Store shelves are lined with juice blends promising various health benefits. But are they really as healthy as they’re hyped up to be? Here’s the lowdown on 3 popular store-bought juice blends.
Naked’s Green Machine
Naked makes a variety of juice blends including one of their more popular varieties called the Green Machine. They promote their product saying “Greens are one of the most underconsumed foods in the average person’s diet. Drink ‘em up!” One 15.2 fluid ounce contain has 140 calories, 50 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A, and 11 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium.
As for the ingredient list, the first 4 ingredients are apple juice, mango puree, pineapple juice, and kiwi puree. Broccoli, spinach, barley grass, wheat grass, parsley, ginger root, and blue green algae are also listed in the ingredients along with natural flavors.
Though the ingredients sound harmless, some of them may interact with specific medications and health conditions. In addition, taking too much vitamin A can be toxic (especially for pregnant women). Drinking one on occasion isn’t harmful, but if you start downing bottles of these regularly it can be dangerous. If you are taking medications, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the possibility of interactions before drinking these regularly.
V8 Fusion 100% Pomegranate Blueberry Juice
This blend says you’ll get your daily dose of both fruit and veggies from a single bottle (pretty convenient). It also has the American Heart Association (AHA) stamp of approval. An 8-fluid ounce serving contains 100 calories, 15% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A, and 100% of your daily recommended amount of both vitamin E and C. Although it’s packed with antioxidants, you won’t get any fiber by sipping on this bevvie.
The first ingredient listed in “reconstituted vegetable juice blend” made with water. Also listed are several vitamins that were added to up the vitamin content (like vitamin C and E). My main concern with this blend is for folks who take in several servings daily— it can be toxic. Also, don’t be fooled by the AHA approval—they still want you to take in whole fruits and veggies to get some phytochemicals (plant compounds that help fight disease) and fiber.
Odwalla Mango Tango Fruit Smoothie Blend
A 12-fluid ounce bottle of this bad boy contains 220 calories, 35% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A, 70% of your daily recommended amount of vitamin C, and 150% of your recommended amount of vitamin E. Although all 3 of these vitamins are antioxidants, you can still go overboard if you drink too much. The calories (which are mostly from sugar) are also pretty hefty in this blend.
The ingredient list is pretty simple containing a few fruit purees, water, and added vitamins (that’s why the amounts are so high). If you’re a fan of this blend, drink it on occasion. You may also want to split the bottle with a friend to keep sugar and calories at bay.
Juicing Vs. Store-Bought Blends
If your juices are flowing (pun intended), you’ve probably been thinking that juicing is a healthy alternative to buying juice blends. Although many of the juice blends listed above don’t have a laundry list of additives, they do contain high amounts of vitamins which can be potentially toxic. Some blends also contain “natural flavors,” but who knows what that really means. Fresh juicing will give you fiber from the pulp, while store bought juice blends typically extract the pump during processing.
Learn the basics to juicing fruits and veggies in our previous post.
The Verdict: Pick up a bottle of your favorite store-bought juice blend on occasion. But remember, nothing can replace the high nutritional value of fresh fruits and veggies.
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Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby’s full bio »