How healthy is the orange juice you pick from the shelves? If you want to know, keep reading this article... and share!
If you think the brightly designed box that advertises the juice being 100% Natural & Pure can provide nearly the same benefits such as boosting your health and immune system, of a freshly squeezed orange juice, think again.
Although you made the best selection available on the market in terms of pre-squeezed orange juices, there are still major drawbacks in consuming the product.
THE WHY NOT
Added sugar. As a rule of thumb, every time you buy a shelved product, you want to read the ingredient label and its nutrition facts. Although quantity varies, most products on the market add additives for longer shelve life, and colorants to make them more appealing. In the case of orange juices, the sugar added is as much as 22 grams per 8oz, against 12 grams in that of an orange juice you squeeze with your hands (it takes about 2 medium size navel oranges to fill an 8-oz serving glass of juice). To make it more complicated, USA labeling doesn't mandate companies to label how much and what kind of "added" sugar they put in their product. Why does that matter? As Marion Nestle puts it in her book What to eat, "Common Sense tells you that eating ounces of sugars at any time [especially such as artificial sweeteners] -- without the modulating effects of fiber and other food components -- will raise blood sugar beyond where it needs to be, add unnecessary calories, and encourage weight gain."
Reconstituted Nutrients. You picked your juice because, well, it's a natural source of nutrients, right? Because fruit is unlikely to be grown in the same region as the factory that boxes the product, the fruit is juiced and most often dehydrated and packed frozen into tubes to be sent off to the factory. By the time the juice is used, up to 80% of water is added back, along with artificial nutrients that were lost during the trip. Yep. The nutrients you drink from your favorite juice are far from being naturally packed....
Pasteurized. Pasteurization is the process through which, a product is taken to specific temperatures through a method known as HPP (high pressure pasteurization). Set by the FDA, the process is to boil and kill all bacteria. In USA, companies must pasteurize all products by law. Even though you might buy one of those freshly squeezed bottled juices. Depending on how the juice is treated and reconstituted it still seems to retain some vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Things like fiber and taste gets lost in the process. I'm not surprised, really.
Dead Food. As a consequence to the points above, food that has been picked, frozen, pasteurized, and finally packaged into boxes for up to a year, tend to lose all of their vitality. Would you eat something that taste good but it has long been killed of all it's nutrients? Read more about food and energy in this interesting research by European scientists.
When I'm home, I like to squeeze my own navel oranges, using an electric orange & lemon juicer. There are cheaper and more portable versions such as this one. If you are like me and try to avoid plastic, you can buy a glass or even a stainless steel juicing version. It takes only 5 minutes between squeezing, drinking, and cleaning the equipment. It might be a bit more work, but it's totally worth it. I personally like the ratio of 1 orange/half lemon. I don't add any sugar to it! If the oranges are good that is ALL you need. Nature's original flavor. When having juices you need to remember, more is not necessarily always better. You don't need a full glass or 8 oz-servings multiple times per day as the industry likes to advertise.
I particularly take pride and pleasure in having organic left overs on my kitchen counter, against a plastic container or a carton box that I would have to feel guilty over throwing away.
Feel bad throwing away left overs because you think there should be a way to "squeeze" more use out of it (excuse the pun)? Then prevent citrus peel waste and turn them into delicious fruit candies. Learn how from my friend blogger and author Healthy Green Kitchen.