A new review of fruit juice under Australia’s health star ratings on food and beverage packaging has resulted in the popular drink being reclassified from a 5 star rating to just 2 stars!

How does Australia’s health star ratings work?

Australia’s health star ratings (HSR) uses ratings from ½ to 5 stars to measure the overall healthiness of packaged food and drinks. The ratings system was designed to be a quick and easy way for shoppers to compare packaged food products and make healthier dietary choices.

The more stars on the packaging means it’s healthier. Fewer stars indicate to consumers that the product may contain high levels of saturated fats, sugars and/or sodium (salt) and low levels of fibre and/or protein.

Is orange juice healthy for you or not?

Previously, most 100% pure fruit juices, such as orange and apple, have enjoyed an unbeatable 5 star rating. Orange juice was seen as an integral part of a healthy diet and lifestyle with a wide range of health benefits, including:

  • High in nutrients including vitamin C, folate & potassium
  • Good source of anti-oxidants including flavonoids & carotenoids
  • Helps prevent kidney stones
  • Improves heart health by protecting cardiovascular system
  • Improves digestive health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Fortifies the immune system

But it seems that despite all the benefits, 100% pure fruit juices contain one ingredient solely responsible for their downfall in the eyes of the government’s food regulators – sugar.

Orange juice’s fall from grace explained

According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), Associate Professor Mathew Hopcraft explains that fruit juices can’t replace whole fruits because they are a pulverised form of fruit with less fibre. As such, fruit juices can be highly acidic which increases the risk of dental erosion.

The concentrated natural sugars in fruit juice are also absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream causing a blood sugar spike. Additionally, juice can contain double the calories and carbs as whole fruit, mostly in the form of fruit sugar.

Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that adult consumption of fruit juices should be limited to only 125ml or ½ a cup per day. However, if you really love your oranges and the associated health benefits, try eating them instead!