BARTOW – A recent study examining differing levels of 100% orange juice consumption among adults adds to a growing body of research supporting the role orange juice can play in an overall healthy diet, as it is associated with improved nutrient intake and diet quality while not adversely affecting overall body weight.
Published in the Global Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, the cross-sectional analysis of National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data collected from 2003 to 2016 of 35,148 adults compared orange juice consumption with nutrient intake, diet quality, fruit consumption, and weight parameters. The data showed that as orange juice consumption increased, participants had higher intakes of key nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have identified fiber, potassium, calcium, and vitamin D as nutrients of public health concern.
Consistent with previous research, this analysis, which was funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, showed that orange juice consumers have significantly lower body mass indexes (BMI) and are less likely to be overweight or obese, even though they consume more calories than non-consumers.
“Once again, we have research to support that orange juice has a place in a healthy diet for adults and should be encouraged for its contribution of key nutrients,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, Director of Scientific Research for the Florida Department of Citrus. “The results of this observational study are just the latest evidence pointing to the fact that orange juice does not negatively impact weight and may, in fact, be associated with healthier habits overall.”
Additionally, this study showed no significant correlation between orange juice intake and whole fruit consumption. Though contrary to some past research that found associations between higher orange juice consumption and higher intake of whole fruit, this data suggests the consumption of orange juice is not displacing whole fruit from the diet since whole fruit consumption did not decrease at higher levels of orange juice intake.
The overall consumption of orange juice is low as data showed only 13 percent of participants consumed some amount of orange juice. Previous research reported that between 2003 and 2016, orange juice and 100% fruit juice consumption trends declined with a correlating decrease in the intake of some nutrients.1
NHANES data and analyses are important sources to help inform dietary policy in the United States and therefore remain important components of the research body of evidence. However, observational studies have limitations as they cannot show cause and effect but only associations. In this case, dietary data collected from participants was memory driven and the potential for misclassification of 100% fruit juice with other drinks and beverages exists. It also makes it difficult to determine how other foods consumed may or may not affect results.
In a deviation from previous research, more participants of this study aged 51 years and older who consumed orange juice were likely to be overweight than non-consumers in that age group. The exact cause of this cannot be determined due to the limitations of observational studies.
While slight differences between studies are to be expected, the overall body of research on this topic remains supportive of the role 100% orange juice plays in the diet of adults. The Florida Department of Citrus continues to fund research projects to examine the nutrition and health benefits of orange juice.
About the Florida Department of Citrus The Florida Department of Citrus is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. Its activities are funded by a tax paid by growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs more than 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services. For more information about the Florida Department of Citrus, visit FloridaCitrus.org/newsroom.