Sunday, May 16, 2010

Is an Orange or Orange Juice Healthier?

Question:  Is eating an orange better for you than drinking orange juice?  If you watch many of the V-8 Fusion TV commercials, you get the impression that all you need to do is drink a beverage, and you'll get all the benefit of eating several whole fruits and vegetables. Truth or fiction?

The truth is, something does change when you "juice" it:  most of the pulp and solid parts of the fruit or veggie are removed, leaving only the liquid. What's the big deal?  You still get all the nutrients right?  Yes, you do, except the fiber.  The fiber is in all that pulp, and fiber is a good thing!


Fiber helps regulate your digestive system, keeping things moving through easier and more efficiently.  Fiber slows the digestive rate of carbohydrates and keeps you feeling full longer.  Drinking a glass of orange juice doesn't give a sensation of fullness for most people, but by eating an orange, you get to chew and savor that fruit--it really starts to fill you up.  For weight loss and maintenance, go for the whole fruit or veggies frequently and use juices only occasionally.  Fiber also helps reduce blood cholesterol,  LDL's, and reduce heart disease.

One serving of fruit juice is 1/2 cup.  Measure that out sometime and pour it into the glass you like to drink your juice in.  Next, figure out just how many servings you usually consume when you have a glass of juice.  Most of us usually get way too many calories from our beverages, including fruit juices. We often justify the juice, thinking that it's good for us. Yes, but perhaps not the calories that come from our super sized servings. That doesn't tend to happen when we eat the fruit itself.  Liquid calories can add up way too quickly, especially when the average glass is 16 ounces:  that's 4 servings of juice!  If you filled that with OJ, you could chug 240 calories in under 2 minutes.  Eating an orange takes longer than 5 minutes and supply only 60 calories.  Hmmm....

Moral of this message?  You get the same nutritional value from an orange as you do a half cup of orange juice with one exception:  fiber, and fiber is a good thing.  Eat the orange to feel full, keep your digestive system on track, keep your blood sugar level more stable, and to help keep your heart healthy.

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