5 Juice Labels That Are Killing You

Juice is supposed to be good for you, right? For example, one cup of 100-percent orange juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of potassium, folate and thiamine. Plus, 100-percent orange juice naturally contains the phytonutrient hesperidin, which research suggests may help maintain a healthy blood pressure and blood vessel function.

But your body may never feel the health benefits of 100-percent fruit juice if you’re buying the wrong juice.

See, some food manufacturers add sugar to balance the tart flavor of some juices. Mixed juice drink blends tend to have added sugar or are made from concentrate. They either don’t provide many nutrients or have more sugar than necessary. And all of this is carefully hidden on the label in slick marketing terms. But here’s what to look for and what the terms really mean:

“All Natural”
This phrase is probably one of the biggest misleading phrases in the food industry. It has almost no meaning but it is used all the time. When you buy it you think that it means that it hasn’t been changed.

All it really means is that there have been no “synthetic substances,” artificial flavoring or colors added. The food may still have salt or other ingredients added, including high fructose corn syrup. Plus, those “natural” ingredients may be from animals.

Some juice companies sabotage your body by using shelf-stable juice concentrates instead of real juice. Juice concentrates are made from fruits and vegetables that are heated down to syrup and then have water added back in. So “concentrate” is just a fancy name for syrup. The concentration process involves both adding in and subtracting chemicals and natural plant by-products in order to condense the juice. During the concentration process, fruits and vegetables lose flavor and this is one of the reasons why companies have to re-add “flavoring” to make the juice taste fresh.

The concentration allows some juice companies to keep their juice shelf stable, preserved longer and allows them to save money during fruit processing.

“Not From Concentrate”
You would think that if the label explicitly states “not from concentrate” it means it’s fresher, more real and better for your, right? Well, not necessarily. When most commercially available orange juices are made, according to the book Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice, many companies store juice in giant tanks and have the oxygen removed from them, which allows the liquid to keep for up to a year without spoiling. This storage makes the orange juice lose flavor. So the industry uses “flavor packs” to re-flavor the juice. Even if your juice says “100% juice” or “premium” on the ingredient label, it can still have these flavor packs, because they are not required to be listed on the ingredient label because technically they are derived from orange essence or oil.

According to FoodBabe, most juice companies use traditional pasteurization or flash pasteurization to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, molds, and other microorganisms to safeguard our health by heating the juice (this would be the second time your juice is heated if you are drinking juice from concentrate). But during this process, pasteurization also kills raw enzymes, minerals and vitamins – the reason that we are drinking the juice in the first place. Heat kills the bad stuff and good stuff, making the juice pretty much worthless of nutrients…