Orange Juice has to be the most refreshing and healthy drink around it is full of important vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, that is what most people think! You can get a carton of not-from-concentrate OJ made by conventional companies that is pure fresh orange juice – right?
It says so right on the label…
The reality is that many juices are not so healthy and contain preservatives, diminished vitamin content and pesticide residues. Some even come with a dose of animal protein, derived from the swim bladders of fish. Yummy.
Orange Juice is Full Of Sugar
An 8 ounce glass of orange juice provides between 22 and 29 grams of sugar or more depending on the brand — much of it as fructose. It’s almost as sugar laden as regular coke — and because of it — just as bad.
Research has shown that the fructose in isolated fruit juices are broken down by the liver. This is a stress on the liver and leads to many of the chronic diseases that are epidemic in this country today such as metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes.
Just because the sugar is naturally occurring in the juice does not mean it is good for you.
Additionally, the other problem with juice is that all the fiber is removed. The fiber at least helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar. Without the fiber, the sugar goes right into the bloodstream. Also fruit sugars, held in the structure of whole fruit, are less damaging to teeth than those released during processing. In fact, a glass of orange juice has more sugar then several donuts, cookies or even cake. Studies show that daily consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables are associated with an 18 per cent reduction in the risk of diabetes, while consumption of fruit juice even in small daily amounts, are associated with an overall 18 per cent increased risk of the disease.
The vitamin content of juice is diminished by pasteurisation, especially in long-life juice, but mineral and beta-carotene levels are unaffected. Pasteurisation also damages the natural enzymes that aid absorption.
Orange Juice contains Pesticides
Although the Pesticide Residue Committee is satisfied with levels. Environmentalists, however, are not. Residues include bupirimate (considered immunotoxic) and carbendazim (dangerous to both humans and the environment, and on Friends of the Earth’s “filthy four” list).
Back in 2012 the FDA discovered the fungicide carbendazim – which has been banned from farm use in the US since 2009 due to concerns over potential liver, eye, and brain damage – in orange juice imported from Brazil as well as orange juice samples from Canada.
However, the FDA found the levels of carbendazim to be low enough not to cause concern and they deemed the juice safe to drink. At the time, they did suspend juice imports pending further testing.
Apparently the FDA does inspect and test imported juice or juice concentrates for pesticide levels. But what about the pesticides used in Florida the state we naturally associate with OJ? Do you really want your kids to be drinking juice with other pesticides? Some have been found to be more dangerous than others, but it is just a matter of time before current pesticides are exposed for the poisons they are.
Can you tell if juice is safe and non-adulterated?
No. Juice can be adulterated with enzymes (taken from animal material) that help with filtration. Isinglass, a gelatin made from the swim bladders of sturgeons can be used, as can cattle’s blood. “Animal free” juices (listed by Vegan Shopper) include Libby’s (apple, grapefruit, orange, tomato); Co-op (apple, pineapple and grapefruit); Marks& Spencer (most flavours) and Safeway (all). Most juices contain citric acid, a safe preservative. It is also used as an “acidity regulator” to sharpen flavour – often to the detriment of the real fruit flavours. Industry insiders (read Alissa Hamilton’s book Squeezed for a real awakening) also point to the endemic use of “flavour packs”, essences and oils from peel replacing aromas lost in processing.If you are going to drink orange juice, at least make it organic.
Where does it come from?
It is often hard to tell on labels, but many juices are blends. For instance, 80 per cent of the UK’s orange juice comes from Brazil, where according to Ethical Consumer magazine, abuses of workers’ rights are rife. Its 2000 report criticised Del Monte in particular, but praised Just Juice and Stute for their ethical working practices.
Child Labor Used to Pick Oranges
According to this report children in Mexico and Brazil pick the oranges 6 months out of the year earning about $3.00 for working a 14 hour day — or 21 cents an hour. The juice is for the huge orange juice from concentrate market — you may have seen the country of origin on some juice cartons. But they don’t mention the little hands that pick the fruit.
Working conditions for the children are unsafe, unsanitary and they are exposed to pesticides daily.
According to this article, Europe has started importing fair trade orange juice which has been grown and marketed according to strict regulations. These regulations include both minimum labor and environmental standards. Hopefully that is happening other places as well.
Is fruit-juice production environmentally-friendly?
No. Most UK-sold fruit juice is imported or made from imported fruit. The New Economic Foundation says that 25 tonnes of materials are expended to produce and import just one tonne of orange juice. Shipping juice from the Americas rather than Europe significantly increases the fuel- consumption/food-mile aspect. Glass bottles are less eco-friendly to produce, but more recyclable than card packaging such as Tetra Pak. However, it is possible to recycle Tetra Pak successfully, given the right facilities, so ask your local council about this.
Where to Get Vitamin C and Other Anti-Oxidants
The original reason to have orange juice – before all the fancy sweet juice based drinks on the market – was to get vitamin C. You don’t have to drink a sugary, pesticide laden drink that will spike your blood sugar, and then cause a crash. Not to mention all the other issues.
The healthiest juice is the one you make yourself. Invest in a juicer; use as many home-produced fruits as possible or if you want citrus fruit buy organic and unwaxed and chuck the waste on the compost heap.
Here are some ways to get vitamin C and anti-oxidants from other sources.
- Sauerkraut— Make your own homemade sauerkraut by lacto-fermentation and you will be provided with plenty of vitamin C. Have some at each meal and it will also help you digest your food better.
- Beet Kvass — Easy to make at home and full of anti-oxidants.
- Lacto-Fermented Pickles — So easy to make and so delicious and fun!
- Fruit Smoothies — Make a combination of fresh fruit juice with coconut milk or raw milk. The milk will provide fat that balances the sugar in the juice.
If you must have orange juice, squeeze your own fresh juice from organic oranges and drink the pulp.
Do you have any suggestions as to how to get vitamin C in other foods and drinks?
What are the different juices?
Pure fruit juice is pressed “direct” from the fruit or “not from concentrate”. This is 100 per cent juice and has the best flavour. In the case of the “freshly squeezed” or “pressed” juice, it might be pasteurised during packing. Citric acid might have been added, and in some cases, salt.
Juice from concentrate has been squeezed or pressed from fruit, concentrated by the evaporation of up to 50 per cent of the juice’s natural water, then pasteurised. The flavour is altered by the process, which should be indicated on the label. Concentrated fruit juice has more than 50 per cent of the water removed. This is usually added to fruit drinks and rarely sold on its own.
Juice drinks are based on fruit juice, but ingredients include sugar or – worse – sweeteners, colours and preservatives. Sunny Delight contains only five per cent fruit juice, plus ingredients that are not beneficial.
Fruit nectar is a syrupy juice with added sugar.
What is ‘juice drink’?
Sometimes sold as ”crush”, juice drinks are usually aimed at the children’s market and can contain just five per cent juice, with added sugar or sweetener.
Does all juice need chilling?
Some juice is sold from the chiller unnecessarily, making it look freshly squeezed when it is not. Pasteurised pure-fruit juice keeps for two to six weeks and is usually sold chilled, as is “freshly squeezed” or “pressed”, which has a shelf life of only a few days. Long-life pasteurised juices keep for nine months.