Why eating an orange whole is better for you than orange juice

Juiced or whole? How you like your orange could make the difference when it comes to losing weight

Oranges
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Do you start your day with a glass of OJ? There's plenty of good stuff in that glass: for one thing, it's got lots of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and even helps you lose weight.

Some studies, such as this one published in the scientific journal Nutrition and Metabolism, found lower levels of vitamin C were associated with up to 25% less fat oxidisation, the process of breaking down body fat to use as fuel during exercise, in young adults. OJ is also full of antioxidants like carotenoids and flavonoids, which are beneficial in keeping the body healthy. 

But is it healthier to switch to eating a whole orange, rather than a glass of juice?

To find out, research published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry studied differently processed oranges and orange juices. It found pasteurised orange juice actually contained more of some beneficial chemicals, while also packing the same amount of vitamin C as whole oranges. 

However, don't start guzzling cartons of orange juice just yet: one big problem with orange juice's weight loss credentials is in its sugar content. With a 250ml glass containing over twice the calories of a single orange, pasteurised orange juice is condensed, containing much more sugar than the fruit in which it comes from. 

Orange juice

(Image credit: Getty)

Then there's the matter of fibre content. As a report from Harvard University found, an increased intake in fibre helps with weight loss. Orange juice without pulp contains much less fibre than juice without pulp, which in turn contains less fibre than an actual orange. Much of it is lost in the juicing process. 

Eating an entire orange not only contains the same amount of vitamin C as an equivalent amount a juice, less sugar and more fibre content, but it also helps in portion control. Drinks very often aren't considered when it comes to counting calories, so it's easy to pour a big glass and ingest a lot of sugar from something supposedly healthy, like fruit juices.

how to eat healthily: green juice

Juicing often reduces the fibre content of the original fruit

(Image credit: Jan Sedivy on Unsplash)

When eating an orange, it comes in a ready-made portion size: one orange. Together with all the benefits from the vitamins and fibre involved, as well as the reduced amount of sugar, this is final nail in the coffin: when it comes to oranges, eating them whole is preferable to a glass of OJ. 

It's an easy breakfast swap for those on a weight loss diet which will actually help rather than hinder your progress. Leave the Tropicana in the supermarket and just pick up a bag of oranges on your way out the door.

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