When was the last time you took a stroll down the “juice aisle”? Have you noticed how many different types of “juices” there are?
Did you find yourself here in search of something healthy?
Which bottle do you choose? There are so very many to choose from. Even if you find the bottle that is actually juice, is that the healthy option you needed? Is juice even healthy?
The Hunt for Actual Juice
If we begin our hunt for fruit juice simply looking for cranberry juice, one of the most common juices available, there is an initial massive hurdle. Finding ACTUAL juice.
Juice “cocktail” is a mixture of juice and sugar additives that ends up being between 5-10% juice. This isn’t healthy by any stretch of the imagination. This is a juice flavored beverage. This is 5-10% away from being soda. (Pepsi for instance) There is no nutritional reason for this to exist, and the shocking part is, this will be approximately 90% of the “Juice aisle”. Most of the shelf will be filled with this waste of space.
If you look hard enough, you’ll find actual 100% juice. There are a couple of companies that produce a product that is solely fruit juice. Hizzah! You found what you’re looking for. So now let’s look at the ingredient list and confirm that the product we’re buying is in fact, what we’re looking for.
They do in fact contain 100% juice. However, every single variant of cranberry juice doesn’t have cranberry as the first ingredient. The first and third example have grape juice as their primary ingredient, with cranberry being 2nd or 3rd. The second option is supposed to be pomegranate cranberry, and the first 2 ingredients listed are pear and apple.
Is Juice Actually Juice?
So… the 100% juice claims aren’t lies, but they aren’t 100% of the juice you wanted or were looking for. It is simply supposed to taste like 100% of the juice you wanted to buy. However, this has been routine for these types of products since I was young. How many kids these days even know what actual juice tastes like? In farming communities, it’s fairly easy to get apple juice/cider directly from local farms, but in areas that aren’t, this won’t be as common.
What Are the Health Benefits of Juices?
It’s obvious this is done to make the juice more profitable since apple and grape juices are cheaper to produce via quantity, but the most surprising part is that given the health benefits of actual juice (and the associated nutritional contents) that juice cocktails are so predominant. These offer nearly zero health benefits. Actual 100% juices can be quite a bit more expensive for the less common fruits. “POM” makes 100% pomegranate juice, and is quite a bit more expensive than apple, cranberry, grape juices.
Speaking of health benefits of juice, don’t be distracted by the Vitamin C content in these beverages, they sugar content is remarkably high. For children, diabetics and anyone looking to lose weight via low carb, high-fat diets these beverages can be remarkably bad nutritional choices.
On the same topic, don’t even let the 100% juice let you believe that the juice is squeezed into a carton and sent out. Have you ever noticed each juice company (think orange or apple juice) tastes different? When they package and prepare the juice from the fruit, it loses most of its taste. Each company then adds its own blend of flavors to make the juice a consistent taste that most resembles what they feel that juice should taste like. Even the 100% juice containers are not very likely to be the actual juice, without some kind of tampering.