“Eat some fruit, please!” is a sentence every loving mother will say to their teenage kid, drowning in fast food and sweets.
But after we reach a certain age and our metabolism slows, which means we’re one candy bar away from being overweight, that motherly advice starts to make a lot more sense.
Oranges are one of the more sweet-tasting fruits; in fact, it’s so sweet some people eat it instead of candy, weirdos.
It’s a well-known fact that fruit is allowed on the Paleo diet, but is all fruit allowed, even the one as sweet and potentially sugary as oranges?
That’s what we aim to find out in this article called: can you eat oranges on Paleo?
We strive to keep our articles relatively simple, but this one might make a more scientific turn.
So without further ado, let’s see where we stand with oranges and Paleo.
Can You Eat Oranges On Paleo?
Yes, you can eat oranges on the Paleo diet.
But contrary to popular belief, stuffing yourself full of fruit, especially one as sweet as oranges, might not be the best idea.
The Paleo diet isn’t necessarily a low-carb diet, but in our opinion, it is a low-sugar diet.
The fruit is allowed on Paleo, and we take the stand that it’s healthy under the condition it’s consumed in a reasonable amount.
All that out of the way, let’s see how oranges fare when it comes to nutrition and health.
Oranges – Nutrition Facts
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Why Oranges Are Good For You
Fruits have a lot of health benefits, nothing new there.
However, we shouldn’t focus on one specific fruit and eat only that. Oranges offer something bananas don’t and vice versa.
But what most fruits do offer, almost without exception, is water. Kind of weird to mention it, we’re aware, but this fact often gets overlooked.
Eighty-seven percent of one orange is just water.
Water intake is one of the essential pillars of nutrition.
Inadequate daily amounts can lead to frequent illness, constipation, sugar cravings, poor skin health, fatigue, etc.
Eating fruit will ensure your body gets the appropriate amount needed for functioning correctly.
Keep in mind, though; fruit can’t replace water; a few glasses of water a day are highly recommended.
One large orange, like the one in our nutrition chart, is more than enough for reaching the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
But what about eating more than one? Are you going to get twice as “healthy”?
Well, no. There’s a certain limit to how much vitamin C our bodies can properly synthesize; everything else turns into urine.
It’s sort of like putting too much gas into your car; at one point, it’s going to start dripping out.
But that isn’t the only reason why eating 15 oranges a day isn’t recommended.
When on Paleo, you’re not going to be eating that many carbs.
This means your body needs less vitamin C.
The reason is that glucose ( found in carbs) is of a similar structure to vitamin C. Your body isn’t able to tell which is which.
The more carbs you eat, the more vitamin C you need.
But that’s a very black and white explanation, and when it comes to the human body, things are rarely that simple.
So, let’s dig a little deeper here, see what we might find.
Why You Shouldn’t Eat Too Many Oranges
Just because oranges contain carbs doesn’t mean they’re necessarily bad for you.
Yes, we said that carbs impair your vitamin C absorption, but the fiber in fruit makes that argument pretty much obsolete.
More on that later.
However, eating too many oranges can indeed make you go over the recommended amount of carbs, not just oranges, but fruit in general.
Too much fruit can cause diarrhea, reflux, heartburn, and bloating.
Adding to that, if your diet mostly consists of fruit, you’ll miss out on some other minerals fruits don’t contain.
Paleo revolves around nutritious food, but it also encourages food diversity. Don’t be a food racist; eat something new from time to time.
The nutrition chart for one large orange shows there are 17.5 grams of sugar in it.
Now, that is some pretty serious amount, but there’s not just one type of sugar, there’s three, and not all sugars are the same.
This is your typical table sugar, what we put in our coffee, cookies, cakes, and whatnot.
Sucrose is a disaccharide, basically half fructose and half glucose.
It can be found in pretty much anything nowadays, but it’s also present in fruit; keep in mind, it’s present, not added to fruit, big difference.
Glucose is a monosaccharide.
The problem with glucose is that it spikes your blood sugar level more abruptly than other sugars.
It’s what carbohydrates are made of, and it’s also added to a lot of processed foods.
Fructose is also called “fruit sugar”.
It’s found in honey, fruit, and root vegetables.
High fructose corn syrup is what manufacturers add to processed foods.
Fructose is the sweetest of the sugars and probably the most abused one because of it.
High fructose corn syrup poses a severe risk to health, and it’s found in too many foods in the US.
But if it’s called fruit sugar, it has to be in oranges, right?
That’s right; however, there’s something that keeps the sugars at bay from wreaking havoc on your body like the processed ones tend to do.
Sugars And Fiber
You’ve probably noticed in the chart that there are around 4 grams of fiber in a large orange.
Fiber allows us to eat an item, such as orange, with around 17 grams of sugar and not have an insulin spike that will make us crave more sugary food.
This is one of the reasons Paleo works for so many people.
Not because of fiber necessarily, but because of lack of processed sugar.
So when you eat an orange, the fiber that’s in the orange prevents the blood sugar spike you would get from a snickers bar, for example.
That’s also why it’s much easier to eat five snickers bars in a row than five oranges; fiber keeps you satiated, processed sugar makes you crave for more.
There’s one thing to keep in mind, though.
When on paleo, the majority of foods you’ll be eating, besides fruits and veggies, don’t have that much fiber because they don’t need it.
So don’t worry if the nutrition label on a pack of salmon says zero fiber, go ahead and buy it.
Orange Juice Vs. A Whole Orange
Now, let’s discuss the elephant in the room, orange juice.
Should you have it?
You should not, plain and simple; we would even say that people who aren’t on Paleo shouldn’t have it.
Remember the fiber we mentioned and how it helps regulate blood sugar and keeps all those sugars at bay?
Well, when you squeeze an orange, you also squeeze out all of that fiber with it.
The glycemic index(GI) for orange juice is around 70. That means it’s a high GI beverage, one that can potentially make you overweight.
Don’t get us started on the store-bought orange juices; this is theuskitchen.com, after all.
Fret not, though; there is a solution for all those who prefer their food in the least solid-state possible.
Smoothies are a good, healthy alternative to orange juice.
When you make a smoothie, a proper smoothie, you preserve that all-important fiber in the fruit.
You’re free to add any fruit to the smoothie and get the most benefit.
But to make sure you’re not eating oranges that have gone bad, we recommend you read our “How long do oranges last?” article.
Can You Eat Oranges On Paleo – Conclusion
This one had a few sciency terms and explanations here and there, but we felt it was important for you to see the big picture.
You’re free to eat oranges on Paleo; it is even encouraged.
However, we don’t recommend you overeat fruit on this diet.
Keep it reasonable. Although it would be tough for you to go over the carb limit, it’s still possible.
Stick to whole oranges and stay away from juices.
The fiber that’s in the orange is vital to keeping your blood sugar in check when you eat it; it is a relatively sweet fruit, sweet-tasting, that’s for sure.
Smoothies are allowed as they retain the necessary fiber.
All in all, keep your diet diverse, don’t eat just one thing, stay away from a lot of sugar, and you should be as good as any Paleo person can get.