In the past year or so I’ve seen lots of online discussion about the nutritional value of juice, and the role that it may play in obesity and weight management. Although there are a lot of good nutritional arguments against juice consumption, they are all a bit abstract (for a quick review of the main arguments, click here). We can tell people again and again that orange juice is the nutritional equivalent of Coke, but when they look at at a glass of orange juice, it still looks like a glass of healthy sunshine.
I’ve started to realize that as good as those nutritional arguments are, they don’t always overcome the emotional attachment that many people have for juice. But recently I realized that there actually isn’t that much juice in a single orange or apple. So I started to wonder just how many oranges it takes to make the equivalent of one bottle of juice. This led me to try a little experiment, and if you have a friend or family member who refuses to give up the “juice is healthy” mantra, this might be fun for you to try at home.
To do this experiment at home, you need a few things:
- 1 measuring cup
- 1 cutting board
- 1 knife
- 10 oranges
- 1 bottle of orange juice
The experiment itself is pretty simple. I measured out the amount of juice in 1 bottle of orange juice (450 ml or 15.2 fluid ounces), and then saw how many oranges it took to create that volume of juice (ok, so I used the term “experiment” pretty loosely).
For anyone who is curious, here is the amount of orange juice in one organic navel orange.
Pretty pathetic, no?
So I pushed on, until I had 450 ml of juice. In the end it took six oranges to equal one bottle of orange juice. Here is the proof:
I’d like to point out that I juiced all those oranges by hand, which is a surprisingly good workout!
To me, this is by far the most intuitive reason to try to limit the amount of juice you consume. You would never consider sitting down and eating 6 oranges in succession – that is obviously far more orange than anyone needs in the entire day, let alone a single sitting. But when you drink a bottle of orange juice, that is essentially what you’re doing. You are also missing out on all the fibre that is in those oranges (even the “Lots of Pulp” style has 0 grams of fibre per serving, compared to 1.2-2.4 grams in a regular sized orange). And last but not least, liquids are pretty much always less filling than solids. If you want a nutritional mantra, “don’t drink your calories” is a pretty good one, and that definitely includes juice. Of course you’re probably not going to cut juice completely out of your life (I certainly haven’t), but keeping it in moderation, and swapping it for water whenever possible, is a good step in the right direction.