How Much Sugar is in a Glass of Orange Juice?

How Much Sugar is in a Glass of Orange Juice?

Whether you’re enjoying a glass of OJ with your breakfast in the morning or ordering bottomless mimosas with your friends, that delicious, citrus beverage is a staple around the world. The best part? It’s packed with good stuff like vitamin C, antioxidants, and more. 

Unfortunately, though, you’re also getting quite a bit of sugar along with all those benefits. Just how much sugar is in a glass of orange juice depends on the specific brand, with fresh-squeezed OJ being the best option.

We’ll talk more about the sugar content in orange juice below and show you why this drink is best enjoyed in moderation, along with some insights on whether or not sugar-free orange juice is really worth the squeeze (pun intended!).

Why We Love a Good Glass of OJ

Before we get into the orange juice sugar content, let’s look at why this delightful drink has been enjoyed as a breakfast staple (and truthfully, enjoyed throughout the day by many) since the late 1940s when it was first introduced:

  • Rich in Vitamin C: This vitamin supports immune system function, skin health, and iron absorption. A single serving can provide more than 100% of the daily recommended intake, helping to ward off colds and support overall health.
  • Packed with Potassium: Regulates blood pressure, which can contribute to cardiovascular health and help maintain electrolyte balance in the body.
  • Contains Folate: Especially important for pregnant women, but encourages cell growth and metabolism across all humans. It supports fetal development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects.
  • Loaded with Antioxidants: Flavonoids like hesperidin have antioxidant properties. These compounds fight free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
  • Natural Hydration: Its high water content makes it a natural source of hydration and a pleasant way to meet your daily fluid intake, especially when served cold on a hot day.
  • Sweet and Energizing: The natural sugars in orange juice provide a quick source of energy, making it a popular choice for a morning boost or a sweet treat.

However, we need to look at the potential downside of OJ as well. While the natural sugar can give you a quick lift, sugar has a myriad of consequences too. So, does orange juice have sugar?

Does Orange Juice Have Sugar, Though?

There’s so much to love about OJ, from the health benefits to the delicious, refreshing flavor. Does orange juice have sugar though? After all, it’s derived from fruit - and all fruit has sugar. So, yes. 

The key is in distinguishing between natural sugar and added sugar, which is where the conversation gets a bit more tricky. So, how much sugar is in a glass of orange juice? 

How Much Sugar is in a Glass of Orange Juice?

We’ll break down the orange juice sugar content based on storebought and fresh-squeezed varieties to help you set your expectations and understand what you’re putting into your body.

Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice Sugar Content

Fresh-squeezed orange juice, made directly from oranges without any added ingredients, typically contains about 20 grams of sugar per 8-ounce glass. 

The exact amount can vary depending on the type of oranges used and their ripeness. Since nothing is added during the squeezing process, the sugars are all naturally occurring, which many people prefer for health reasons.

Storebought Orange Juice Sugar Content

Store-bought orange juice often contains about the same amount of natural sugars as fresh-squeezed, typically ranging from 20 to 25 grams per 8-ounce serving. 

However, reading the label will reveal what you’re actually getting. Some brands add extra sugar to enhance flavor, especially in “cocktail” blends or those not labeled as 100% juice, which can increase the sugar content. 

On the other hand, some brands offer “no added sugar” options, which contain only the sugars naturally present in the oranges. This is why taking a brief moment to review the nutrition facts of any juice you’re buying is so important.

Is the Sugar in Orange Juice Something You Should Be Worried About?

Now, let’s talk about what the sugar content in orange juice actually means for you. Do the health benefits outweigh the sugar content, or is it the other way around? 

We’ll unpack the consequences of sugar consumption and show you why when enjoyed in moderation, OJ can be a healthy drink every once in a while.

Problematic Health Effects of Sugar Intake

Even though the sugars in orange juice are natural, they can still cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This presents a challenge for individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance, complicating the management of blood glucose levels. 

Even for those without existing health conditions, regular consumption of high-sugar beverages can lead to increased insulin resistance over time.

But blood sugar aside, the caloric intake of OJ can be astounding - and this is a direct result of the sugar content. An 8-ounce serving typically contains between 110 and 130 calories, all of which come from sugar.

While this might not seem like a lot, multiple servings throughout the day can significantly increase caloric intake, potentially leading to weight gain if these calories are not offset by physical activity or other dietary adjustments.

The dental decay associated with sugar is a problem as well. Sugar interacts with bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that can erode tooth enamel, leading to dental decay. This can increase the risk of cavities, especially in children if the teeth are not brushed afterward.

Everything in Moderation

As with most things in life, the sugar in orange juice is only a problem if you consume it in excess. You should not look at orange juice as a substitute for whole fruits, which contain dietary fiber and other health benefits.

However, there’s nothing wrong with a glass of orange juice on the weekends with your breakfast, or the occasional mimosa. Just like the sugar in soda or the boba sugar content, it’s ok to spoil yourself from time to time!

Is Sugar-Free Orange Juice Really Any Better For You?

Ok, so the sugar content in orange juice is concerning…but you look forward to that refreshing glass each and every morning. So, should you consider switching to a sugar-free orange juice instead? Does something like this even exist?

Yes, low-sugar orange juice or even completely sugar-free alternatives are out there, typically right next to the traditional OJ in your grocery store. These have had their natural sugar content removed through processing and will put artificial sweeteners in their place.

This means you’re getting all the great benefits of orange juice without the sugar consequences and caloric content that comes along with it. But, are these actually better for you? After all, the use of artificial sweeteners in sugar-free orange juice raises health questions. 

While these sweeteners are approved by health authorities and are generally considered safe, ongoing debates and studies suggest potential health risks. The most noteworthy are the possible impacts on gut health and associations with increased sugar cravings and appetite.

We’ve talked extensively about these common alternatives in our blog, such as stevia vs sucralose vs aspartame. Whether or not these are a “healthier” alternative to sugar is very much still up in the air.

It’s also worth noting that the process of removing sugar from OJ can lead to the loss of some of the key health benefits we referenced earlier. Some sugar-free orange juices might have added nutrients to compensate for processing losses, but they can still lack some of the whole fruit benefits, such as fiber.

So while sugar-free orange juice sounds great in theory, it may not be worth it in the end. You’re better off enjoying the real thing - fresh squeezed orange juice - in moderation. Or, consider some of these alternatives below!

Alternatives You Can Try

Nothing can replace the naturally delicious flavor of OJ, but there are plenty of other low sugar drinks you can instead. In fact, two of our personal favorites are right here at Oobli waiting to be discovered!

Our low-sugar tea is a prime choice for those seeking a refreshing beverage with minimal sugar. Each can is crafted with real tea and sweetened with natural sweet protein, which are 5,000% sweeter than sugar, so we don’t need to add nearly as much sugar for the same great flavor. 

So, how much sugar is in sweet tea at Oobli? Up to 75% less sugar than other sweet teas at just 4g per serving! Plus, you’re getting 200mg of antioxidants and 55mg of caffeine for a healthful boost without the sugar crash.

If you prefer something a bit sweeter, though, you’ll love our lemonade. Its craft-brewed with the same sweet proteins as our sweet tea, for 80% without using alternative sweeteners.

Real fruit enhances the flavor, ensuring that you enjoy all the lemonade delight with minimal sugar. We even have low-sugar chocolate if you’re worried about the sugar in chocolate but have a sweet tooth that demands satisfaction!

Beyond our own products here at Oobli, there are many other great OJ alternatives to consider - such as: 

  • Sparkling Water with a Splash of Juice: Combining sparkling water with a splash of natural fruit juice offers a low-calorie, refreshing drink with a hint of sweetness.
  • Herbal Iced Teas: Unsweetened herbal iced teas provide a variety of flavors without any sugar, perfect for hydration on hot days.
  • Infused Water: Create your own by infusing water with slices of fruits, vegetables, and herbs such as cucumber, lemon, mint, or berries for a zero-calorie refreshment.

You can not only keep things fresh and fun with all this variety, but you can rest assured you’re prioritizing your health and wellbeing. So, shop at Oobli today to taste the difference and see what the hype is all about as we wrap up our guide to how much sugar is in orange juice.

Closing Thoughts on How Much Sugar is in Orange Juice

While there’s no denying the health benefits and delicious flavor of OJ, the orange juice sugar content can be a cause for concern - especially for those worried about cavities, blood sugar, or weight. 

So, how much sugar is in a glass of orange juice? Fresh squeezed OJ can have up to 20 grams of natural sugar, while storebought varieties can range from 20-40g of sugar per serving. When enjoyed in moderation, though, there’s not too much most people need to be worried about.

Want to learn more about how much sugar is hiding in plain sight? We’ve written similar resources on many of your favorite drinks: 

But you don’t need to worry about the sugar content when you buy flavor-packed drinks at Oobli! We’re leading a sweet revolution, and we hope you’ll join us. Shop now and indulge in delicious beverages that don’t compromise on your health and wellness!!

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