Whether you’re a "natural" juicer who likes to squeeze their own fruits and vegetables into a fabulous purée of flavors, or someone who enjoys a nice Sunny D in the morning before heading to work, many of us find joy in juice. There’s something so refreshing about an ice-cold glass of orange juice — and it’s even better when you throw in a little cranberry juice to make your own mix of flavors. Most of the time when we’re buying bottled juices, we aren’t thinking about checking out each ingredient before we throw the bottles into our cart — but perhaps we should, as some of them might surprise you.
"Needless to say, there are some ingredients that you should be mindful of when you’re purchasing your favorite bottled juice to drink alongside your bagel in the morning"
There are many things that drive us to purchase a bottled juice. Maybe we saw a cool commercial about a new beverage or a billboard that advertised a product with half the sugar of typical juices. And while these claims might very well be true, it’s imperative to remember that many bottled juices contain some pretty surprising ingredients that you might not have even realized were bad for you. Brands that have been on the market for a while, like Sunny D, Capri Sun, and Tropicana, have tried to shed their bad reputations of containing high-fructose corn syrup by substituting in ingredients like rebaudioside A, or Reb A, which is the sweetest of all the natural compounds found in the stevia leaf. Even with these new sources of sweetness, though, most Sunny D, Capri Sun, and Tropicana products still contain some pretty strong amounts of high-fructose corn syrup.
We’ve heard about companies using stevia as a "healthy" alternative to high-fructose corn syrup, but just how good for you is the sugar replacement? According to the Pure Via website, "Reb A is more than 200 times sweeter than sugar," so consumers need to be careful with what they are depositing into their bodies. These drinks, while oftentimes marketing themselves as low-calorie and low-sugar, can be loaded with some pretty absurd ingredients, such as sucralose, niacinamide (which in doses of more than 3 grams per day can cause liver problems, gout, ulcers of the digestive tract, loss of vision, high blood sugar, irregular heartbeat, and other serious problems), and yellow 5 and yellow 6. You probably shouldn't be too concerned with the liver problems associated with high doses of niacinamide because most juices like Trop 50 only contain about 4% of the daily value of niacin. But these yellow dyes, the second and third most common food colorings respectively, have been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children and other potential risks such as kidney and intestinal tumors.
Needless to say, there are some ingredients that you should be mindful of when you’re purchasing your favorite bottled juice to drink alongside your bagel in the morning. Now, this doesn’t mean that all bottled juices are terrible for you. Some of Tropicana’s original juices actually contain 100 percent natural Florida orange juice with no preservatives, for example. We even found some ingredients in your bottled juice that are good for you and offer valuable sources of vitamins!
To help you decipher your juice bottle's ingredient label, we came up with a list of 10 ingredients to be wary of consuming in great quantities, all of which were found in a number of juice products on the market right now.