When you pick up a carton of “100% pure Orange Juice from concentrate,” what does that really mean? Most people think that they are picking up 100% of juice that came solely from oranges with nothing added or taken away. Why wouldn’t you think that? That is kind of what the label says. After all, when you read the ingredient list, it says, “Orange Juice from concentrate (100%).” If its only orange juice, shouldn’t the ingredient list only contain one word, “oranges?”
What exactly does orange juice from concentrate mean? This means that once all the orange juice was squeezed, all the “water” was removed, usually then shipped to another facility or location, and then the “water” was added back in. Basically, the orange was dried and then rehydrated. Oranges are juicy enough when eating them straight off the peel; therefore, you can imagine how much of the nutrients and taste you lose when you unnaturally dehydrate the oranges. Therefore, what manufacturers usually do is add the various flavors and compounds back in after they have processed the juice. However, manufacturers can avoid declaring any of this on the labels because they artificially process the additives from the orange peels and other components that may already be found in oranges and therefore, there is technically nothing to declare.
Thinking of this “concentrating” process is rather exhausting. Wouldn’t it be easier to just eat an orange or squeeze your own juice? At least, that way you are getting all the nutrients naturally and more nutrients than concentrated juice will give you. I’m going to pick on “Princes” Orange Juice because that is the first carton that I could get a hold of. Lets start with the front of the packaging. They state, “5 a-day: 150 ml serving constitutes 1 portion.” Now, if I go to the NHS site, they clearly state, “One 150 ml glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice can count as a portion.” Nowhere do they say that concentrated juices count towards your five a day. This you could potentially argue as all being a technicality, but technicalities are why the food industry gets away with so much mislabeling.
Now, lets go ahead to the actual nutritional comparison between concentrated juices and freshly squeezed or blended juices. First of all, orange juice bottles usually pride themselves on how high in vitamin C their juice is. However, if you look at the carton of Princes’ Orange Juice, for a 200 ml of serving, there is only 40 mg of vitamin C, which is only 66% of the recommended daily allowance. Keep in mind though that the carton says in the front that only 150 ml need to be drunk to meet one of your five a day. Anyhow, a freshly squeezed orange juice or even eating a single orange will give you 100% of the vitamin C you need a day, if not more. Oranges are an excellent anti-oxidant because they are high in vitamin C, but drinking one glass of concentrated orange juice will not help boost your immune system like a freshly squeezed orange juice will. In fact, you have to have more of the concentrated juice to match what a single orange can provide. Furthermore, oranges naturally do not have salt or sodium in them, but a concentrated juice label will tell you that there are trace amounts of it. Sodium and salts in fruits or vegetables are only naturally occurring if they come from the ground or the ocean. By consuming concentrated orange juice, you miss out on the benefits of quality fibre, vitamins B1, B2, B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid, carotenes, pectin, potassium, and folic acid. Since oranges are high in all of these nutrients, if your concentrated orange juice really did contain them, the label would say so. However, the labels do not mention them. Therefore, the next time you reach for a carton of concentrated orange juice, ask yourself about all the vital nutrients you are missing and take one step in the healthier direction by picking up an actual orange instead.
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