Orange Juice Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Orange Juice

orange juice nutrition facts and health benefits
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Drinking orange juice is a very popular way to consume oranges and the drink is often served with breakfast. While it does contain naturally-occurring sugar, the beverage is also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 cup (8oz) of orange juice. Included below are the approximate values of a cup of orange juice. Be aware that different brands will have slightly different amounts of each nutrient.

  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 9.6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 27g
  • Fiber: 0.96g
  • Sugars: 20g
  • Protein: 2g

Carbs in Orange Juice

Most of the calories in orange juice come from carbohydrates. There is almost no fiber or starch in orange juice. This means that most of the carbs in orange juice are provided in the form of sugar.

Pure orange juice provides naturally-occurring sugar. That is sugar (fructose in this case) that occurs naturally in foods such as fruit. However, some brands of orange juice may add extra sugar. That sugar is called "added sugar" and health experts recommend that we watch our added sugar consumption. Also, pure fruit juice may offer additional health benefits, but more research needs to be done to determine exactly what these are.

The glycemic index of orange juice (containing no added sugars) is estimated to be 50. Keep in mind that the glycemic index takes serving size into account. So if you drink more than a single serving (one cup) the GI will be higher.

Fats in Orange Juice

There is almost no fat in orange juice

Protein in Orange Juice

Orange juice is not a good source of protein, providing less than two grams per serving.

Micronutrients in Orange Juice

One serving of orange juice has all the vitamin C you need for a whole day. Orange juice is also high in potassium, and it's a good source of folate and thiamine, two of the B-complex vitamins. 

Health Benefits 

The vitamin C found in orange is essential for healthy blood vessel walls and connective tissue that lies below your skin. It's also essential for normal immune system function. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that is thought to have health benefits by protecting your cells from free radical damage. More research is needed to determine all of the specific health-protective roles fruit juices may play in our bodies.

Orange juice is also a good source of folate that's necessary for red blood cell formation and to help prevent a birth defect called spina bifida. And it's high in two important minerals, potassium, and iron. Potassium is essential for nerve and muscle function, and it works against sodium to maintain body fluid balance and blood pressure.

Keep in mind that you'll gain many of the health benefits of orange juice if you simply consume an orange. By comparison, one average-sized orange has about 60 calories, 15 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams of fiber. But it also only has 70 milligrams of vitamin C. That's still a substantial amount, but you'll get more vitamin C with a glass of orange juice.

Eating oranges is an excellent way to get your daily dose of vitamin C and potassium, plus fiber. Although most oranges are consumed as juice at breakfast time, there are plenty of ways to get more fresh oranges into your day. For example, you can eat an orange out of your hand as an afternoon snack, or add orange sections to a salad served with a tangy citrus vinaigrette.

Common Questions About Orange Juice

Can orange juice prevent or cure a cold?

Probably not. While vitamin C is essential for immune system function, there isn't any evidence that drinking orange juice will help prevent a cold nor will it make your cold go away any faster. It is important to stay hydrated when you're not feeling well and drinking orange juice can help with that.

Can drinking orange juice prevent cancer?

It's possible that some of the compounds in orange juice may help prevent cancer, but so far the only research has been done on lab animals so it's not known if drinking orange juice will prevent or delay any types of cancer.

Will drinking orange juice make a person gain weight?

As long as you keep your daily caloric intake where it needs to be so that you maintain or lose weight, drinking orange juice won't cause you to gain weight. If you consume more calories than you burn every day, then you'll gain weight no matter if the calories from orange juice or something else. Keep serving sizes in mind and budget your calories appropriately.

Should I just eat an orange instead of drinking juice?

An orange has fewer calories and carbs than orange juice, and it has more fiber. But it doesn't have as much vitamin C. As long as you get enough vitamin C from other sources such as strawberries, peppers, and other fruits and veggies, the whole fruit is probably the way to go. 

Is freshly squeezed orange juice more nutritious than store-bought?

Yes, it is. Ounce for ounce, freshly squeezed orange juice can have about 50 percent more vitamin C and almost twice as much folate and thiamine. 

Should I drink calcium-fortified orange juice?

If you feel that you often fall short in your calcium intake from foods such as dairy products, nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables, then drinking calcium-fortified orange juice can help you meet your calcium needs. Be sure to read the Nutrition Fact label on the product to see how much extra calcium you'll get from each serving. Note that some brands also add vitamin D as well.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Orange juice is easy to find in any grocery store. Look for bottles and cartons of orange juice near the dairy products or choose frozen concentrate that you mix with water at home. If you like a little variety, you can choose orange juice blended with other fruit juices, or if the texture is an issue you can buy juice with lots of pulp or with no pulp at all. 

The most important thing about buying orange juice is choosing 100 percent orange juice rather than orange-flavored beverages that contain only a little (or no) real orange juice. Those beverages are essentially sugary soft drinks and don't have much nutritional value beyond calories.

Drinking orange juice for breakfast is only one way to enjoy it. Try some of these tasty and healthy recipes that feature orange juice as an ingredient:

Allergies and Interactions

Avoid oranges if you have a citrus allergy or if you have experienced reactions to other fruits such as grapefruit or mandarin. Additionally, there are reports of people experiencing asthma due to the inhalation of the peels of citrus fruits, including oranges.

According to the Natural Medicine Database, orange juice is likely safe for most people when consumed in amounts typically found in meals. However, if you take certain medications, including Celiprolol (Celicard), organic anion-transporting polypeptide substrates, Ivermectin, or pravastatin (Pravachol) you should avoid oranges and orange juice as it may affect the effectiveness of the medication. Other medications, including quinolone antibiotics, p-glycoprotein substrates, and fexofenadine (Allegra) may also be affected by orange juice consumption. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider to get personalized advice.

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Article Sources
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