Sometimes people think a craving for a random food item like orange juice means you are lacking other nutrients.
Other times people feel a food craving means you have an emotional or stress problem. For example, you might be staring at the fridge at night after a big dinner and aren’t even hungry which distracts you from the stress you are feeling after a bad day at work!
In reality, life is complex. Sometimes we crave foods because of emotional reasons, sometimes due to a physical reason.
And then other times you simply need to listen to your body and go have a bite of chocolate! Or in our case today, just go have a glass of orange juice!
With orange juice, the most likely causes behind your cravings are dehydration and being low on blood sugar and/or calories; stress can also be a factor.
Let’s step back and take a look at these various reasons one at a time, along with some other less important likely factors like pregnancy and gut bacteria.
1 – Dehydration
A major cause of liquid cravings is dehydration.
You might be craving juice, coffee, milk, or orange juice because you’re dehydrated.
Your body knows that most liquids hydrate your body. However, not all liquids hydrate your body. For example if you drink coffee, the caffeine content cancels out the hydration effect from the water in the coffee.
When your body is dehydrated, it’s natural for your body to start to crave liquids that it knows will give your body the water it desperately needs.
Orange juice is one of those liquids that does hydrate your body. So it’s perfectly normal for you to find yourself with a craving for orange juice, especially if you’re thirsty.
2 – Low Blood Sugar Or Low Caloric Intake
I remember feeling a little bit nauseous this morning. My stomach was rumbling and growling and I didn’t feel well. I suspected that I had low blood sugar, but I wasn’t quite sure.
Because of my upset stomach I didn’t feel like eating. However, I knew that it would be better for me to get something in my stomach so that it would have something to digest and then I would have energy for later.
Instinctively, I knew that my best choice was orange juice. Orange juice has a lot of sugar and calories so I knew that if I had low blood sugar, then orange juice would help me feel better.
I also knew that orange juice has some calories so that I would have energy for later. If I had skipped drinking orange juice I would have missed out on those calories and I may have felt tired later.
But, in my gut, I knew that orange juice would give my body the sugar and calories it needed to function.
So if you are craving orange juice, it could just be because you have low blood sugar. Plus, if you have low blood sugar there’s a high likelihood that you could be dehydrated as well.
Between needing water and needing more blood sugar, these are the most likely reasons you are craving orange juice.
3 – Stress
Stress is not the most likely reason you crave orange juice, however it can play a significant role in your cravings.
If you are dehydrated, slightly hungry and stressed … well, then you have a combination of factors which makes craving orange juice more likely.
Why does stress potentially lead to orange juice cravings?
For starters, stress is highly related to obesity. For example, in 2018 the research journal “Obesity” published a study showing how people under stress emit more of a hormone called ‘ghrelin’.
Ghrelin has been linked to cravings for sugar and junk food. And what is high in sugar? Orange juice.
Is it good to drink orange juice?
Orange juice is overall fine to drink.
However, in cases where you are craving orange for stress- related reasons, it’s good to step back and assess whether or not you really need orange juice at that moment.
Sometimes when people are drinking orange juice in response to stress, they end up drinking too much. For example, in Overeater’s Anonymous meetings, you might hear of somebody drinking an entire carton of orange juice!
While some orange juice is fine, when you have a craving for orange juice and you find yourself constantly drinking orange juice, it’s best to bring this dilemma up with a nutritionist or eating counselor.
Admittedly, orange juice food cravings can be complex.
If you’re struggling around food or can’t stop thinking about food, be sure to check out my 3 month program to stop binge eating.
The program is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT is considered the first line treatment option for Binge Eating Disorder.
Perhaps the best part about CBT is simplicity! You basically just keep an Awareness Journal around food.
Not a calorie journal or diary, but where you record your thoughts and emotions around food.
It’s simple and really works! For example, you can see this woman here who binged for 40 years and then stopped in a few months.
Get more details here if you’d like to learn more about the 3 month binge eating treatment program.
4 – Other Reasons: Pregnancy, Vitamin C, and Gut Bacteria
There are 3 other reasons that can also play a role in your orange juice cravings (if you’re having any) – pregnancy, vitamin C, and gut bacteria. However, these 3 reasons are secondary.
The primary reasons you crave orange juice are probably because:
- You need some water
- Your belly is a bit hungry and you have corresponding low blood sugar levels
- You’re a bit stressed
Now it’s entirely possible that you are feeling great, no stress in the world, and you’re simply dehydrated or need some food. Or maybe you are dehydrated and stressed, but fine from the food perspective.
Any combination of these variables can be at play. Like I said earlier, food cravings are complex and very situational.
However, if you have accounted for the water, hunger and stress variables and you are still having orange juice cravings, then you may perhaps be dealing with one or more of the following factors:
While in the course of pregnancy, women of course go through many hormonal changes. A pregnant woman is eating for two after all, and she must undergo some hormonal changes in order to tell her body needs to eat more food!
Is craving oranges a sign of pregnancy?
No. There are simply too many other reasons why you could crave oranges. Of course, you may be pregnant too! Pregnancy explains a lot of food cravings. But again, put these variables all together. Are you stressed? Are you eating enough? It’s more likely you are dehydrated than pregnant!
Oranges are an amazing source of vitamin C.
I know that when I get low in certain nutrients, I start to crave foods that contain these nutrients a lot more.
For example, sometimes I realize that I haven’t had any fruit in a few days and then I may come across an apple and the apple is so delicious!
It’s entirely possible that you may also be experiencing some vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Mineral deficiencies could lead to craving vitamin C, and since oranges are high in vitamin C that explains why you are craving oranges.
However, if you are vitamin C deficient, it’s also likely that your diet is not diverse enough. You could easily be dehydrated or you may have low blood sugar too, in addition to needing more vitamin C.
Can you have too much orange juice?
Here’s a question I have been asked over the years.
While I already answered this question above (yes, you can have too much orange juice) sometimes what I think people mean to ask is ‘can you have too much vitamin C’?
Fortunately with vitamin C, it’s difficult to have too much vitamin C because your body will pee out excess amounts of vitamin C.
For example, the common cold over the counter medicine “Airborne” will give you 1000% vitamin C for the day and you’ll be fine. With that being said, you can still have too much orange juice!
Another minor, but perhaps relevant reason, behind orange juice cravings is gut bacteria.
Again, it’s the least likely. However, if you have eliminated all the other variables, then perhaps gut bacteria is at play.
Gut bacteria can make your taste buds change preferences, so that you crave foods that help support those bacteria. And many bacteria crave a nice, sugary environment which could be supported by orange juice.
But rather than giving you too much info about gut bacteria, here’s how you get a variety of gut bacteria in your stomach so that one type of gut bacteria doesn’t get too overwhelming and make you crave orange juice.
You simply try to eat a variety of foods and remove any nutritional deficiencies. In particular, with the gut bacteria that affect cravings for orange juice, it’s recommended that you try eating more foods such as:
Eat these and see if your orange juice food cravings go down. Just be sure that you are also eating enough, getting enough stress relief, and staying hydrated too!
With that being said, let’s wrap up this food cravings article.
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite brand of orange juice is!