Is Orange Juice Good For Weight Loss? Here’s The Truth To Know 2023

Ellie Busby

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

is orange juice good for weight loss

Many of us enjoy a glass of orange juice (OJ) in the mornings. But if you’re trying to lose weight, you might wonder if a glass of orange juice is helping or a hindrance. So, is orange juice good for weight loss, or is it stopping you from getting into shape?

Orange juice can promote healthy weight loss, but not in the way you think. While it won’t help you lose weight on its own, the lifelong benefits of orange juice might surprise you. Read on to find out how orange juice can contribute to long-term, sustainable weight loss.

Is Orange Juice Good for Losing Weight?

Scientists used to think orange juice had weight loss-promoting benefits. More recent studies suggest orange juice doesn’t lead to weight gain but doesn’t help you lose weight either. But that’s in the short-term – so is orange juice good for weight loss long-term?

Orange juice might help[1] you achieve sustainable weight loss by balancing your blood sugar.

Blood sugar highs and lows trigger insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Both are linked to weight gain – especially around your belly.

So, orange juice may help reduce your risk of later-life weight gain due to insulin resistance. But the type of orange juice you’re drinking is crucial to get the benefits. Some types could be doing your body more harm than good.

Read on for a deeper dive into the nutrition of different types of orange juice.

Orange Juice Nutrition

Orange juice isn’t as rich in nutrients as whole oranges[2], but it can still add important nutrition to your diet. However, it’s important to note that you’ll get different nutrients depending on the type of orange juice you buy.

Here are the most common types of orange juice and their nutritional benefits.

100% Orange Juice

is orange juice good for weight loss

Pure orange juice[3] is high in polyphenols, vitamin C and carotenoids. These are all antioxidants and are especially important for:

  • Lowering inflammation
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Improving immune function

These antioxidants also mean orange juice is good for your skin. Some antioxidants in oranges can even protect you from certain cancers[4].

Orange juice is also a good source of folic acid, important for fertility and reducing pregnancy complications.

Make sure to go for 100% orange juice not concentrate, with no added sugar.

Sicilian Blood Oranges

is orange juice good for weight loss

If you can spend a bit more, Sicilian blood orange juice is a great option. It has extra antioxidants and might be better for your health[5].

However, most research comes from blood orange extract in fruit supplements, not the juice. So it’s hard to say what the benefits of drinking blood orange juice are.

Fermented Orange Juice

Fermented Orange Juice

If you’re into your healthy foods, fermented orange juice[6] might be for you. It has the added benefits of good bacteria for a healthy gut, plus higher levels of nutrients. Studies show[7] that fermented OJ may be especially good for preventing cardiovascular disease.

But do these nutrients mean orange juice is good for weight loss? Read on to find out.

Benefits of Orange Juice for Weight Loss

Most of the health benefits of orange juice seem to be down to its antioxidants, but can orange juice help you lose weight? Let’s look at a few different types of orange juice and see how they can help.

Orange Juice for Weight Loss

We know orange juice can lower cholesterol levels and balance blood sugar. But scientists thought one specific antioxidant in oranges could aid weight loss: hesperidin

However, a recent meta-analysis[8] showed hesperidin supplements didn’t help with short-term weight loss. And neither did orange juice. So normal orange juice may only be helpful for long-term metabolism benefits.

Blood Orange Juice for Weight Loss

On the other hand, the extra antioxidants in blood orange juice could make it good for weight loss. They’re called anthocyanins, and studies show they might help reduce body fat accumulation[9]. However, we need to confirm this with bigger studies.

Moro Orange Juice for Weight Loss

Moro orange is another type of red orange particularly rich in nutrients such as:

  • anthocyanins
  • hydroxycinnamic acids
  • flavone glycosides
  • vitamin C

Studies show Moro orange juice extract improves weight loss after four weeks[10], and even up to six months[11]. However, these studies used extracts from the juice, not the orange juice itself. So we need more research on the impact of drinking Moro orange juice on weight loss.

Are Clementines Good for Weight Loss?

There’s another way oranges can help weight loss – by stopping you from eating less healthy foods. When you’re feeling stressed, you’re more likely to eat unhealthy foods high in calories, fat, or sugar. This is called “emotional eating,” and it’s associated with weight gain.

So some scientists[12] wondered: what happens when we give stressed-out women a clementine instead of a cookie? They found neither the cookie nor the clementine reduced stress levels, but at least the clementine helped the women avoid comfort eating high-calorie foods, which could lead to weight gain. 

How To Make Orange Juice Part of Your Diet

It’s easy to go overboard with orange juice, so here are our tips on making orange juice a healthy part of your diet.

Avoid Added Sugar

is orange juice good for weight loss

With orange juice, you get what you pay for. Cheaper orange juices are usually made from concentrate and have more sugar.

Drinks with added sugar[13] increase something called uric acid in your body. High uric acid isn’t good because it’s linked to weight gain[14]. So go for fresh 100% pure orange juice without added sugar to get the best benefits.

Go for Whole Fruit if Possible

Go for Whole Fruit if Possible

Some people say orange juice is bad because it’s got more sugar and less fiber than whole oranges. They’ll usually tell you to eat a real orange instead.

That’s partly true, but studies show that people are much less likely to eat oranges than drink orange juice. So, overall, they’re missing out on all the nutritional benefits oranges can offer.

Experts say the benefits of orange juice[15] are worth consuming more natural sugars. So always opt for eating a whole orange when possible, but drinking orange juice is the next best thing.

Drink Up to 500 ml per Day

Drink Up to 500 ml per Day

The guidelines[16] in the United States (US) and European Union (EU) suggest drinking 75-224 milliliters (ml) per day. They say this amount doesn’t increase your diabetes or heart disease risk. But drinking up to 500 ml per day[17] seems to have more benefits, including:

  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • Better blood sugar balance
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of stroke

Make sure you don’t overdo it, though – too much fruit juice might lead to health problems[18] later in life such as an association with high mortality.

But how much orange juice you drink isn’t as important as when you drink it.

Only Drink Orange Juice with Meals

Drink OJ with Meals

It turns out you can’t just drink orange juice any time you want. If you drink juice on an empty stomach it can cause a spike in blood sugars.

One study[19] showed drinking orange juice with meals reduced body fat but drinking it between meals increased body fat. So only drink orange juice with meals for better weight loss and blood sugar control.

However, this comes with a caveat…

Don’t Replace Water

Don’t Replace Water

Drinking orange juice with breakfast may not be as good for weight loss as drinking water. Scientists found orange juice slowed fat oxidation when they gave people orange juice vs water with breakfast. Water, on the other hand, increased fat burning. So make sure not to skip on the water – especially with your breakfast.

Summary: Is Orange Juice Good for You?

All in all, drinking orange juice offers more health benefits than risks[16]. It’s also a good source of several nutrients, especially vitamin C and folic acid.

Orange juice might aid weight loss by lowering inflammation, and by affecting blood sugar control. However, just drinking more orange juice won’t help you lose weight on its own. You’ll need a well-planned healthy diet with plenty of physical activity for healthy, sustainable weight loss.

+ 19 sources

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Ellie Busby

Written by:

Ellie Busby, MS, RDN

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Ellie Busby is a Registered Nutritionist (MSc, mBANT) and nutrition writer. She holds a bachelor's in Chemistry and a Masters in Nutrition. Ellie specializes in plant-based nutrition for health and fitness. She is also the Founder of Vojo Health, a personalized nutrition service based on genetic testing.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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