as well as calcium and vitamin D found in fortified OJ.”
The study was funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, and joins a growing body of research that essentially comes to the same conclusion, including studies that analyzed data from more than 26,000 children.
It’s certainly important to consider what we drink just as much as what we eat when it comes to overall diet. It appears, however, that orange juice and other fruit juices may not be an area of concern when it comes to a link to obesity, based on the data.