Cut the juice loose--give me a substitute!
January 3, 2012 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Is there a substitute drink that contains nutritional benefits similar to orange juice (vitamin C, folic acid, possibly calcium) without the high sugar or artificial sweeteners?

For years, I drank a glass of orange juice immediately after breakfast and before my morning coffee. I stopped last year once I realized that I was having a major blood sugar spike and subsequent crash that was wrecking my mornings. Since then, I feel great--except I've had seven colds in as many months since I quit the OJ. Before that, I'd had one cold in 2 and a half years.

Around the time I quit drinking OJ, I started taking a multivitamin every morning, which, in theory, replaces some of the lost nutrients from the juice. Should I also start taking a vitamin C supplement? I could do this but I do kind of miss the morning ritual of having something yummier than water to drink. Something I could mix up at the beginning of the week and drink every morning would work. I'm sensitive to artificial sweeteners (they give me raging headaches and general upset stomach), so anything containing those is out.

Any suggestions?
posted by Fuego to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Emergen-C is a reasonably tasty vitamin supplement that would probably serve. It does have a bit of sugar but far less than juice, and the flavors are generally fine.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:25 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Have you tried Emergenc-C?
posted by oceano at 7:26 PM on January 3, 2012

Best answer: Yeah, another vote for Emergen-C. I really like some of the flavors, they're low calorie, and I think it's the reason I haven't had a cold in more than 3 years.
posted by rosa at 7:28 PM on January 3, 2012

grapefruit juice provides much less of a blood sugar spike you might want to give it a try and see how your body reacts.
posted by caddis at 7:29 PM on January 3, 2012

Best answer: (it should be noted that grapefruit can effect how drugs are processed in your body, so caution should be taken in adding it to your diet. The list of drugs with grapefruit warnings is longer than you'd think.)
posted by sciencegeek at 7:49 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I also haven't really had a cold since I started taking Emergen-C, approximately 3 years ago. I don't have one everyday. I probably have some once or twice a week. If people around me are sick, I will up my intake to twice a day.

Homemade chicken broth is rich in vitamins, contains calcium and has been shown to boost the immune system. I make a huge batch once in awhile, freeze some, and use it anywhere I can: cook rice and grains in it, use it to flavor stir-fry sauce, make soup, etc. (I think I read somewhere that store bought chicken broth didn't have the same effect, but I still use it when in a pinch)
posted by Milau at 8:22 PM on January 3, 2012

There are other cold fighters than vitamin c. For instance, fresh ginger. Grate some up, put it in a tea ball, and pour boiled water over it. Let it steep and you have ginger tea. It's excellent in the winter (very warming and spicy), good for the stomach and immune system. The bite of the ginger can be cut with a little fresh squeezed lemon juice if you like, thus adding some vit. C.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 10:04 PM on January 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

How about lime juice?

Compare orange juice to lime juice:

lime juice has one third the sugar.
lime juice has two thirds the vitamin C
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:23 PM on January 3, 2012

Just eat whole fruit instead of drinking it. Here's a list of the fruits and veggies highest in Vitamin C.
posted by desuetude at 11:13 PM on January 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Can't you just eat an Orange instead?
posted by mary8nne at 3:15 AM on January 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I tend to drink a lot of those Crystal Light powdered drink mixes. Their orange flavor tastes somewhat like I remember Tang tasting like, and apparently has a full days allowance of vit C:

Obligatory link to their corporate website here.
Obligatory link to the Amazon page to buy the stuff here.

If that doesn't work you could always just stick with Hall's or old fashioned vitamins.
posted by Blue_Villain at 6:21 AM on January 4, 2012

Response by poster: I can't believe that Emergen-C didn't come to mind for me before. I think I might have categorized it under woo-ish supplements like Airborne and therefore didn't really consider it. With the other nutrients it contains, it sounds like it's worth a shot. As for the other suggestions, I'd rather have something cold to drink because a) I also drink coffee and b) I used the OJ to wash down my birth control pill in the morning. So that takes out eating fruit or hot beverages. I also should have mentioned that I avoid grapefruits and grapefruit juice because it messed with the effectiveness of my pills awhile back (thankfully, no unintentional pregnancies, just an out-of-cycle period that came after eating too many grapefruits in a week).

Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions!
posted by Fuego at 7:49 AM on January 4, 2012

Red and yellow bell peppers have more vitamin C than do oranges.

Whole fruit is better than juice, no matter what you're consuming.

Your colds have nothing to do with your consumption of OJ. Old wive's tale.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 8:45 AM on January 4, 2012

Response by poster: ethnomethodologist: I know that the OJ likely has nothing to do with it. But sometimes a placebo effect is better than nothing. As I said, I miss the ritual of drinking something yummy after eating in the mornings and before my coffee. And I am not ruling out the possibility of running an ABAB type experiment of n = 1 on myself comparing the number of colds with and without OJ. If something works for me, I'm not terribly concerned with what the larger scale studies have to say.
posted by Fuego at 8:52 AM on January 4, 2012

IMHO Emergen-C tastes way better than Airborne. So much better. I'm very fond of the Pink Lemonade.
posted by monopas at 6:20 PM on January 6, 2012

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