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Supercharge Your Day With Orange Juice for Breakfast

orange juice, oj, orange juice nutrition, oj nutrition

Have you ever wondered why orange juice is a staple in the American breakfast? Besides the fact that OJ is delicious and refreshing, there’s surprising scientific rationale to back up the ancient tradition (in America anyway). Also, this only applies to 100% natural orange juice. Orange juice with added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or other artificial sweeteners is never a healthy option.

Orange juice primarily breaks down into fructose during digestion (a type of monosaccharide sugar). All other carbs (i.e. starches, refined sugar, dairy etc.) break down into different combinations of a. glucose and b. other varieties of sugar (lactose, sucrose, maltose, etc.).

When carbs digest they get shuttled by insulin into a combination of 3 different places:

  1. muscle cells
  2. fat cells
  3. the liver

Carbs stored in muscle cells and/or the liver are known as glycogen, carbs stored in fat cells are well…fat! Stored glycogen acts as one of the body’s main sources of energy for exercise, brainpower, and pretty much everything else that you do.

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Here’s the interesting part. Research has shown that when you eat fruit, the fructose tends to primarily fill up glycogen stores in the liver, as opposed to glycogen stores in muscle cells. This is critical because the brain gets almost all of its energy supply from glycogen stored in the liver, which is especially low in the morning after not eating/drinking at all during a long sleep session.

When you sleep you’re essentially fasting for a prolonged period of time–think of how hungry you’d be after 7, 8, or even 9 hours without food…absolutely starving. During this overnight fast the body uses up the liver’s stored glycogen, and leaves it empty like a car without gas.

Empty liver glycogen stores = no mental energy, alertness, and no ability to think clearly. Not good.

The solution? Drink a glass of OJ when you wake up! Bananas, apples, berries, other fruit, and even honey (which is primarily made of fructose) are also really good options to include at breakfast (I love adding berries or a banana to my oatmeal).

Eating/drinking some sort of fruit-based food as soon as you wake up can quickly refill the liver’s glycogen stores and provide a massive surge of energy to the brain–kind of like jump starting a car’s dead battery. Start enhancing your breakfast with a glass of OJ. You’ll wake up, think more clearly, and start the day with a sweet bang. Yum.


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Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto