Orange juice reclassified under Health Star Rating System

 18 February 2021

A decision by the Australian and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation has seen orange juice go from a five-star designation under the Health Star Rating System to as low as two.

It reflects a decision by the Forum to focus on the amount of sugar when classifying food and drinks under the Health Star Rating System which is meant to help customers understand the health benefits of various packaged and processed foods.

While the change has prompted fierce debate, nutritionists and health professionals point out that consuming an orange and drinking a glass of orange juice are two wholly different things with the latter allowing the body to take in the sugar far more quickly due to the absence of the ameliorating effect of fibre.

As ADA Victoria CEO Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft points out, there are a raft of problems with consuming oranges in juice form.

“The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we eat whole fruits, and they don’t recommend that fruit juices can replace whole fruits. In fact, they say ‘Fruit juice should only be drunk occasionally as it is acidic and can increase the risk of dental erosion. Fruit juice also has less fibre and other healthy nutrients than the whole fruit provides.’

“So don’t be tricked by industry claims that fruit juice is a part of a healthy diet to help meet your daily fruit intake.” (Sugar Free Smiles)  

The decision by the Forum to change the rating for orange juice, which Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends shouldn’t exceed more than 125ml (½ cup) per day, is important when you consider figures from the ADA’s Oral Health Tracker show that almost 48% of people are taking in too much “free sugar” in what they drink and eat.

Rethink Sugary Drink,  partnership between the health and community organisations which includes the ADA, is seeking to change the way people perceive and consume sugary drinks, one example being their Full of Crap campaign, targeted as young men, which is currently underway.

For more on the change in rating for orange juice, go to “New orange juice rating lines up with the science, but the stars don’t align for some”