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Mandarin orange vs Orange - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan by Victoria Mazmanyan | Last updated on November 29, 2020
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Mandarin orange
vs
Orange

Summary

Oranges have fewer calories, fats, and carbohydrates but more protein and fiber than mandarins. Oranges are also richer in vitamins C, B1, B2, B5, and B9, whereas mandarins contain higher vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B3, and vitamin B6 concentrations. Mandarins are higher in iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, while oranges contain more calcium and potassium.

As part of the Citrus genus, both fruits are rich in phytochemicals such as flavonoids and carotenoids, because of which they express cardioprotective, antidiabetic, and anti-cancer qualities.

Overall, oranges win in the nutrition category; however, both fruits have various health benefits, and at the end of the day, the choice greatly depends on personal preference.

Introduction

Oranges and mandarin oranges may seem like two different sizes of the same fruit. Belonging to the same Rutaceae family and Citrus genus, they do have a lot in common; however, they have their differences too.

It is assumed that orange is a hybrid between pomelo and mandarins. The first mention of sweet orange in history was recorded in Chinese literature in 314 BC (1). Sweet oranges are the most popular type of citrus in the world.

Mandarin oranges visually differ from oranges by their size and shape, being smaller and less round. The taste is often sweeter than that of an orange. As the ancestor of sweet oranges, mandarins have naturally been around for longer.

Sweet orange usually has a thick rind, and inside, there is the white and bitter mesocarp, whereas the rind of mandarin orange is much thinner and the lesser amount of mesocarp makes it much easier to peel. The endocarp of both fruits is separated into segments. Mandarin oranges contain much fewer seeds as opposed to sweet oranges.

People often use the words mandarin, tangerine, clementine, and satsuma interchangeably. However, tangerines, clementines, and satsumas are all different types of mandarin oranges. Tangerines are bright orange and less sweet. Clementines are the most common type of mandarin oranges in stores, very sweet and easy to peel. Satsumas are also sweet and easy to peel; however, they are also easy to damage (2).

Nutrition

Mandarin oranges contain more fats and carbs, sugars in particular, and naturally more calories. Oranges, on the other hand, have a higher level of protein and fiber. Both foods do not contain cholesterol.

Oranges contain all the essential amino acids, whereas mandarin oranges lack the essential amino acid methionine entirely.

Mandarin oranges have a slightly higher glycemic index; however, both fruits be classified as low glycemic index foods.

Raw oranges from Canada have an average glycemic index of 40, while mandarin segments, canned in juice, have a glycemic index of 47 (3, 4).

Based on Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL), oranges are a little more alkaline-forming.

Orange would be the right choice between these two citrus fruits during low-carb, low-fat, or low-calorie diets.

Vitamins

One cannot definitively say whether oranges or mandarin oranges have more vitamins.

Oranges contain double the amount of vitamin C that mandarin oranges have. They are also richer in vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, and vitamin B9 (folate).

On the other hand, mandarin oranges contain a higher concentration of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B3, and vitamin B6.

Both are relatively equal in vitamin B2 and do not contain vitamin D, vitamin K, and vitamin B12.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
5
Orange
Contains more Vitamin A +202.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +30%
Contains more Vitamin C +99.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +50%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +15.7%
Contains more Folate +87.5%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.18
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 41% 4% 0% 89% 15% 9% 8% 13% 18% 12% 0% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 14% 4% 0% 178% 22% 10% 6% 15% 14% 23% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +202.7%
Contains more Vitamin E +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +30%
Contains more Vitamin C +99.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +50%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +15.7%
Contains more Folate +87.5%
Equal in Vitamin E - 0.18

Minerals

Oranges are a little higher in calcium and potassium. However, mandarin oranges contain larger amounts of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. Oranges do not contain sodium, whereas mandarin oranges do.

Both fruits contain similar amounts of copper and zinc.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Iron +50%
Contains more Magnesium +20%
Contains more Phosphorus +42.9%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Equal in Calcium - 40
Equal in Potassium - 181
Equal in Zinc - 0.07
Equal in Copper - 0.045
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 6% 9% 9% 15% 1% 2% 14%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 4% 8% 6% 16% 0% 2% 15%
Contains more Iron +50%
Contains more Magnesium +20%
Contains more Phosphorus +42.9%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Equal in Calcium - 40
Equal in Potassium - 181
Equal in Zinc - 0.07
Equal in Copper - 0.045

Health Impact

Cardiovascular

Both oranges and mandarin oranges have been proven to have a positive association with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases due to their high contents of phytochemicals.

Evidence suggests that fruits in the Citrus genus significantly reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease risk, including myocardial infarction, dyslipidemia, and coronary artery pathology, due to the high content of flavonoids. The potential mechanism of action may be related to the intracellular pathways involved in direct cardiovascular and cardiometabolic effects mediated by naringenin, hesperetin, and eriodictyol or their glycosylated derivatives (5).

Citrus flavonoids scavenge free radicals, resulting in reduced oxidative stress, improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, modulated lipid metabolism and adipocyte differentiation, suppressed apoptosis, and improved endothelial dysfunction. Citrus flavonoids also modulate several signaling pathways controlling inflammation and other processes.

Last but not least, citrus flavonoids have been found to modulate different signaling pathways involved in adiposity and adipocyte differentiation, and hence could be of significant value for the development of antiobesity agents (6).

Compounds called carotenoids are what give citrus fruits their bright orange and yellow coloring. Satsumas are rich in a specific type of carotenoids called β-cryptoxanthin. Due to this, they have been observed to lower cardiovascular disease risk. However, additional supplementation of β-cryptoxanthin to satsuma juice did not show improved results (7).

Citrus contains a minimal amount of salt, otherwise called sodium chloride, and is also high in potassium. This high-potassium to low-sodium ratio makes citrus fruits favorable for people with high blood pressure (8). Oranges contain more potassium and less sodium when compared to mandarin oranges, making them the better choice for people struggling with hypertension.

Diabetes

Citrus fruits, such as oranges and mandarins, generally have low glycemic indices. Nevertheless, the glycemic index of mandarin oranges is slightly higher than that of sweet oranges.

Studies in experimental diabetes models demonstrate the efficacy of citrus flavonoids to improve glucose tolerance, increase insulin secretion and sensitivity, and decrease insulin resistance. These flavonoids may also reduce hepatic glucose output and intestinal glucose absorption, enhance peripheral glucose uptake, suppress inflammation, and modulate the activity of enzymes and transporters involved in glucose and lipid metabolism (6).

Long-term supplementation with flavanones has been observed to reduce glycemia and insulinemia in diabetic or insulin-resistant animals fed a high-fat diet. Additionally, glucose tolerance was improved. Revealing the insulin-like property of naringenin has further demonstrated the ability of naringenin and hesperidin to reduce the specific receptor expression and glucokinase activity, which is a key enzyme involved in glucose use. Another flavonoid that mandarins are rich in is the poly-methoxy flavone called tangeretin. In diabetic rats, tangeretin significantly reduced plasma glucose levels and increased insulin secretion, enhancing complex glucose metabolism (5).

One study identified a moderate inverse association between plasma vitamin C and fasting glucose and body mass index in adult subjects across the glycaemic spectrum. However, this relationship may be due to the depletion of vitamin C due to oxidative stress and inflammation resulting from dysglycemia, overweight/obesity, and smoking, rather than lower dietary intakes. Further research is necessary to decide whether supplementation of vitamin C through fruits can lead to a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus or complications related to metabolic syndrome and diabetes (9).

Cancer

There are many studies concerning the consumption of citrus fruits and the risk of cancer. The most studied cancer associated with citrus is stomach cancer, with most studies displaying protective qualities of citrus fruits on gastric cancer. One study showed that consumption of citrus fruits protects the organism from non-cardia stomach cancer, but not from cancer of the stomach’s cardia (8).

Overall, the greatest protection for increased citrus consumption appears to be for esophageal, oropharyngeal/ laryngeal (mouth, larynx, and pharynx), and stomach cancer. For these cancers, those studies showing a protective effect of citrus fruits showed risk reductions of 40-50% (8).

Some studies have also shown increased citrus consumption to lead to a decreased risk of breast, endometrial, gallbladder and kidney, urothelial, and thyroid cancers (8).

Allergy

Citrus fruits can contain various allergens. These include lipid transfer proteins, profilin, and pectin or, in case of contact dermatitis, limonene.

Citrus allergies often have cross-reactivity among other fruits and plants, such as pollen, apples, peaches, and others (10, 11).

Citrus allergy symptoms appear after eating or drinking something made with raw citrus fruits and include oral allergy syndrome, which is itching, swelling, burning, or redness of the mouth area. In rare cases, a citrus allergy can cause anaphylaxis. In people allergic to limonene, symptoms occur after touching the citrus and manifest as contact dermatitis (12).

It is important to differentiate a citrus allergy from sensitivity to citric acid. People can experience adverse effects from citric acid; however, it does not cause an immune response in the human organism (13).

Juice or Whole Fruit

Which is the healthier choice: the citrus or the fruit made from the citrus?

Processed orange and mandarin juices tend to be higher in carbohydrates due to the added sugars, so the whole fruit is the better choice if you watch your sugar intake. However, one research showed that whole fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, and sweetened fruit juice did not significantly affect the blood glucose levels in non-diabetic individuals (14).

A study has found that while processing orange into the juice slightly lowers its levels of carotenoids and vitamin C, at the same time, it also improves the absorption of carotenoids and vitamin C, making it more bioavailable to the human organism (15).

Sources.

  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.2472
  2. What’s The Difference Between Oranges, Mandarins, Satsumas, Clementines, Tangerines?
  3. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2008/09/18/dc08-1239.DC1/TableA1_1.pdf
  4. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/diacare/suppl/2008/09/18/dc08-1239.DC1/TableA2_1.pdf
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452232/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6431442/
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352385916300226
  8. The Health Benefits of Citrus Fruits
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622757/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3537725/
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0091674917312642
  12. https://www.nyallergy.com/citrus-allergy
  13. https://www.aaaai.org/ask-the-expert/citric-acid-citrus-allergy
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770506/
  15. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf505297t
Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: November 29, 2020

Infographic

Mandarin orange vs Orange infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Mandarin orange Orange
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in price Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Mandarin orange Orange Opinion
Net carbs 11.54g 9.35g Mandarin orange
Protein 0.81g 0.94g Orange
Fats 0.31g 0.12g Mandarin orange
Carbs 13.34g 11.75g Mandarin orange
Calories 53kcal 47kcal Mandarin orange
Starch 0g g Mandarin orange
Fructose 2.4g g Mandarin orange
Sugar 10.58g 9.35g Orange
Fiber 1.8g 2.4g Orange
Calcium 37mg 40mg Orange
Iron 0.15mg 0.1mg Mandarin orange
Magnesium 12mg 10mg Mandarin orange
Phosphorus 20mg 14mg Mandarin orange
Potassium 166mg 181mg Orange
Sodium 2mg 0mg Orange
Zinc 0.07mg 0.07mg
Copper 0.042mg 0.045mg Orange
Vitamin A 681IU 225IU Mandarin orange
Vitamin E 0.2mg 0.18mg Mandarin orange
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 26.7mg 53.2mg Orange
Vitamin B1 0.058mg 0.087mg Orange
Vitamin B2 0.036mg 0.04mg Orange
Vitamin B3 0.376mg 0.282mg Mandarin orange
Vitamin B5 0.216mg 0.25mg Orange
Vitamin B6 0.078mg 0.06mg Mandarin orange
Folate 16µg 30µg Orange
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 0µg 0µg
Tryptophan 0.002mg 0.009mg Orange
Threonine 0.016mg 0.015mg Mandarin orange
Isoleucine 0.017mg 0.025mg Orange
Leucine 0.028mg 0.023mg Mandarin orange
Lysine 0.032mg 0.047mg Orange
Methionine 0.002mg 0.02mg Orange
Phenylalanine 0.018mg 0.031mg Orange
Valine 0.021mg 0.04mg Orange
Histidine 0.011mg 0.018mg Orange
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.039g 0.015g Orange
Monounsaturated Fat 0.06g 0.023g Mandarin orange
Polyunsaturated fat 0.065g 0.025g Mandarin orange

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Mandarin orange Orange
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
17
Mandarin orange
24
Orange
Mineral Summary Score
8
Mandarin orange
8
Orange

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
5%
Mandarin orange
6%
Orange
Carbohydrates
13%
Mandarin orange
12%
Orange
Fats
1%
Mandarin orange
1%
Orange

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Orange
Orange is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.23g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Orange
Orange contains less Sodium (difference - 2mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Orange
Orange is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.024g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Orange
Orange is lower in glycemic index (difference - 2)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is cheaper?
?
The foods are relatively equal in price ($0.4)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Mandarin orange - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169105/nutrients
  2. Orange - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169097/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.