It seems like just yesterday families across America were sitting down together at the breakfast table and passing around plates of bacon and eggs with tall glasses of good-for-you orange juice. At least that's the image you got from movies. In reality, many of us stood by the fridge door, late for school, guzzling OJ from the carton like it was nectar from the heavens. Well, these memories may be as outdated as those our parents and grandparents have of Ovaltine breakfasts because fewer people than ever before are buying orange juice, thanks to higher prices and news that it may not be the healthy, cold-fighting elixir we once believed it to be.
In recent years, health experts have added orange juice to its list of beverages -- in which soda is still numero uno -- that are loaded with sugar and lack crucial vitamins and nutrients that many of us assumed they had.
As a pregnant woman with a toddler, I can tell you that both my obstetrician and pediatrician have warned me against drinking fruit juices and giving them to my child because they lack the benefits that are contained in drinks like water and whole milk. It's almost as if they assume soda isn't even worth mentioning -- like, oh, we are so past even thinking you down Pepsi on a regular basis -- but that the dangers of juice are still worth citing because we've been brainwashed for so long into believing they are healthy by slick marketing experts.
I still love my OJ, especially mixed with seltzer. But it's time to pay the piper. Anything as sweet and delicious as orange juice HAS to have a lot of sugar -- it's a no-brainer. I feel like many of us (myself included) fooled ourselves into thinking OJ was healthy because it's flavorful, reminds us of childhood, and, oh yes, it contains oranges in addition to all of that sugar. But it's time to let go of that myth.
Other reasons last year's OJ sales were the lowest in 15 years include the fact that diseases destroyed much of Florida's orange crop, driving prices up, and fewer people are eating breakfast. Guess it's still pretty uncommon to sit down to a dinner of steak and orange juice.
Given the popularity of juicing nowadays, I can't help but wonder if this may have anything to do with it, as well. I feel like everyone I know ran out this year to buy a juicer and we're all concocting these elaborate orange-kiwi-strawberry-banana shakes in our kitchen. When we juice, we have control over exactly what we're pouring into our glass -- and the result is almost always just as delicious, and less saccharine tasting, than OJ purchased in a carton.
Are you an orange juice fan? Have you stopped drinking juice as a result of news about its sugar content?
Image via Mervi Eskelinen aka tasselflower/Flickr