You already have enough to worry about, so feel free to cross the type of orange juice you drink off your list. Reconstituted frozen concentrate has about the same amount of most nutrients as freshly squeezed orange juice. Fresh orange juice has more vitamin A, but when it’s fortified, the concentrate is a better source of calcium and vitamin D.
To make orange juice concentrate, juice is squeezed from fresh oranges, then it’s filtered and evaporated to remove the water. Any pulp or nutrients removed during the filtering may be added back into the concentrate before it’s frozen. Freshly squeezed orange juice and juice reconstituted from frozen concentrate both have 112 calories, 1.7 grams of protein and no fat in a 1-cup serving. As long as you buy unsweetened concentrate, they both have 21 grams of sugar. That sounds like a lot of sugar, but its glycemic score of 50 is in the low range, which means it doesn’t have a big impact on your blood sugar.
As an antioxidant, vitamin C prevents free radicals from damaging healthy cells. Free radicals are produced as a normal byproduct of metabolism and in response to stressors such as cigarette smoke or sunlight. If they’re not neutralized by an antioxidant, free radicals kill or mutate cells, cause inflammation and potentially contribute to illnesses such as cancer. If you drink just 1 cup of fresh orange juice, you’ll get 124 milligrams, or 165 percent, of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. The same serving of reconstituted frozen concentrated juice has 97 milligrams, which is 129 percent of your daily value.
The vitamin A you’ll get from orange juice is in the form of several substances known as carotenoids. Your body can convert two of them -- beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin -- into the form of vitamin A that’s needed for vision and that maintains healthy cells in your skin and immune system. Orange juice also contains the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that protect your eyes from damaging blue light. Fresh orange juice has 496 international units of vitamin A in 1 cup, compared to prepared frozen concentrate that has 266 international units. Those values represent 21 percent of your daily value from fresh juice and half that amount from the concentrate.
No matter which type of orange juice you prefer, you’ll get the same amount of fiber, even if you buy brands with extra pulp. One cup of fresh orange juice, as well as a cup of reconstituted frozen concentrate, has 0.5 grams of dietary fiber, which is only 2 percent of a woman’s daily value. The nutrition facts labels on most major brands of orange juice report that the juice doesn’t contain any fiber.
One cup of both types of orange juice has 10 percent of your daily allowance of potassium and 8 percent of magnesium and vitamin B-6. They both have a small amount of calcium, but neither has any vitamin D. Fortified juice reported in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrient database has 17 percent of your daily vitamin D and 35 percent of calcium requirement.
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Orange Juice, Raw
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Orange Juice, Frozen Concentrate, Unsweetened, Diluted with 3 Volume Water
- Harvard Health Publications: Use Glycemic Index to Help Control Blood Sugar
- Harvard School of Public Health: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for 100+ Foods
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin C
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Linus Pauling Institute: Carotenoids
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Orange Juice, Chilled, Includes From Concentrate, Fortified with Calcium and Vitamin D
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.