Is Tropicana Orange Juice Good for the Heart?

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Oranges are high in vitamin C.
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Tropicana has been manufacturing orange juice since 1947. If you've been drinking Tropicana juice daily and are wondering whether this beloved breakfast staple is good for your heart, here's what you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of Tropicana orange juice.

Tip

Tropicana orange juice contains nutrients that are beneficial for heart health; however it is a concentrated source of sugar and doesn’t contain much fiber, so you’re better off eating the whole fruit instead.

Read more: Why Drinking Juice Isn't Nearly as Healthy as Eating Whole Fruit

Nutrients in Tropicana Orange Juice

According to Tropicana, each 8-ounce serving of orange juice has 110 calories and contains the following nutrients.

Nutrient

Quantity

%Daily Value (Based on a 2,000-Calorie Diet)

Carbohydrates

26g

9%

** Added Sugars**

0g

** Total Sugars**

22g

Protein

2g

Fat

0g

0%

Vitamin C

90mg

100%

Potassium

450mg

10%

Folate

60mcg DFE

15%

Thiamin

0.2mg

15%

Niacin

0.8mg

4%

Vitamin B6

0.1mg

6%

Magnesium

25mg

6%

Calcium

20mg

2%

Vitamin D

0mcg

0%

One cup of Tropicana orange juice satisfies your entire daily requirement of vitamin C. An August 2016 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences notes that this nutrient is a powerful antioxidant and associated with better heart health. According to the University of Rochester, antioxidants like vitamin C fight harmful chemicals known as free radicals and prevent them from harming healthy cells in your body, thereby reducing your risk of diseases.

Tropicana orange juice is also a significant source of potassium. Harvard Health Publishing explains that potassium is an important nutrient for the heart, because it regulates heartbeat, lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of stroke. However, UW Health notes that whole fruits and vegetables are the best way to add potassium to your diet.

Tropicana orange juice also contains folate and other B vitamins. An April 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that folate helps lower your risk of stroke. Another study, published in the January 2016 issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, notes that having low levels of B vitamins is in fact one of the risk factors for heart disease.

While discussing the nutrition in Tropicana orange juice, it's also worth noting that this juice is a concentrated source of (natural) sugar and not a significant source of fiber. According to a January 2015 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the high intrinsic sugar level in orange juice is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Read more: Just Say "No" to That Detox Diet or Juice Cleanse

Advantages and Disadvantages of Tropicana Orange Juice

Drinking Tropicana juice daily can help you meet your daily fruit requirement, especially if you don't particularly enjoy eating fruit. According to the USDA, 1 cup of 100- percent fruit juice qualifies as one serving of fruit. Most people need 1 to 2 cups of fruit per day; however people who are very physically active (more than 30 minutes of exercise per day) may need more. Drinking fruit juice is definitely better than not consuming fruit at all.

Another advantage of drinking fruit juice is better bioavailability of nutrition. The authors of the January 2015 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry note that juicing oranges significantly increases the bioavailability of the carotenoids and flavonoids in the fruit, making it easier for your body to absorb them.

However, drinking Tropicana juice daily has drawbacks as well. According to Tufts University, drinking orange juice is not as healthy as consuming whole oranges, because the juicing process damages the nutrients in the fruit and results in a loss of fiber.

The American Heart Association states that fiber is an important nutrient for heart health because it improves cholesterol levels and lowers the risk of heart disease and stroke. Fiber also promotes satiety, helping you feel full with fewer calories. You're more likely to get full and consume fewer calories when you're eating fruit as opposed to drinking juice.

The Texas A&M University (TAMU) provides another reason why the lack of fiber makes fruit juice less healthy than whole fruit. Dietary fiber slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed in your body.

According to TAMU, the lack of fiber in juice means your body absorbs the sugar in juice very quickly, causing a rapid spike in your blood sugar levels. When your body senses that you have consumed more sugar than you require, it releases insulin. Insulin converts the sugar into fat and glycogen, which are then stored in your body.

Read more: Juices With the Highest Sugar Content

With whole fruit, the slower rate of absorption means that your body can burn the sugar for energy, instead of storing it as fat. It also means that your blood sugar doesn't spike and fall.

While both the TAMU and Tufts University recommend that you opt for whole fruits over fruit juice for these reasons, Michigan State University says that this advice is even more pertinent for people with diabetes. If you have diabetes, you need to balance your carbohydrate (sugar) intake and avoid foods that cause your blood sugar levels to spike.

Your teeth will also thank you for replacing orange juice with whole oranges. The University of California, Davis explains that the sugar content in juice raises the risk of cavities and tooth decay.

With whole oranges, you benefit from all the heart-healthy nutrients the fruit has to offer and avoid the health risks associated with fruit juice. It's a win-win!

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