Are fruit cups good for you? They should be because the contain fruit. What could be bad about them?
I happen to love the idea of a fruit cup stashed in my pantry for when I run out of fresh fruit. This way, I don’t have to obsess about getting to the store to keep my kids healthy. I can simply toss one of these cups into their lunch box.
I decided to compare Mandarin oranges since it is one fruit cup you can find everywhere (though I know there are peaches, pears, pineapple…). I wrote about canned peaches FIVE years ago and fruit snacks to cover all the potential snacky fruit in the world.
I found 3 distinct varieties of Mandarin fruit cups – packed in light syrup, packed in fruit juice, and packed in water sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extracts.
This is the light syrup one and as you can see, they simply added 10 grams of sugar to the oranges. That is two teaspoons, which seems like a lot to me. Can you imagine eating 2 teaspoons of sugar at the same time you eat a small mandarin orange? That is gross!
I do wonder if you don’t drink the liquid how much sugar you would consume. I called DelMonte and they said that most people drink the liquid and they don’t know exactly how much sugar is left in the juice.
It is best to assume you will consume the entire sugar amount.
This DelMonte cup (packed in lightly sweetened juice and water) is a bit misleading. Do you see how it has sugar and pear juice concentrate? You might assume when you look at the front that the mandarins are packed only in fruit juice unless you look at the smaller print. Turns out this one is almost entirely the same as the Mandarins packed in light syrup!!
What? It also has 15 grams of sugar because when you concentrate fruit juice – it is mostly sugar.
This Dole one is interesting because it boasts “No sugar added”. I was ready to hate it because I usually can taste stevia and I don’t like it.
Actually, I did a blind tasting of these three by mistake (they look exactly the same) and couldn’t taste much difference between this one and the sugar added one. There was a slight aftertaste but it didn’t bug me.
They suggest eating this one cold and maybe that would further obscure the fact that real sugar has been left out.
I think that if you can find these with “no sugar added” and you like them – these are a healthy snack and a good choice if you are out of fresh fruit. The other ones fall into the “treat” category for me since they added all that sugar.
What do you think? Are fruit cups a healthy choice?
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Snack Girl is seriously missing her peaches. Summer seems years away!...
I have been asked about fruit snacks quite a few times and I hate it when the person is standing in front of me.