Although Americans may not be seen as the most health-conscious by international standards, we do often make an effort to implement lifestyle changes that we think will help us live longer. For example, there are nearly 36.7 million yoga participants throughout the U.S., many of whom partake in this practice to prioritize their mental and physical well-being. And while the average gym membership owner goes to their workout facility only twice per week, at least we try to work out. Every year, millions of Americans go on diets for the sake of losing weight or embracing a more balanced nutritional routine, as well.
But, sometimes, conventional wisdom related to personal health might betray us. You may believe that starting off the day with a nice glass of orange juice will set you up for success. And if you live in Florida, it’s hard to escape the allure of fresh-squeezed juice filled with healthy Vitamin C. But according to recent research, drinking orange juice every day could actually do a lot more harm than good.
Ever since a 1970s advertising campaign drove home the nutritional benefits of fruit juice, we’ve been drinking it down in droves (or groves, as the case may be for Floridians). In 2015, Americans consumed 6.6 gallons of fruit juices per capita. But while eating whole fruit is a great way to obtain essential nutrients, the same cannot actually be said for drinking your fruit. Contrary to popular belief, consuming too much juice might end up derailing your efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle.
For one thing, drinking something with that much sugar content — even natural sugar content — in such a short amount of time can cause issues with your metabolism and blood sugar levels. One recent study even found that people who drink fruit juice and other sugary beverages have an 18% greater risk of cancer development than those who don’t consume these drinks. Although the study did not produce a definitive cause-and-effect link (meaning that there may merely be a correlation between the two), experts say that you still might want to rethink including fruit juice as part of your daily breakfast menu.
Dentists are likely to agree with that sentiment, too. Despite the fact that 127.6 million American adults visited a dentist in 2017, many dental health professionals are quick to point out that dietary decisions can present problems even for those who visit their dentists regularly. Even though fruit comes from the earth, juice can be just as bad for your teeth as soda. Because sugary sodas and fruit juices contain both sugar and acids, drinking them regularly can lead to tooth decay. And since your oral health is directly tied to your overall physical well-being, failing to take care of your teeth can make it much more likely for you to develop serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, respiratory diseases, pregnancy-related problems, and brain degeneration, among others. Ultimately, it’s not only your oral health that you could be risking; you could be putting yourself in harm’s way by failing to prioritize your oral health and by drinking sugary beverages.
Of course, that’s not to say that you can never enjoy a glass of OJ again. If that were true, the state of Florida might be in trouble. But before you mindlessly load up your shopping cart with a new bottle or carton, you might want to switch it up with a healthier alternative — and finally schedule that long-overdue appointment with your dentist. Orange juice and vitamin C may have some health benefits, but they’re not the panacea some people would like them to be.