The Orange vs. the Juice

A basic idea of nutritional approaches to health is that whole foods are generally “better” than foods derived or processed from them. It’s the total nutritional package that counts, as Dr. Royal Lee pointed out many decades ago and as research has confirmed – at least in some cases. For instance, a study published last fall in Advances in Nutrition found that, with respect to lycopene, tomatoes packed a bigger nutritional punch than supplements.

oranges and juicerSo we’ve written before about how whole fruit is preferable to juice – even 100% juice, although there are dental reasons for this, as well. After all, fruit juice is concentrated sugar. You’d have to eat several pieces of fruit to get the sugar equivalent of 8 ounces of juice. Juice also tends to be highly acidic, weakening tooth enamel and giving oral pathogens even more opportunity to wreak havoc, ultimately leading to decay.

Nutritionally, though, new research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry shows that the picture is a little murkier than originally thought.

Its authors did a nutritional comparison of oranges and orange juice. On the one hand, they found that juice was indeed a little lower in cartenoids and vitamin C than whole fruit. However, what was in the juice turned out to be more bioavailable: More of the nutrients could be absorbed and used by the body.

And contrary to conventional wisdom, although juicing oranges dramatically cut flavonoid levels, the remaining ones were much more bioaccessible than those in orange segments.

Though from a dental standpoint, we do recommend folks go easy on juice, clearly, it does offer some benefits. If and when you choose it, just wait a half hour or so before brushing afterward, to give acids time to be neutralized so you don’t wind up brushing them into your teeth.

Image by Judy van der Velden, via Flickr

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About The Verigin Dental Health Team

A humanistic, holistic dental practice in Northern California, providing integrative, biological, mercury-free dentistry
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One Response to The Orange vs. the Juice

  1. If only people know how 100% natural fruit juice are produced. In many occasions, the extracted juice is kept in a vacuum for months, which led to a loss of flavour. To compensate for that loss, natural flavour (also extracted from fruit) needs to be added back to the juice, and all this happens in the food lab, and the manufacturing process makes it (drumroll…) 100% natural.

    Actually, it won’t surprise us even if we were to find out that some orange juice contains more Vitamin C than the orange itself. There is no paradox if you get more nutrient X as if you deliberate extract more of it. What really matters, is perhaps the distribution of vitamins and minerals in the food. And more bioavailable is not necessarily a good thing either, refining carbohydrate makes sugar more available to the blood vessels as well, and that is associated with some of the most pressing health crises we are facing nowadays. We have to re-evaluate the thesis that “if little is good, then more is better” and learn to apply it in what we say and what we do.

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