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Unhealthiest Juices in American

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 5:55 PM
  • 8 Replies



Think of your all-time favorite rock song: Hey Jude, London Calling, Smells Like Teen Spirit, whatever. Now imagine that the next time you crank it up, all the guitar riffs will be replaced by violins. Kinda weak, right?
Well that's akin to what happens when you turn a fruit into fruit juice: You still have the flavor, but you don't have the grit, the substance, the power. Even the very best fruit juice isn't as nutritious as the fruit it originally came from, because the fiber that makes a piece of fruit so filling has been stripped away: Instead of filling your belly like an apple or an orange, juice just passes through your gastrointestinal tract like a little stream of sugar. It's like listening to "Hey Jude" without the "Na-na-na na" part at the end. The sweet melody is intact, but the soul is lost. So as a rule, always choose the original version (that would be the fruit) over the Muzak version (that would be the juice).
But that doesn't mean juice is a terrible choice-after all, it's still a great way to get your daily quota of vitamins and minerals. Problem is, a lot of what food marketers try to sell us as "juice" is about as healthy for you as, well, being chased down a highway in a white Ford Bronco. Flip through this slideshow to see what terrible atrocities we've uncovered. For each one, we've also included a healthier alternative. Or, as the Beatles might say, we took a bad juice, and made it better. Just call it "Hey Juice!"


Worst Cranberry Cocktail


Ocean Spray Cran-Apple (8 fl oz)


130 calories
0 g fat
32 g sugars


Ocean Spray makes a whole line of cranberry juice blends, but there's only one thing you need to know: They're all polluted with unruly loads of added sugar. The first two ingredients here are water and sugar, the hallmark of an inferior bottle. In fact, the best juices in this line have only 27 percent juice. This one? A paltry 15 percent. Go with Ocean Spray's Cranenergy line instead. Compared to Cran-Apple it delivers slightly more real juice, a far weightier package of vitamins, and just over a fourth as many calories.


Drink This, Instead!


Ocean Spray Cranergy Raspberry Cranberry (8 fl oz)


35 calories
0 g fat
9 g sugars


Worst Mixed-Berry Blend


Welch's Mountain Berry (8 fl oz)


140 calories
0 g fat
33 g sugars


The flowering bouquet of fruit on the outside of this carton makes it appear to be just one step down from a smoothie, but in truth, it's just one step up from Sunny Delight. Regardless of what Welch's wants you to think, this juice is made with only 25 percent real fruit, and with this many calories in each cup, you should expect nothing less than 100 percent. Go with Bolthouse Farms 50/50 Berry blend and you'll trade out the sucrose for an antioxidant- and flavor-rich blend of purple carrots, blackberries, pomegranates, and blueberries.


Drink This, Instead!


Bolthouse Farms 50/50 Berry (8 fl oz)


120 calories
0 g fat
28 g sugars


Worst Lemonade


Minute Maid Lemonade (20 fl oz bottle)


250 calories
0 g fat
67.5 g sugars


In 99 percent of cases, lemonade contains between 10 and 15 percent lemon juice, meaning that 85 to 90 percent of the calories are added as table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. The reason we pinned Minute Maid as the worst lemonade is that with this bottle, they've dropped the lemon juice concentration down to 3 percent, and at the same time, jacked the sugar level up to soda-like proportions. In fact, this bottle has more sugar than a same-sized bottle of Coca-Cola, not to mention a bevy of preservatives, fillers, and artificial colors. The only lemonade we've found that can legitimately call itself "juice" is the one below by R.W. Knudson. It replaces the added sugars with a blend of apple and grape juices.


Drink This, Instead!


R.W. Knudsen Lemonade (8 fl oz box)


130 calories
0 g fat
30 g sugars


Worst Juice Imposter


SoBe Elixir Cranberry Grapefruit (20 fl oz bottle)


250 calories
0 g fat
63 g sugars


With a name that references two fruits, you might expect this bottle to provide a respectable dose of real juice. Unfortunately that's not the case. The only juice this bottle carries is used as a coloring agent, which means every gram of sugar here is added during processing. That puts it right alongside soda as one of the worst beverages at the supermarket. Cut calories by looking for water-based beverages that use juice as a sweetener and flavoring, like the one from Olade below. The few calories it has come from a blend of lemon, pinapple, mango, and passion fruit.


Drink This, Instead!


Olade Tropical Juice Beverage (16 fl oz)


20 calories
0 g fat
4 g sugars


Worst Grape Juice


Tropicana Grape Juice Beverage (15.2 fl oz)


290 calories
0 g fat
72 g sugars


It's hard to say which is worse, the fact that this bottle has as much sugar as six scoops of Edy's Slow Churned Rocky Road Ice Cream, or the fact that it looks legit but contains only 30 percent real juice. The thing is, even if this bottle weren't teeming with high fructose corn syrup, it would still be loaded with sugar. Grapes produce the most sugar-loaded juice at the supermarket-even a 10-ounce bottle of 100 percent grape juice carries more than 200 calories. If you like rich, dark juices, try the one below from Bossa Nova. The acai fruit from which it's made is one of the most antioxidant-rich fruits on the planet.


Drink This, Instead!


Bossa Nova Acai (10 fl oz bottle)


114 calories
0 g fat
22.5 g sugars


Worst Canned Juice


Arizona Kiwi Strawberry (23.5 oz can)


360 calories
0 g fat
84 g sugars


These hulking calorie cannons-5 percent juice, 95 percent sugar water-have the equivalent of 20 teaspoons of sugar! They're sold at gas stations and convenience stores across America for the low, low price of 99 cents, making this quite possibly the cheapest source of empty calories in the country. Earn more flavor in fewer calories by switching to V8-Fusion instead. The company makes a reasonable line of regular blends and an even better line of light juices.


Drink This, Instead!


V8-Fusion Strawberry Banana (12 fl oz bottle)


170 calories
0 g fat
42 g sugars






Listen to your body. It will tell you all you need to know.
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by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 5:55 PM
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Replies (1-8):
by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 6:11 PM

 Thanks for this post! 

I just recently bought a 1/2 gal. of cranberry juice and made SURE I wasn't buying "cocktail"!  They always put that in smaller print beside or below cranberry, so it's easy to miss.  The Ocean Spray cranberry juice I purchased says, "100% juice" w/no sugar added.  100 calories per 8 oz. svg. and 36 grams natural sugar & 100% vitamin C.  Yes, it's SO important to READ THOSE LABELS!

by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 9:42 PM

We are always sure to buy 100% juice.

by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:50 PM

We only buy juice from the organic aisle that is really just pureed fruits and generally needs to be watered down.

by on Jul. 13, 2010 at 12:17 AM

My MIL brought Honest Kids juice up to the Lake house last weekend, I looked on the nutrition facts, water and organic cane sugar were the first two ingredients. i don't care if it is organic, if it is made with sugar it is NOT GOOD FOR YOU. I was very irritated by this. Good thing I read labels.

by on Jul. 13, 2010 at 12:28 AM

Thanks! Good to know!

by on Jul. 13, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Any juice is really just sugar, whether its added  hfcs, cane sugar, or natural fructose from fruit.  You need to eat the whole fruit to get the fiber -the good part.  Also any juice in the store (even "fresh squeezed" is pasteurized)  Make your own, even better, just drink water.

by on Jul. 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Great post ....   I honestly never buy juices.. sugar content of them .. Water / Green Tea in my house.. and  V8  low sodium 

by on Jul. 20, 2010 at 9:11 AM

ah, and i do so love cranapple juice... :(

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