It seems like orange juice and breakfast go hand in hand. Nearly every TV commercial trying to sell us a box of cereal or frozen waffles features a tall, chilled glass of OJ as a prop to perpetuate the "part of a nutritious breakfast" shtick. Diners practically assume you'll be chugging a glass of the stuff along with your farmer's omelet and turkey bacon, and moms (and pops) since the dawn of time have been pouring their kids an ice cold OJ as soon as they were weaned off the bottle.
But is all this OJ necessary? Is it really as good for us as advertisers and vendors claim it to be? Sure, OJ is undeniably refreshing, supplies a decent dose of Vitamin C, and is a tasty beverage, but there are some not-so-good elements to this fruity drink that will have you asking, "OJ, or no J?"
1. Too Much Sugar
We all know we need to consume fruits and veggies every day, but a glass of OJ is super high in sugar – 27 grams, and 34 grams of carbs per 12-ounce glass, as per Business Insider. Down a package of M&Ms and you'll be ingesting just about the same carb count. And you'll never hear oatmeal commercials suggesting that candy be part of a nutritious breakfast. Another comparison as per Popsugar shows that a glass of OJ has the same amount of calories as a can of Coca-Cola. Coke is a nice pick-me-up, but not really the breakfast drink of champions.
If you really crave that orange flavor in the AM, opt for a whole orange rather than a glass of the juice. You'll save calories plus get the added fiber found in the fruit itself. You'll feel fuller, longer, and get all the goodness of oranges that may be stripped away as the OJ went through processing, concentration, and bottling.
2. High Acidity
That easy-to-identify tartness and tempting tang found in each sip of OJ is due to its acidity. While high acidity is tolerable for some people, over time it can cause damage to the teeth, according to Healthsomeness. OJ can wear away the teeth's protective enamel, leading to nasty tooth decay over the years.
As per Science Daily, a study found that OJ was worse for teeth than whitening agents. "Orange juice markedly decreased hardness and increased roughness of tooth enamel." And the slower you sip, the more damage can be done. "People who sip their drinks slowly over 20 minutes are more likely to have tooth erosion than those who finish a drink quickly." So, if you do choose to stay on the juice, at least chug it.
3. Melanoma Risk
Need another reason to forgo the fruit juice? As per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as reported by Medical News Today, "People who consumed high amounts of whole grapefruit or orange juice were over a third more likely to develop melanoma, compared with those who consumed low amounts." Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that occurs when the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) mutate and become cancerous.
The study found that consuming citrus fruits more than 1.6 times per day was linked to a 36% higher melanoma risk. "Orange juice was associated with greater melanoma risk, which the researchers say is most likely because consumption of this product was much higher than consumption of other citrus products."
According to Healthsomeness, "This is thought to be because of psoralens, compounds that are found in citrus fruits. They can make your skin more sensitive to light exposure."
Of course, always wear sunscreen, but limit OJ consumption to be on the safer side of cancer.
OK, so OJ is certainly not the devil's brew, but keep these factors in mind when you choose your morning beverage. Moderation is always the key, so a glass now and then is perfectly OK. Any questions? Ask your doctor if drinking OJ is a smart choice for you.