Orange juice is a common breakfast staple enjoyed in the early morning by people all over the world. However, a full night of sleep means your body has been fasting for at least a few hours, and there’s nothing left in your stomach when you wake up. So, is it okay to drink orange juice while your stomach is empty?
Can you drink orange juice on an empty stomach? Drinking orange juice on an empty stomach may overwhelm your digestive system and cause a number of side effects. It’s best to wait until you’ve eaten something first.
Who doesn’t love a cold glass of juice after waking up parched in the morning? Orange juice is a tasty beverage that delivers many benefits; however, it can have numerous ill-effects on your body when consumed in excess. Remember to consume juice and other sugary drinks in moderation.
What Happens When You Drink Orange Juice After Fasting?
Orange juice is a high-fructose beverage, which means it contains lots of “fruit sugar.” The small intestine can’t process large amounts of fructose on its own, which causes it to move into the large intestine, liver, and colon. These organs are not designed to process high amounts of fructose and may suffer damage if they’re forced to process sugar excessively. It’s much healthier and safer to consume sugary drinks with or after a meal.
The high amount of fructose sugar will likely cause your blood sugar levels to spike and crash, just like any other sugary drink. If you consume too much sugar too often, your body may produce extra insulin that can cause inflamed arteries. Problems with the arteries stresses the heart and can cause damage over time, increasing the risk for heart failure, heart attacks, and stroke. This is why sugar intake should always be kept to a minimum and only consumed after meals, never on an empty stomach!
While the orange juice will turn from acidic to alkaline during the digestive process, it will remain highly acidic until it has been fully metabolized by the body. Adding this acid to your digestive system may cause uncomfortable problems while being metabolized, the most common being heartburn. However, it has also been known to cause allergies, gastritis, and even ulcers. Eating food before or during the consumption of orange juice will minimize these side effects and allow you to reap the benefits of orange juice without suffering from the downsides.
What is Contained in Orange Juice?
It takes about three medium oranges to squeeze one cup of fresh orange juice. Most store-bought orange juice isn’t squeezed by hand, however. Oranges are washed and squeezed by a machine, removing the oils and pulp. The squeezed juice is then heat-pasteurized to inactive enzymes and destroy microbes. This prevents premature deterioration and spoilage. In order to prevent oxidative damage to the vitamin C contained in orange juice, the manufacturer may remove some of the oxygen. Before the packaging process, extra juice from oranges harvested at different times may be mixed in. This helps to minimize variations in quality and gives the packaged juices a uniform appearance. Lastly, pulp is added back into certain varieties of the juice.
While the fruit juice has about half the fiber and twice the calories and carbs, drinking the fruit is often more convenient than eating it. One cup of orange juice contains about 110 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 25 grams of carbs, a fairly high amount for just one glass. However, it is also chock full of a number of beneficial vitamins and minerals, including:
|Vitamin A||4% Recommended Daily Intake|
|Vitamin C||137% of the RDI|
|Thiamine||18% of the RDI|
|Vitamin B6||7% of the RDI|
|Folate||11% of the RDI|
|Calcium||2% of the RDI|
|Magnesium||7% of the RDI|
|Potassium||14% of the RDI|
Some brands even sell orange juice fortified with calcium and vitamin D. However, because of the high calorie and sugar content, it is not recommended to drink these juices as the sole provider of these vitamins.
Benefits of Drinking Orange Juice
Orange juice is delicious and available year-round, making it a convenient option to get a serving of your daily fruit quota. Studies suggest that orange juice provides a number of benefits, including improved skin complexion, a decrease in bad cholesterol, and regulated digestive functions.
Orange juice contains a plant pigment called ‘hesperidin’ that has been known to benefit blood vessel function, balance blood pressure, and aid the management and prevention of cardiovascular disease. It also contains antioxidant flavonoids that protect the body from cardiac problems and decrease blood pressure. Studies suggest that the breakfast beverage may increase your HDL (or “good” cholesterol,) and aid in the prevention of recurrent kidney stones and inflammation.
The high level of vitamin C in orange juice is a great boost for the immune system. Additionally, adding vitamin C to your diet helps boost the synthesis of collagen, a protein that provides structure to parts of the body including blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and bones.
If you’re looking to get the maximum amount of benefits from orange juice, make sure you’re choosing a brand that contains pulp. “The fiber in the pulp of orange juice also helps to keep blood glucose and insulin levels stable,” according to Livestrong.
Orange juice may provide additional benefits if you’re expecting. Folic acid, found in orange juice, is especially important during pregnancy to make the extra blood needed to grow a little one.
Downsides of Consuming Orange Juice
Orange juice contains high amounts of sugar, which is always harmful when consumed in excess. The sugary liquid may damage your smile by weakening your teeth’s enamel, and it may leave you exhausted from a sugar crash. The high fructose content additionally may increase the risk of a type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease called steatohepatitis, “which can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer,” according to a 2017 report of a study by Medical News Today.
The high acidic content has been known to commonly cause heartburn, as suggested by a study referenced on Healthline that found that 73 percent of participants experienced heartburn after drinking orange juice.
Orange juice has a high amount of calories per serving that won’t satiate your hunger, especially if you’re drinking pulp-free juice. This suggests that drinking orange juice often may lead to weight gain.
While orange juice has been known to improve complexion, drinking too much may be more harmful than helpful. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology may have found a link between excessive amounts of orange juice and skin cancer. Over one-third of the participants who drank orange juice frequently proved to be more susceptible to melanoma.
Some store-bought orange juice may be sweetened with artificial, simple sugars instead of the healthier complex sugars found in fructose. These kinds of juices can lead to weight gain, an imbalance in your sugar levels, and even joint problems. If you want to choose the healthy option, make sure your fruit juice is composed of 100% juice and no artificial sweeteners.
Orange juice can be a delicious sweet treat to enjoy in the morning, but if you want to live a healthy lifestyle, make sure to enjoy all kinds of juices and other sugary drinks in moderation. However, if you are deciding whether or not it should be in your diet, the many vitamins you get from drinking it should help you realize it is one of the best juices to include.
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