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Orange juice vs OJ - who wins?

Good morning and Happy Tuesday! I hope you had a great weekend. I am currently in Australia - a last minute trip and it is HOT! Let's hope that it is warm in the UK when I get back - I'm not spending 2 weeks acclimatising for nothing...

I did a bit of research at Christmas and asked people which country they thought was healthier - Australia or the UK. The UK wins points for being on the 'anti-sugar' wagon, however unfortunately Australia beat you to it. In supermarkets everywhere there are 'sugar free' products - mueslis, yoghurt, snacks etc. You can buy a healthy 'blissball' protein snack at lots of cafes (recipe for another day!) and there are plenty of fresh fruit options. 

HOWEVER, the UK wins more points for announcing that they will be taxing sugary drinks, being able to walk everywhere without overheating (I can't walk more than 250m without sweating here), having a 'cycle to work' scheme available in most workplaces and building cycle 'super highways' in London - cycling in Australia seems so much more dangerous (cars HATE cyclists in Oz). Where do you think it is easier to be healthier - warmer countries or colder ones?

Now that it is Spring, it is often the time that people come down with colds and flu. A lot of people reach for orange juice to boost their Vitamin C intake, which is known to help reduce the risk and severity of colds.  However drinking juice is not necessarily the best way of increasing your Vitamin C and in fact could be hindering your goals.
Fruit juice is often in debate about whether it is healthy or not, especially for those trying to lose weight.  If you want to lose weight or are struggling to keep consistent weight loss, the latest advice is to avoid fruit juice.  Fruit juices are high-carbohydrate and high-sugar. Even though they’re “good for you” there are better sources of nutrients with much less sugar (or none at all).  Eat your fruit and vegetables, don’t drink them.  More on why below.

Lastly thank you so much to those who forwarded my email last week on to your friends, family and colleagues. It means a lot that you find my emails useful and that you are helping to spread the word! Always happy to help so do let me know if there's anyone else who you think may benefit :) I'm always open to constructive feedback too if you have any.....

Why is drinking orange juice (and other fruit juices) not a great idea?

The key issue is a lack of fibre. When we eat fruit, the fibre forms a protective layer that acts as a barrier to the intestine, slowing down the absorption of sugar. The high sugar content obtained from the digestion of fruit juice can elevate your blood sugar levels, which in turn stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin.

The more carbohydrates you eat at once, the higher your insulin levels are likely to increase. For example, your insulin levels will increase more after having a large banana and orange juice compared to after eating an egg and glass of milk, which is much lower in carbohydrate. Having other carbohydrates at the same time, such as a  a slice of bread or cereal, can also further increase your insulin levels.  If this blood sugar is not used for activity/body function, it may get stored as fat to use 'later'.  If you are very active or not trying to lose weight, this is not generally a problem as you are using the energy that you are consuming.

Oranges themselves are an excellent source of vitamin C, just one large orange contains a full day’s dose. Vitamin C is critical for producing white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections; it’s also a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from free-radical damage and plays a key role in producing skin-firming collagen. Oranges are also high in fiber and folate.  They contain on average 60 calories for one and 12.5g of sugar, with 116% of your recommended intake of Vitamin C.

Compare this to orange juice:
250ml: on average 25g of sugar, 0.6g of fibre, 125 calories. 200% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin C.
Compare this to 1 slice of wholemeal bread (which people often cut out to try to reduce carbs):
80 calories, 15g of carbohydrates, 2g of fibre.

A better way to stave off colds is to increase your fluid intake, eat more vegetables that are high in Vitamin C (particularly red peppers, kale and broccoli) and sleep more where possible. Take a high dose Vitamin C, Echinacea and Zinc if you feel a cold coming on. 

Please do ask me any questions at all if you want to know more. Let me know if you have any requests for topics for my weekly news.