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New research shows no adverse association between change in Body Mass Index (BMI) and consumption of 100 % orange juice among older children adding to a growing list of studies suggesting children and teens can benefit from regularly drinking 100 % orange juice without concerns about weight gain. The four-year longitudinal study published in Pediatric Obesity found that drinking 100 % orange juice was associated with smaller changes in BMI over time in girls, with no significant effect on BMI in boys.

The analysis by researchers at the University of Connecticut and Harvard’s School of Public Health and Medical School included children ages 9 to 16 who were followed from 2004 through 2008.1 The analysis showed there was a clear lack of a connection between orange juice and increased BMI in this age group. One hundred percent orange juice contributed, on average, between 40 to 50 calories to the daily diet while milk contributed almost four times that amount, from 150 to 180 calories. This amount of orange juice represents under 4 ounces per day on average, which falls well below the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which suggests limits for 100 % fruit juice consumption of 8 oz. daily for children over 7. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans counts 100 % fruit juice as a fruit serving and recommends that primary beverages either be calorie free – especially water – or contribute beneficial nutrients, such as fat-free and low-fat milk and 100 % fruit juice.2

“Children in this age group fail to consume adequate amounts of fruit and certain micronutrients such as vitamin C and potassium,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, Director of Scientific Research at the Florida Department of Citrus. “Although the preferred choice is whole fruit, this research supports that moderate consumption of 100 % orange juice can be a beneficial addition to the diet to help meet fruit intake recommendations and is unlikely to contribute to childhood obesity.”

This longitudinal study, funded by an unrestricted grant by the Florida Department of Citrus, adds to the growing body of scientific research supporting the role of 100 % orange juice in adults’ and children’s diets.

  • Another data analysis of nearly 14,000 Americans, ages 4 and older, concluded that people who drink 100% orange juice have lower BMI and healthier lifestyle behaviors than people who don’t drink orange juice.3
  • A longitudinal analysis of more than 7,300 children and adolescents in the GUTSII cohort concluded that 100% fruit juice or OJ intake was not associated with negative effects on body weight, BMI or BMI percentile. In fact, higher OJ intake was associated with greater changes (positive) in height for girls.4
  • A trend analysis for children reported that despite higher energy intakes, there was no significant difference in physical activity levels, percent overweight or obese, or BMI z-score when comparing kids who consume 100 % orange juice versus those who don’t.5
  • A comprehensive review performed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for their Evidence Analysis Library examined the association between 100 % fruit juice intake and weight in children and concluded that the evidence does not support an association between 100 % fruit juice consumption and weight status or adiposity in children ages 2 to 18 years of age.6

Every glass of 100 % orange juice supports overall health and can help adults and children meet intake recommendations for key nutrients they may be lacking in their diets. An 8-oz. serving size contains vital vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin C, potassium, folate, hesperidin and more, with no added sugar. From helping improve diet quality to providing key nutrients that can help support a healthy immune system, 100 % orange juice offers a number of health benefits and can also easily be incorporated into simple, great-tasting recipes.

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 37,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.5 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.

1Sakaki JR et al. Pediatric Obesity. 2021;Mar 1:e12781.
2USDA and USDHHS. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at
3Wang et al. Pub Health Nutr. 2012;15(12):2220-2227.
4Sakaki et al. Public Health Nutr. 2020 Oct 7;1-8.
5Nicklas et al. International Journal of Child Health and Nutrition. 2020;9(3):100-114.
6Evidence Analysis Library (EAL), Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dietary and Metabolic Impact of Fruit Juice Consumption Evidence Analysis Project.

Researchers at Western University are studying a molecule found in sweet oranges and tangerines called nobiletin, which they have shown to drastically reduce obesity in mice and reverse its negative side-effects.

But why it works remains a mystery.

New research published in the Journal of Lipid Research demonstrates that mice fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet that were also given nobiletin were noticeably leaner and had reduced levels of insulin resistance and blood fats compared to mice that were fed a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet alone.

“We went on to show that we can also intervene with nobiletin,” said Murray Huff, PhD, a Professor at Western’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry who has been studying nobiletin’s effects for over a decade. “We‘ve shown that in mice that already have all the negative symptoms of obesity, we can use nobelitin to reverse those symptoms, and even start to regress plaque build-up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis.”

But Huff says he and his team at Robarts Research Institute at Western still haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly how nobiletin works. The researchers hypothesized that the molecule was likely acting on the pathway that regulates how fat is handled in the body. Called AMP Kinase, this regulator turns on the machinery in the body that burns fats to create energy, and it also blocks the manufacture of fats.

However, when the researchers studied nobiletin’s effects on mice that had been genetically modified to remove AMP Kinase, the effects were the same.

“This result told us that nobiletin is not acting on AMP Kinase, and is bypassing this major regulator of how fat is used in the body,” said Huff. “What it still leaves us with is the question – how is nobiletin doing this?”

Huff says while the mystery remains, this result is still clinically important because it shows that nobiletin won’t interfere with other drugs that act on the AMP Kinase system. He says current therapeutics for diabetes like metformin for example, work through this pathway.

The next step is to move these studies into humans to determine if nobiletin has the same positive metabolic effects in human trials.

“Obesity and its resulting metabolic syndromes are a huge burden to our health care system, and we have very few interventions that have been shown to work effectively,” said Huff. “We need to continue this emphasis on the discovery of new therapeutics.”

Whilst we recognise health issues associated with obesity are a serious matter, it’s important to note that obesity is a complex issue with a number of factors and there is no evidence to suggest a tax will reduce obesity.

As an industry we recognise we have a role to play in tackling obesity. Soft drink companies have been engaged in a range of calorie reduction initiatives for many years – resulting in a 19 % reduction in sugar intake (from soft drinks) since 2013. [Kantar]

Current data illustrates that a tax of this sort on a single category will not have a meaningful impact on obesity levels.

Sugar intake from soft drinks has been declining year-on-year since 2013 yet figures from the NHS state that obesity prevalence increased from 15 % in 1993 to 27 % in 2015.

Also, latest figures from NHS Digital show that hospital admissions where obesity is a factor has more than doubled in England during the last four years.

Recent reports from Food Standards Scotland outline that levels of obesity are not reducing and that the decline in sugar from soft drinks has been offset by increases in sugar from other foods. This is underpinned by data from Kantar, which states whilst sugar intake from soft drinks has decreased by 18.7 %, it has increased in frozen confectionery (+ 8.7 %), take home confectionary (+ 2.3 %), and biscuits (+ 1.4 %) since 2013.

We all have a role to play in helping to tackle obesity and we hope our actions on sugar reduction, portion size and promotion of low and no calorie products set an example for the wider food sector.

Source: British Soft Drinks Association

The Mexican market is being driven by health concerns and government reforms have pushed the growth of low sugar, healthy goods as it was announced that Mexico had surpassed the US as the country with the highest child obesity rates in the world. Among adults, in 2011, 70 % of Mexicans were overweight, with 30 % of these classed as obese compared to 68 % and 34 % of US citizens, respectively. This trend is predominantly in the rich, urban areas, with large numbers of children and adults in the poorer, rural regions still classed as underweight.

For adults, the problem seems to be longer working hours, which has led to an increase in ‘on-the-go’ consumption and a rise in the sales of fast foods. However, heightened awareness of the nutritional value of food and beverages has led to growth in the sales of packaged water and value-added drinks, such as drinking yogurt and nectars, which have supplementary calcium and anti-oxidant benefits.

In April 2011, the government declared that it would inform all Mexican children of the risks of obesity and has made this a public health issue, highlighting the seriousness of the situation. As part of this, the sale of any food or drink with an excess of 400 calories is now prohibited in schools. This has led many producers to develop drinks with low-sugar content. It has also resulted in an upsurge in the demand for ‘functional’ juice and nectars, with organic products seeing a rise in sales, despite the higher price, as they are generally viewed as healthier.

The rise in obesity has led to a rise in diabetes, further increasing the demand for low-sugar products. Despite this, low calorie variations of several soft drinks categories saw slow growth in 2011. Low-calorie carbonates grew by just over 1 %, compared to its regular counterpart, which experienced 5 % growth. Low-calorie nectars, however, saw a decline of around 17 % as it lost share to the still sweetened flavored water segment, with many producers introducing innovative new flavors.

In contrast to these negative trends, iced/rtd tea drinks saw exceptional growth throughout the year, as these products are increasingly seen as a healthy alternative to carbonates. Low calorie variants grew by around 26 %.

Additionally, regional juice producers have capitalized on the health trend by offering organic variants of soft drinks and marketing certain flavors as health drinks. Canadean expects the trend of low calorie and low sugar products to continue in 2012 and most soft drinks categories are forecast to see growth. However, this is expected to slow as the second wave of economic malaise affects businesses and consumers worldwide. Competition within the soft drinks market will remain rife, for example: juice versus nectars or carbonates versus iced/rtd tea drinks. The promotion of a healthier lifestyle will be the focus of marketing strategies and campaigns.

The information in this press release is from the report, “Mexico Soft Drinks Market Insights 2012”. More details about this report, please click here.