A glass of orange juice at breakfast is perceived as a great source of immune system-boosting nutrients like vitamin C. Depending on the quality, one eight-ounce cup contains between 80% and 100% of your daily value of vitamin C and other vitamins. However, orange juice has an unhealthy side: its sugar content.
Although pure orange juice is considered healthier than soda, as they both contain sugar, the fact that orange juice’s sugar is natural instead of artificially added doesn’t change how our body processes it.
According to JAMA Network Open, our body breaks down both natural and artificial sugars the same way. Therefore, drinking too much orange juice can sometimes lead to undesirable side effects. Keep reading to learn what some of them are, with an extra one revealed at the end.
1. Weight Gain
There is strong evidence that excess sugar causes weight gain through additional calories. The body usually digests sugary foods faster; therefore, the offset of hunger doesn’t last very long. That leads to more eating throughout the day, and thus, a greater caloric intake overall.
A Nutrition & Diabetes four-week study found that when participants drank orange juice three times a day between meals, they experienced an increase in body fat and a decrease in insulin sensitivity.
Sugar intake can become excessive when a combination of orange juice and other products with sugar adds up throughout the day.
2. Developing Type 2 Diabetes
Excessive sugar consumption and decreased insulin sensitivity have also been connected to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Many studies have specifically found a link between type 2 diabetes and sugary drinks containing fruit juice.
One study conducted over 24 years with over 180,000 participants concluded that drinking fruit juice every day led to a 21% higher risk of developing diabetes. On the other hand, eating the fruit whole correlated with a 23% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
Assistant Professor at Harvard School of Public Health, Dr. Qi Sun, advised that the juicing process of fruits reduces its phytochemical and dietary fiber benefits. Moreover, the juices are absorbed more quickly and cause a rapid change in insulin levels and blood sugar than whole fruit.
3. Lower Your Blood Pressure
It’s not all bad news; drinking “too much” orange juice may also help to reduce your blood pressure. An American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that 24 overweight men’s blood pressure was reduced after drinking two cups of orange juice daily for a month.
They believed the benefits could be linked to the significant content of the polyphenol hesperidin found in orange juice. Hesperidin is a bioflavonoid shown to take on an anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory role in our bodies.
The Pros and Cons of Drinking Too Much Orange Juice
Obesity, a leading cause of diabetes and a result of excessive weight gain, can be contributed to by excessive sugar calories and overeating following sugar crashes. Studies confirm that the sugar content in fruit juice is exceptionally high, and it offers less nutritional benefit than eating whole fruit.
While drinking too much juice can help lower blood pressure, it also increases your risk of weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
To help keep your sugar intake within a healthy range, limit yourself to one cup of fruit juice per day.