Choosing from the beverages available at some stores is a challenge, especially at convenience, and stores other than grocery stores. If you are choosing a fruit juice, the likely aim is to A. Quench thirst, B. Hydrate the cells of the body, and C. Absorb essential vitamins, and minerals for optimal health, and energy. To carry out all that is conceivably as much an accomplishment as scoring a touchdown on the foot-ball field. The big beverage industries are vying for your thirst by investing billions of dollars, marketing soda, and sports drinks. These drinks, are mass marketed with low prices, and guaranteed by politics. How much money do corporations invest in the marketing of fruit juice, and other non-alcoholic beverages? The answer lies in the stock you see on the store shelves and beverage display areas. The best strategy to choosing healthy beverages is applying your knowledge.
Common Fruit Juice, and Beverage Label Terminology
Successfully navigating the beverage aisle requires an inquisitive mind, and a basic understanding of certain terms. Most terms apply to one of six categories, sweeteners, nutraceuticals, colorants, preservatives, processing methods, and marketing terms:
- Sweeteners: High-fructose-corn-syrup, corn syrup, aspartame, saccharine, sorbitol, malitol, stevia, sugar, cane-sugar, and words used with the suffix, ose, (glucose, fructose, dextrose, sucrose)
- Nutraceuticals: Ascorbic- acid, citric-acid, retinol, vitamin a, b, c, d, e, calcium, folic-acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, vitamin b-6, vitamin-b-12, etc.
- Colors: Natural and artificial colors, red, yellow, blue
- Preservatives & antioxidants: Benzoic acid, benzoate, fumaric acid, malic acid, pectin, sodium benzoate
- Methods of processing: Pasteurized, concentrated, clarified, pureed, fresh squeezed, reconstituted, fortified
- Marketing terms: Fruit flavored, fruit juice blend, fruit drink, natural and artificial flavors, 100% natural, natural flavors, fruit essence, no sugar added, with added ingredients, etc.
Antioxidants prevent undesirable changes in color and flavor caused by oxygen or air. They include: Pectin, vegetable gums, modified starches, and sodium benzoate, (used in fruit juice to stop fermentation).
These ingredients act as acids, alkalis, buffers, and neutralizing agents. Natural flavors, in beverages are a mix of flavors, sweeteners, acidifiers, colors, nutraceuticals, botanicals, preservatives, and other ingredients. The nutraceuticals are synthetic versions of vitamins, manufactured in the laboratory, and commonly added either to pasteurized beverages, or those that contain limited nutritional value.
Where to Look for What
Labels on fruit juice typically have 4 major components:
- A. Product name, image, and description: This is on the front of the label.
- B. Nutrition Facts: Usually found on the back of the label.
- C. Product narrative, and added product information: Typically, on the side, or back of the label, or container.
- D. U.P.C. label, bar-code, manufacturer, distributor, and contact information: Found on the side or back of the label.
A: This includes such information as the type of fruit, and whether the juice is from concentrate. If the label claims to contain 100%, or more of a vitamin, it will be in print on this part of the label, and is usually an indication that the product is pasteurized.
B: The percentage of fruit juice contained in the product is above the words “Nutrition Facts” on this part of the label.
B: Ingredients are generally printed at the bottom of the nutrition facts area of the label.
B: Sugars: High sugar content is not necessarily attributed to added sweeteners. Grape juice has one of the highest natural fruit sugar concentrations, followed by orange juice, and apple juice. Apple, and grape juice are often used to sweeten juice, and juice products.
D: pasteurized products display the term pasteurized beside the bar-code.
Common Fruit Juice Ingredients to Absolutely Avoid
Some grocery stores, and specialty foods stores carry a variety of natural, 100% fruit juice that is free of additives. In this case, their product’s ingredients labels will list only fruit juice, fruit and water, or fruit juice, and water. If, based on the store’s level of quality selection, you have to compromise, it is necessary to assess the ingredients in order of toxicity. Arguably, the most harmful additives are the sweeteners used in today’s beverage industry. Far from mimicking the chemistry of natural cane sugar, the sweeteners used today metabolize in such a way as to ultimately cause destruction to the human body. Additionally, if consumed regularly, they contribute to several diseases, including organ failure, and cancer.
Allergens, and Additives
Color agents, red, blue, and yellow dyes, are allergens that contribute to Attention deficit hyper-activity disorder, (ADHD), and Attention deficit disorder, (ADD), in children. Nutraceuticals, synthetic, (laboratory manufactured), vitamins, are not an exact replica of the vitamins contained in whole foods. For instance, vitamin C. complex’s natural composition, contained in raw fruits and vegetables, includes vitamins J, K, and P, as well as enzymes, such as Terrosenase. The synthetic vitamins are not the complete package. They are often added to beverages that are either pasteurized, or lacking nutritional content. In the case of pasteurization, the heat used in the process itself diminishes, or destroys the vitamins, naturally contained in the raw fruit.
Pasteurization is one scientific development that addresses bacteria related illnesses from foods, and beverages. This solution does not destroy all the fruit’s enzymes. The irony in adding nutraceuticals to a product is that laboratory manufactured vitamins create further destruction by causing the body to mal-absorb the natural vitamins, and minerals contained in the juice, and other whole foods. They do this by blocking the body’s natural response. Similarly, added sweeteners block the body’s natural response to naturally sweet whole foods. This easily contributes to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as toxic eating habits.
No More Than Three
When making your choice, keep these factors in mind:
- It is not necessary for fruit juice to contain added sweeteners.
- Avoid color additives
- If a product claims to contain 100%, or more of any vitamin, it is almost always pasteurized, and “fortified” with a synthetic form of that vitamin.
- You will receive the most important information from your body’s natural response. The human body is capable of giving instant feedback from the diet.