As the war on fresh, whole and even raw wages on, juice is often demonized for its sugar content and debatable origins. But a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found the body may uptake oranges’ nutrients better in juice form versus its whole-fruit form (2015;63(2):578-87).
Researchers from the Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology at Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany, looked at five different orange productsfresh orange segments, a puree-like homogenate orange segment, freshly squeezed, flash-pasteurized and pasteurized juicesand determined the carotenoid, flavonoid and vitamin C concentrations in each.
Here’s what they found: Lutein and beta-cryptoxanthin were slightly degraded during dejuicing, whereas beta-carotene levels were retained. Vitamin C levels remained unaffected, whereas flavonoid levels decreased eight-fold upon juice extraction, most likely due to the removal of flavonoid-rich albedo and juice vesicles. Likewise, the presence of such fibrous matrix compounds during in vitro digestion was assumed to significantly lower the total bioaccessibility of all carotenoids from fresh fruit segments (12 percent) as compared to juices (29 to 30 percent). Mechanical disruption of orange segments prior to digestion did not alter carotenoid bioaccessibility, whereas pasteurization of the freshly squeezed juice slightly increased bioaccessibility by 9 to 11 percent.
Given that both carotenoids and flavanoids were more bioavailable from orange juice versus fresh fruit slices or the puree, consumers may think more highly of orange juice.