Oranges are a healthy low FODMAP fruit, but what about orange juice?
Is it safe for people with IBS and digestive health issues to drink? Well, the answer is complicated. On one hand, it's a healthy drink that provides vitamins and antioxidants; yet, certain ingredients such as sugar may trigger digestive problems like gas and bloating.
This question isn't straightforward because each person has different sensitivities depending on their level of tolerance.
So How Do You Determine if Orange Juice Is Low FODMAP?
It depends on two factors.
- Processing of orange juice.
- Quantity and quality of oranges you use.
1. Processing of Orange Juice
Monash FODMAP considers freshly squeezed orange juice to be low FODMAP because it contains no additional ingredients or processes. It's all-natural.
It's recommended to take only 125 ml of freshly squeezed orange juice while on a low FODMAP diet.
Therefore, the next time you want to enjoy some juice, try keeping your fructose levels in mind. Reconstituted orange juices made from 25-50% concentrates are high in sugar and can cause digestive distress such as bloating, diarrhea, or abdominal pain if consumed by those with FODMAP intolerance or IBS.
Processed orange juice is made from a variety of ingredients. The main components being orange or citrus fruit pulp, seeds, and concentrate. Additionally, flavorings and color additives are sometimes added to prolong the shelf life of the product.
For people with IBS and gastrointestinal issues, added sugars can trigger some symptoms that irritate the gut lining, like gas, bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
2. Quantity of Oranges You Use
Now that oranges are classified as low FODMAP, does that mean you should eat as many as you like? No.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends two servings of fruit per day. That is the adequate amount that will not cause gas, bloating, and other gastrointestinal complications in the body.
Making orange juice requires many oranges to get the adequate amount you want. In this process, you end up accumulating the amount of sugar in the juice. Remember that oranges contain fructans, which are sugars found in most fruits and vegetables. When eaten in excess they can later cause problems for people with IBS.
The higher the number of oranges used, the higher the sugar level, therefore moderation is advised. That goes for the quality too. The kind of oranges you choose have an impact on the quality of the juice produced. Navel oranges are considered the best for juicing.
If you're a fan of orange juice, the good news is that it's not off-limits. You can still enjoy your glass with some minor adjustments to your FODMAP intake. Combine it in equal portions with pineapple or carrot (or any low FODMAP fruit) on most days.
So, yes, orange juice is low FODMAP. As long as it's not mixed with other high-FODMAP foods like cereal or wheat, you're in the clear to enjoy a glass every now and then without triggering your IBS symptoms. And if OJ isn't enough of an indulgence for you? Check out these 3 delicious smoothie recipes that are also low FODMAP.