Shop bought orange juice contains same levels of bioactive compounds as freshly squeezed and delivers more than 90 % of our vitamin C needs in one glass, new study finds
Contrary to concerns – oft repeated on social media – that the manufacturing process destroys the nutritional value of shop bought 100 % orange juice, researchers from leading universities in Spain and Italy …
Contrary to concerns – oft repeated on social media – that the manufacturing process destroys the nutritional value of shop bought 100 % orange juice, researchers from leading universities in Spain and Italy have found levels of polyphenols – valuable bioactive compounds linked to health – are similar in home-squeezed and shop-bought juice.
The study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition*, compared the most popular shop bought orange juices in the UK, Germany, France and Spain against freshly squeezed ‘Navelina’ oranges. It found that while home squeezed juice contains more vitamin C than shop-bought equivalents, this degrades significantly over time and is expected to reach shop bought juice levels after a week.
The study also established that shop bought orange juice contains 94 % of European recommendations for daily vitamin C intakes – set at 90 mg for men and 80 mg for women – meaning only a minor impact on consumers from a nutritional standpoint.
Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables, is essential for human health since it can’t be synthesised by the body and is involved in many biochemical functions including immunity, neutralising free radicals, iron absorption, bone formation and synthesis of collagen. Low intakes can be noticed as poor wound healing and gum inflammation.
Lead scientist in the study, Dr Cristina Viguera from the Department of Food Science and Technology at CEBAS-CSIC, said: “Our research indicates that there’s limited nutritional advantage to spending time home squeezing oranges when you can obtain similar levels of polyphenols and most of the vitamin C you need from a good quality shop bought version.
“We also found that shop bought orange juices preserve their bioactive compounds during storage and the brand, country or manufacturing process made little difference to the polyphenols or vitamin C. Overall, orange juice is still a rich source of vitamin C whether it’s freshly squeezed or purchased”.
*Salar et al. (2024) Comparison of vitamin C and flavanones between freshly squeezed orange juices and commercial 100 % orange juices from four European countries. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38230429/.