This post was inspired by my good friend, Mark. Thanks, Mark!
Mark is currently on the Paleo diet – the caveman diet. We were having a discussion about nutrition and he mentioned he does not drink orange juice anymore because it is all sugar. Understood. Orange juice can have the same amount of sugar as a can of soda. Orange juice usually has about 20 grams of sugar.
There is a debate as to whether orange juice is a keeper in our fridges. If you are an endurance athlete, you are trained to include orange juice as a post-work out fluid of choice because of the carbohydrates, vitamin C, and an 8 ounce glass contains the same amount of potassium as a whole banana. Orange juice is also consumed before a work-out because it does have sugar, which can give you a quick energy boost. Keep in mind that ALL fruit has sugar naturally. So if you are eating whole fruits, then you are still consuming sugar. Here are some examples – one whole orange itself has 23 grams of sugar, as does an apple! A banana has about 17 grams of sugar. So a glass of orange juice has equal amount of sugar as a whole orange.
I stopped drinking orange juice at some point in my life because nothing beats the wholesome nutrition of plain old water. But as an endurance athlete myself, I re-incorporated orange juice into my life for its variety and for the added benefits that it provides. Orange juice has folate, niacin, thiamin, and vitamin B6.
Obviously, fresh squeezed orange juice is ideal but more expensive. And a whole orange itself is even better. But when you can’t get either, a glass of orange juice (not from concentrate) is a pretty good substitute. As long as you don’t overdo it. Certain things done or consumed in moderation can be a positive in your life.
In my fridge now I have a Tropicana brand orange juice with added calcium and vitamin D. Most women do not get their required daily intake of calcium. So just to make sure, I always buy the orange juice fortified with calcium. An 8 ounce glass of this juice is about 100 calories, 450 milligrams of potassium, 120% of your daily vitamin C, 22 grams of sugar, 26 grams of carbohydrates, no fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium. This particular juice also has 35% calcium and 25% vitamin D, to assist in the calcium absorption.
In summary, if you are going to have any sugar at all, this sugar is better than soda or candy. And remember, fruit itself in its original form contains natural sugar. A whole orange has the same amount of sugar as a glass of orange juice! So if you love orange juice but have been denying yourself, you shouldn’t. Go ahead and have a glass of good ‘ol OJ!