Study finds 100% orange juice is good as water, sports drinks for exercise recovery

Orange juice
Dehydrated after rigorous exercise? Drink up!

Orange juice is a breakfast staple, but that’s not its only use.

new study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences found drinking 100% orange juice after exercise contributes to hydration equally as well as water and sports drinks.

“There were no symptoms of serious GI [gastrointestinal] distress with the orange juice despite the carbohydrate content and acidity of the beverage,” said Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas and principal investigator Dr. Dawn Emerson. “The results indicate that people can drink orange juice to aid in their rehydration and recovery after exercise.”

Researchers at the University of Kansas conducted the study with funding provided by the Florida Department of Citrus. The study found no differences between 100% orange juice, sports drinks or water with respect to taste preference, thirst level, hydration or gastrointestinal distress after exercise.

Researchers conducted a five-day exercise study with 26 healthy young adults who were moderately trained for endurance exercise. Each day, they cycled on a stationary bike for 80 minutes and then consumed about 8 oz. of 100% orange juice, orange-flavored water or orange-flavored sports drink.

Participants rated the taste of the drinks, thirst levels and measures of gastrointestinal distress — such as reflux or intestinal cramps — immediately after the exercise, after drinking the beverages and after one hour of rest. The researchers measured participants’ hydration status immediately after exercise and after a one-hour rest period.

The findings suggest 100% orange juice is a viable post-exercise strategy. An 8 oz. serving provides carbohydrates and is a good source of potassium.

The U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans found one cup of 100% orange juice counts as a fruit serving. Just one-in-10 Americans meet their daily fruit intake as recommended by the dietary guidelines.

Florida welcome centers could provide travelers a free cup of the state’s homegrown beverage when they cross the state line, through funding tucked in the Senate’s proposed budget. That used to be a staple of travel into Florida for both locals and visitors until budget cuts removed the free juice from Florida Welcome Centers last July as part of a $4.1 million cut in state promotional funding.

Mark Bergin

Mark Bergin is a freelance journalist, who previously worked as an online writer for 10News WTSP in St. Petersburg. Bergin has covered the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium negotiations, the 2018 midterm elections, Hurricane Irma, Tampa Bay’s transportation issues and city/county government. He also covers the NFL for the Bleav Podcast Network and for You can follow his work on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at @mdbergin. Reach him by email at [email protected].


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