Real Fake Juice

From the August 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

“Real Juice Orange Drink,” “Grape Punch,” “Fruit Cocktail.” These are some of the misleading names you’ll find on juice cartons at the supermarket.

These labels give the impression that their contents are extracted from real fruit. Many assume fruit drinks are the same as fruit juices. But how accurate is that supposition? Most people would be astonished to know how little fruit juice these beverages actually contain. The majority of “fruit” beverages, in fact, contain 10 percent or less real fruit juice. What does the other 90 percent consist of? Mostly sugar, water and preservatives. These “fruit” beverages offer little or no nutritional value and are essentially flavored sugar water.

Fruit drinks are stripped of vitamins that pure fruit juices naturally provide (just because a fruit drink is fortified with added vitamins doesn’t make it nutritionally equivalent to fruit). Real fruit contains fiber—which slows absorption of the juice’s natural sugar into the bloodstream. And fruit juice has naturally occurring, disease-fighting phytochemicals often absent in sugared beverages.

Juice manufacturers are required to indicate on the label the percentage of actual fruit juice contained within the beverage. Look for the label that says “100% pure,” and “no sugar or preservatives added.” Fruit juice can play an important part in your vitality— just make sure it’s real!