1. Is it true that acidic foods, such as citrus, should be avoided because they contribute to body acidity which can have negative effects on health, including bladder irritation? see the answer
2. I’ve heard that drinking orange juice may increase the risk for gout. Is this true? see the answer
3. Does 100 percent fruit juice cause or contribute to overweight and obesity in kids? see the answer
4. I’ve heard that citrus is bad for your joints and may lead to arthritis. Is this true? see the answer
1. Is it true that acidic foods, such as citrus, should be avoided because they contribute to body acidity which can have negative effects on health, including bladder irritation?
Although citrus juices do contain significant amounts of acid, these are primarily in the form of organic acids that are metabolized in a manner that does not commonly result in greater acidity in the blood or urine. Consumption of citrus also provides significant amounts of minerals (such as potassium) that, when combined with citrus’ organic acids, also play a beneficial role in the body’s healthy maintenance of normal ranges of blood pH (slightly alkaline, represented by a higher pH).
The body’s maintenance of normal ranges of alkaline pH conditions, organic acid and mineral content in the blood should not be contributory to bladder irritation. In fact, clinical studies report that consumption of citrus juice is associated with more alkaline urine.1-3
We are not aware of clinical studies or evidence that normal citrus consumption has been associated with an increase in acidic conditions in the bladder or bladder irritation.
- Odvina CV. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2006;1:1269-1274.
- Lanford CS. J Nutr. 1942;23:409-416.
- Wabner CL et al. J Urol. 1993;149:1405-1408.
Findings from randomized, clinical trials – the gold standard in study design – suggest that regular consumption of 100 percent orange juice may actually be beneficial with regard to a key indicator of gout.
A recent randomized, controlled crossover study found that men who consumed 2 cups of 100 percent orange juice every day for four weeks had significantly lower concentrations of uric acid than the control group.1 Since elevated uric acid levels are a primary indicator of the incidence of gout, this finding suggests that regular consumption of 100 percent orange juice may actually decrease the risk of gout.
Another randomized clinical study found that consumption of 2 cups of 100 percent orange juice significantly reduced uric acid levels among both men and women. In general, uric acid concentrations were lower when an individual’s plasma vitamin C concentration was higher.2 Elevated vitamin C levels were maintained for as long as the study participants consumed orange juice. Again, this suggests that orange juice does not increase the risk of gout.
These clinical studies suggest that orange juice and its constituents (e.g. vitamin C) may help reduce the risk of gout and may help counteract any negative impact that fructose may have on uric acid levels.
- Morand C et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;93:73–80.
- Sánchez-Moreno C et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78:454-460.
A comprehensive review of studies regarding 100 percent fruit juice intake and increased weight in children and adolescents reported that the preponderance of evidence does not support such an association.1 In fact, this review suggested that consuming 100 percent fruit juice in moderate amounts “may be an important strategy to help children meet the current recommendations for fruit.” In addition, the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that “When consumed in moderation as part of a nutrient rich, energy-balanced diet, 100 percent juice can be a healthy part of a child’s diet.”2
The Florida Department of Citrus supports the juice intake guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggesting a serving size of no more than 4 to 6 ounces for children ages one to six and 8 to 12 ounces for older children and adolescents. 3 One 6-ounce serving of 100 percent orange juice contains fewer than 85 calories. Pediatric health professionals also recommend that parents eliminate drinks with added sugar from the home and replace them with water, milk or 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice.4
Many Americans find it difficult to meet their daily fruit and vegetable serving requirements, and orange juice is a convenient and healthy way to get essential vitamins and nutrients to support good health. Citrus fruit and juices, including 100 percent orange juice, are free of added sugars and contain only the natural sugars found in whole fruit. Citrus juices are more nutrient-dense (i.e., have more nutrients per calorie) than other commonly consumed 100 percent fruit juices.5
- O’Neil CE et al. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2008;2:315-354.
- USDA. Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Page D1-24. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-DGACReport.htm.
- Committee on Nutrition. Pediatrics. 2001;107:1210-1213.
- Advice for Patients. Arch Pediatr Adol Med. 2009;163:400.
- Rampersaud GC. J Food Sci. 2007;72:S261-S266.
4. I’ve heard that citrus is bad for your joints and may lead to arthritis. Is this true?
There is no clinical evidence to suggest that citrus is bad for joints. There is a growing body of evidence that consumption of citrus or the nutrients commonly found in citrus may provide beneficial effects associated with reducing the risks of developing arthritis.1-3 Evidence also supports citrus consumption as being beneficial to maintaining the proper acid/base ratio in the blood, which plays a role in proper bone health. Citrus contains alkaline organic salts such as potassium citrate and potassium malate, compounds that actually help neutralize blood acidity. Maintaining a proper acid/base balance or pH of the blood, helps prevent the loss of calcium from bones.
- Cerhan JR et al. Am J Epid. 2003;157:345-354.
- Pattison DJ et al. J Rheum. 2004;31:1310-1319.
- Pattison DJ et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82:451-455.