Growing up, I cherished the occasional lazy Saturday morning when I could sleep in, eat breakfast in my pajamas, and watch cartoons. Every commercial, it seemed, was a cereal ad that included the phrase
“Part of a complete breakfast!” made up of three things: cereal, milk, and orange juice.
On our family breakfast table, the orange juice was always absent, and only recently did I learn why.
In terms of its nutritional profile, juice isn’t too much better for you than a glass of soda or any other sweetened beverage.
Sure, it has some vitamins — orange juice even has a small amount of protein — but research shows the best way to get both of those nutrients is by eating a balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. More importantly, since juicing fruit tends to remove most of its fibre, the key ingredient that keeps you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal, drinking a tall glass of OJ can leave you feeling pretty hungry rather quickly. This is one of the reasons calories from sweetened beverages are often referred to as “empty calories” — the mixture is mostly sugar and water, and low in fibre, fats, and protein, and your body processes it relatively quickly. Consistently indulging in beverages or other foods with a profile like this can increase hunger pangs and mood swings and leave you with low energy levels.
Here’s the nutritional profile for a normal 59mL glass of orange juice:
- 153 calories
- 34 grams of carbohydrates
- 27 grams of sugar
- 2.4 grams of protein
- 0.7 grams of fibre
That’s the same amount of carbs and just three grams less sugar than in a bag of M&Ms.
So instead of adding a glass of OJ to your next meal, swap it with a plain old glass of water and save an actual orange for your next snack.
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