Buying orange juice has become an exercise in eeny, meeny, miny, moe. On a recent trip to the supermarket, we found 10 versions of best-selling Tropicana alone, including some with added calcium, vitamin E, even fish oil. Do extras change the taste? The price? Do you even need them?
Our trained tasters pitted standard Tropicana Pure Premium against four pulp-free nutrient-spiked versions. (Pulp has little effect on nutrition.)
The verdict? Extras don’t subtract from the flavor or add to the price. The types tasted similar, without chalkiness in the added-calcium version or fishiness in the one with omega-3s. And all have a suggested retail price of $3.64 for a 64-fluid-ounce carton.
Whether the added nutrients make the products much more healthful is another matter. In types, we give our take on each, including Percent Daily Values of nutrients if they are higher than in standard OJ, which supplies 120 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C and 2 percent for calcium.
Choosing orange juice fortified with calcium or vitamin D, or omega-3 fatty acids, can make sense. But other extra vitamins offer few benefits beyond those of standard OJ. Best of all, eat an orange: It has the nutrients of juice and packs fewer calories per serving (about 65 vs. 110).