Okay what the actual fork, major orange juice brands?! I'm almost too excited to reveal the major secret these orange juice brands are hiding behind their "100% orange juice" label claims. Because it's insane!
Disclaimer: this does not apply to raw and/or cold pressed orange juice. Raw is a wonderful way to enjoy orange juice in its natural state. Just make sure it's raw or cold pressed, not pasteurized. You want all the same benefits in your orange juice that you would get from simply biting into an orange.
Pasteurization heats up the juice to such high temperatures that it kills all the vitamins and good, naturally occurring enzymes & bacteria that are beneficial for health!
Beyond pasteurization, brands such as Minute Maid & Tropicana have a dirty little secret.
After juicing their oranges, they then let them sit in huge vats for up to a YEAR, with all the oxygen removed. This allows them to have the ability to preserve it and make orange juice all year long. When you remove the oxygen, the flavor goes with it! So before bottling this orange juice and sending it off to your local grocery store, they add back in the flavor with specially formulated "flavor packets." Have you ever noticed that Minute Maid has a very specific flavor and it's very different from Tropicana's flavor? This is why.
They hire flavor and fragrance companies, the very same ones that formulate fragrances for companies such as Calvin Klein and Dior, to engineer flavor packets to add the flavor back in their juice so that it tastes fresh. These flavor packets aren't listed on the label because they are technically derived from orange essence and oil. But if you talk to anyone in the industry, they will tell you that these flavor packets don't resemble anything found in nature. Some even contain artificial sweetener! Have you see the low cal or lower sugar orange juices? They use artificial sweeteners in those!
What should you buy? Raw, unpasteurized orange juice that can be found in the produce section of most major grocery stores. Most grocery stores have a juicer in house and sell freshly squeezed juice that they juiced in the store itself. Or buy a juicer and make it yourself!