The Fruit Juice Lies – How You Are Conned

CONTAINS FRUIT JUICE

This simply means there is some portion of fruit juice contained in the product, typically “some drink.” The manufacturer is putting this on the packaging to attempt to pass it off as some sort of healthy product because it has fruit juice. The problem is that it could be a minuscule amount of fruit juice combined with dozens of other ingredients, including artificial sweeteners and flavors.

MADE FROM CONCENTRATE

A fruit juice made from concentrate means that all of the water is extracted via heat/evaporation from the juiced fruit for storing and transportation purposes. The water is then infused back into the concentrate and packaged for distribution. This is not fresh juice. It is a processed food that loses nutritional value during processing and can contain artificial ingredients as well.

100% NOT FROM CONCENTRATE

The definition is pretty straight forward for this. It means that there is no concentrate process used. For example, orange juice starts with oranges being squeezed. After this normal step, it gets dicey. The juice is sealed in storage tanks, and all of the oxygen is removed. This eliminates spoilage for up to a year, which gives the producers the ability to deliver orange juice year round, regardless of the season.

In addition to the lack of freshness, this process also removes most of the flavor from the stored juice. They fix this issue by adding back a mix of chemicals called a flavor pack. Because of lax regulations, the producer doesn’t even need to disclose this package of chemicals in the list of ingredients. In my mind, the answer is to avoid fruit juice, make your own, or buy fresh juice.

SUGAR FREE

The definition of sugar-free means less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving. So it does not actually mean free of sugar. It only means that there is a limited amount of sugar per serving. When considering this, you must also take into account the actual serving size. If you normally eat ten servings of a so-called sugar-free product, you may be ingesting 5g of sugar instead. This is not a troubling amount of sugar by any stretch. However, you need to think about what manufacturers replace sugar with. Typically, it is artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols, such as lactitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, which may act as laxatives as well.

NO SUGAR ADDED

This is a pretty straightforward definition. No sugar or any ingredients with sugar are added to the food during processing. The FDA requires this if a company is going to label the product with this claim. The label also needs to state that it isn’t a low-calorie or a reduced-calorie food if this isn’t the case.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a low-sugar product, only that no additional sugar has been added. It also doesn’t mean that it is a healthy product. It could be high in saturated fats or have artificial ingredients.

MADE WITH REAL FRUIT

After pressure from consumer groups, this claim disappeared for a while. Unfortunately, it’s on its way back. I have not found a distinct definition for what this means. With that being the case, it is best to assume that there is some portion of the product that contains real fruit, but it is probably small. Be sure to check the ingredient list. Kellogg’s states its threshold is 10% of the ingredients. General Mills has defended this claim in court by saying that the statement does not specify quantity, meaning as long as there is a minimal amount of real fruit in the product, they are in the clear. I would suggest you take little comfort in this claim.

MADE WITH …

See above section. Any claim of “made with” anything, assume it is a minimal amount and check the ingredient list to see what else comes along with said claim.

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