6 Misleading Beverage Labels

How well do you really know what you're drinking?


Savvy shoppers know not to take product labels at face value. Still, it's been a rough couple of weeks for consumers trying to keep the facts straight about what's in what they drink.

First it was the news about how not-so-one-hundred-percent 100% orange juice is. For those who may be unaware of the controversy, here's what you need to know: During processing, things like orange aroma, oil, and pulp can get separated from the actual juice. Specifically, the process of removing the oxygen from the juice (which is done to keep it from spoiling without the use of preservatives) strips the juice of a lot of its natural flavors. And so to make up for the loss, those natural components — in the form of "flavor packs" — get added back in after processing. Not surprisingly, the backlash among the OJ-drinking set was fast and furious.

Now, hot on the heels of this revealing information, comes word that some of the popular brands of coconut water fail to deliver the "promised" amount of sodium — an electrolyte key to the drink's appeal as a sports and energy drink. A report from ConsumerLab.com revealed that only one out of the three tested beverages offered an amount of electrolytes comparable to other sports drinks like Gatorade. Even though some may not outright call themselves sports drinks on the label (O.N.E. Coconut Water has), that's certainly how they're marketed (not to mention some even boast athlete endorsements). As ConsumerLab president Dr. Tom Cooperman told the Huffington Post, "People should be aware that the labels are not accurate on some of the products, and they shouldn't count on coconut water for serious rehydration."

Thing is, when it comes to finding out news like this, are you really even surprised? Beverage labels, and labels in general, are a product's face to the world — that they're used as a canvas to improve the image of their product and make it more appealing to consumers is easy to understand. Of course, some cases are more egregious than others. For instance, how Snapple's teas were labeled as "all natural" despite listing citric acid as an additive. Or worse, the example of Nestle's Juicy Juice Brain Development Fruit Juice claiming that it "Helps Support Brain Development." Apparently, such claims, called structure/function claims, require no FDA pre-certification. 

Feel like you've had the wool pulled over your eyes? Read on to learn more.

Click here for the 6 Misleading Beverage Labels Slideshow.


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5 Comments

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if anyone ever makes their own juice from the whole fruit you will know that none of the crap sold in stores is 100% juice. there is no comparison to in flavor, texture, or the freshness to juicing your own whole fruit. No sales pitch for any company just the truth as i taste it.

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I personally don't like the taste of water, especially the water that comes out of our tap. But I do like to buy a Vitamin Water and dilute by fourths with water from our water dispenser, the water from our tap is so full of clorine that you can not stand to drink it and on days when the town puts the clorine in (once per month) you can not even wash a load of colored clothing without it getting ruined by the amount of clorine in the wash water, which of course comes out of the same tap as our drinking water does from the sink, but at least by cutting the Vit. water by fourth vit. water and water, I get mostly water with just a bit of flavor, plus it makes the vitamin water go a lot further then if I were just drinking the vit. water, and I don't nor need any sugar, coloring, extra vitaimins and so on...I just like my water a little flavored, in the summer I just put in lemon juice, but in the winter I use the Vit. water, as ripe lemons are very scarce in the winter where I live.

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When you go to read more it just takes you back the main article. I hate slide shows, what a waste of time anyway. Fix your site and maybe I will come back.

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hit pause stupid

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Would we say "citric acid" isn't natural? You know, like, the stuff that makes oranges and other citrus fruit citrusy? (Think there might be a connection there?) I kind of feel like that's like saying, "Well, they added water, so is it really all natural?"

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