Is there orange juice without sugar?

Orange juice is a breakfast staple for many people. Its tangy, sweet taste seems like the perfect way to start the day. But with growing concerns about high sugar intake and its health effects, more people are asking: is there orange juice without added sugars?

The Sugar Content of Orange Juice

To understand orange juice without added sugar, you first need to know that all orange juice naturally contains sugar. Oranges are a fruit, and like other fruits they contain natural sugars. The main sugars in orange juice are:

  • Fructose – the sugar found in fruits
  • Sucrose – also known as table sugar
  • Glucose – a simple sugar vital for energy

The amount of natural sugar in orange juice depends on the type:

Orange Juice Type Total Sugars per 8 oz
Freshly Squeezed 11.75 grams
Not From Concentrate 20.83 grams
From Concentrate 21.01 grams

As you can see, even with no added sugars, orange juice is still high in natural occurring sugars. An 8oz glass contains around 20 grams of sugar – similar to a can of soda.

The Difference Between Natural and Added Sugar

Why does it matter whether the sugars are natural or added? The body processes both types of sugars in the same way. But added sugars tend to provide empty calories and no nutritional benefit. They are simply added to improve taste.

Natural sugars in fruit come along with vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. So they provide more nutritional value than added sugars.

However, the American Heart Association still recommends limiting both natural and added sugars. For optimal health, women should aim for no more than 25 grams of total sugar per day. For men, the recommended limit is 36 grams.

It’s very easy to go over these limits if you drink fruit juice. Just one 8oz glass of orange juice contains 21 grams of sugar – nearly the entire daily amount.

The Benefits of Diluted Orange Juice

One way to enjoy orange juice while reducing the sugar content is to dilute it with water. This decreases the concentration of sugars for fewer calories per cup.

Here are some key benefits of diluted orange juice:

  • Lower sugar content – Diluting orange juice 1:1 with water cuts the sugars in half.
  • More vitamins for less sugar – Provides more nutrition and hydration with less sugar than undiluted juice.
  • Lower calorie option – Diluted orange juice has around half the calories of undiluted juice.
  • Easier on blood sugar – Having less sugar helps prevent unhealthy blood sugar spikes.

Studies show diluting juice with water provides hydration and nutrition with less impact on blood sugar levels. Compared to undiluted juice, it results in a slower rise in blood glucose and insulin secretion.

How to Dilute Orange Juice

Diluting orange juice is simple. Here are two easy methods:

  1. Fill a glass halfway with orange juice, then top it off with water.
  2. Mix equal parts orange juice and water in a pitcher. Store in the refrigerator.

Use 100% orange juice without added sugars when diluting. This ensures you get the most nutrition from the orange juice calories you are consuming.

Dilute the juice to your taste preferences. Many people enjoy a 1:1 ratio of juice to water. But you can adjust it to be stronger or weaker.

If plain water dilutes the flavor too much, try sparkling water instead. The bubbles add a refreshing quality to diluted orange juice.

Low Sugar Orange Juice Options

Diluting juice is one way to reduce sugars. Here are some other lower sugar options for orange juice:

Type Total Sugars Benefits
Low Sugar Orange Juice 9 grams per 8oz 30% less sugar than regular OJ
Diet Orange Juice 0 grams per 8oz Sweetened with non-nutritive sweeteners
Squeezed Orange Juice 11.75 grams per 8oz No processing; more natural taste

Low sugar orange juices go through processing to remove some naturally occurring sugars. Diet versions use non-nutritive sweeteners like sucralose to provide sweetness with minimal calories or carbs.

Squeezed orange juice has minimal processing so it retains more nutrition. But it also has more natural sugars than heavily processed commercial orange juice.

Making Orange Juice at Home

Another way to control the sugar content is making your own orange juice at home. Here is a simple homemade orange juice recipe:


  • 4 oranges
  • 1 cup water
  • Ice (optional)


  1. Wash oranges thoroughly and peel off the rind.
  2. Remove any seeds or large white pith from oranges.
  3. Chop oranges into chunks.
  4. Add orange chunks and 1 cup water to blender. Puree until smooth.
  5. Pour orange juice through a strainer to remove any solids or pulp.
  6. Serve over ice or dilute with water as desired.

With homemade orange juice, you control the concentration of sugars based on how much you dilute it. Adding more water decreases the overall sugar content per cup.

Squeezing your own oranges also provides more vitamin C and antioxidants compared to store-bought orange juice.

Potential Downsides of Low or No Sugar Orange Juice

Lowering the sugar content of orange juice does come with some drawbacks to consider:

  • Higher calorie options – Juices with non-nutritive sweeteners provide sweetness with few carbs but can be high in calories.
  • May contain artificial sweeteners – Some people want to avoid sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame.
  • Less sweet flavor – The less added sugar, the less sweetness comes through.
  • Nutrient loss – Filtering juices to remove sugar can also remove beneficial nutrients.

The best way to minimize these downsides is sticking to 100% orange juice and just diluting with water to reduce sugar content. Avoid artificially flavored orange drinks with lots of additives.

The Healthiest Way to Enjoy Orange Juice

What’s the final verdict on enjoying orange juice in a healthy way? Here are some tips:

  • Drink 100% orange juice – Avoid “juice drinks” with added sugars or artificial flavors. Look for 100% juice.
  • Dilute with water – Mix equal parts juice and water to cut the sugars in half.
  • Limit serving size – Stick to 4-6oz diluted juice per day to limit sugar intake.
  • Make your own – Freshly squeezed orange juice has more nutrition than store-bought.
  • Drink slowly – Sip juice over time rather than gulping to minimize blood sugar spikes.

Orange juice can be part of a healthy diet in moderation. Focus on consuming whole fruits, and think of orange juice as an occasional treat. Diluting juice and watching portion sizes allows you to enjoy its flavor while limiting sugar and calories.


All orange juice naturally contains sugar, but there are ways to enjoy its flavor with less sugar. Diluting with water, choosing low sugar varieties, and drinking in moderation are healthy strategies. Making your own orange juice lets you control the concentration. While orange juice does have some nutrition, emphasize whole fruits and limit juice to a 4-6oz serving per day for the healthiest approach.

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