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Orange vs. Orange Juice - Is orange juice as good as an orange?

Updated on May 5, 2012
- Orange vs Orange Juice, source ifood.tv -
- Orange vs Orange Juice, source ifood.tv -

Many of us drink orange juice as part of our daily breakfast. If we are on the go, a glass of orange juice IS our breakfast, and coffee to go, but of course. The few seconds it takes to peel an orange, is just an unnecessary lost of precious time during the morning rush. What about cutting the orange in wedges? Are you kidding? And who will wash the dirtied knife and cutting board? Instead, we bring an orange for snack, that is if we even have oranges in the refrigerator. Let's face it. It is more convenient to just pour a glass of orange juice instead of peeling an orange.

The question is - Is orange juice as good as an orange?

Let's do a nutritional comparison, shall we?


Nutritional Comparison - Orange vs Orange Juice

Nutrient
Orange, 1 small*, 100 g or 3.5 oz
%DV**
Orange Juice, Raw***, 100 g or 3.5 oz
%DV**
Energy
47 calories
2%
45 calories
2%
Water
86.75 g
 
88.30 g
 
Protein
0.94 g
2%
.070 g
1%
Total Fats
0.12 g
0%
0.20 g
0%
Ash
0.44 g
 
0.40 g
 
Cholesterol
0
0%
0
0%
Carbohydrates
11.75 g
4%
10.40 g
3%
Total dietary fiber
2.4 g
10%
0.2 g
1%
Sugars
9.35 g
 
8.40 g
 
MINERALS
 
 
 
 
Calcium
40 mg
4%
11 mg
1%
Iron
10 mg
1%
.20 mg
1%
Magnesium
10 mg
2%
11 mg
3%
Phosphorus
14 mg
1%
17 mg
2%
Potassium
181 mg
5%
200 mg
6%
Sodium
0
0%
1 mg
0%
Zinc
.07 mg
0%
.05 mg
0%
Copper
.045 mg
2%
.044 mg
2%
Manganese
.025 mg
1%
.014 mg
1%
Selenium
.5 mcg
1%
.1 mcg
0%
VITAMINS
 
 
 
 
Vitamin C
53.2 mg
89%
50 mg
83%
Thiamin
.087 mg
6%
.090 mg
6%
Riboflavin
.040 mg
2%
.030 mg
2%
Niacin
.282 mg
1%
.400 mg
2%
Pantothenic acid
.250 mg
3%
.190 mg
2%
Vitamin B-6
.060 mg
3%
.040 mg
2%
Folate
30 mcg
8%
30 mcg
8%
Choline
8.4 mg
 
6.2 mg
 
Vitamin A
225 IU
4%
200 IU
4%
- Beta carotene
71 mcg
 
33 mcg
 
- Alpha carotene
11 mcg
 
6 mcg
 
- Cryptoxantin, beta
116 mcg
 
169 mcg
 
- Lutein + zeaxanthin
129 mcg
 
115 mcg
 
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
.18 mg
1%
.04 mg
0%

Source: Nutrition Values are based on USDA Nutrient Database SR-21

Click image to view actual size of a small orange

Small orange - 2.5 inches in diameter, source freeclipartpictures.com
Small orange - 2.5 inches in diameter, source freeclipartpictures.com

Footnotes for Nutritional Comparison - Orange vs Orange Juice Table

* 1 Small Orange - approx. 2.5 inches in diameter

** %DV - Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet for adults or children aged 4 or older. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

*** Orange Juice, Raw - Pure orange juice, nothing added.



Summary:

Calorie-wise, both an orange and orange juice are just about the same. However, when it comes to vitamins, minerals, and fiber, an orange is better than orange juice. Here's a quick look at the Vitamin C, calcium and fiber contents of an orange and orange juice, based on the above table.

Vitamin C

  • Orange - 52.2 mg (89% of daily requirement)
  • Orange Juice - 50 mg (83% of daily requirement)

Calcium

  • Orange - 40 mg (4% of daily requirement)
  • Orange Juice - 11 mg (1% of daily requirement)

Dietary Fiber

  • Orange - 2.4 g (10% of daily requirement)
  • Orange Juice - 0.2 g (1% of daily requirement)

The nutritional problem with juice of any kind is that it is extracted from the fruit pulp, which contains most of the fiber and the minerals (calcium, for example) and vitamins (like beta-carotene) that go with it. Overall, whole fruits are a better nutritional bet than juices, and fresh juices are better than frozen.


Conclusion:

So, to answer our question - Is orange juice as good as an orange? The answer is no. Eating an orange is better for you.

However, if you prefer to drink orange juice, next time you go shopping, don't reach for "pulp free." Look for another option... "lots of pulp" is better.


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