This "Juice" Has HFCS and More Sugar Per Serving Than Soda

April 12, 2010   17 Comments

The inspiration for Snack-Girl was a bottle of juice. That juice was one that my 3 year old daughter chose from a cooler in a convenience store.

Minute Maid Juice

The pictures on the side were like the ones above. Lovely photos of apples and raspberries stylishly placed on the side of the sveltely shaped bottle.

I purchased the juice for her because she was thirsty and I thought I would give her a treat of fruit juice. Yes, I consider juice a treat.

After we sat down, I was bored so I read the ingredient list. It looked much like this one:


The big difference was that the juice Ruby had chosen also included artificial colors. The packaging said "All Natural". Then it hit me that I had bought my daughter soda in a juice container. I had been fooled!!

And then I decided that I needed to help other people with this crazy food marketing thing that make things look healthy when they aren't. That is why I write Snack-Girl.

Here it is again with this container from Minute Maid (owned by Coca Cola). Why are they allowed to feature apples and raspberries on the bottle when the first juice is pear? and then cranberry?

Is the "hour glass" shape supposed to make us think we will be slimmer if we drink it?

The packaging says "naturally delicious" and I guess if you like high fructose corn syrup, then it is. I bought this looking for juice (for myself this time) because I had a cold and I was thirsty. Juice always makes me feel better when I have a cold.

But, this is a "Flavored Juice Beverage"! I missed that part of the label because I was transfixed by the photo of the Raspberries. I LOVE Raspberries.

It is a Soda with juice in it and without bubbles. And this really upset me because I was looking for juice. So, if you want juice - be sure to buy packages that say 100% juice.

BUT, this doesn't solve the sweetener issue. A few facts:

  1. Coke has 39 grams of sugar per 12 ounce can.
  2. This Minute Maid juice has 30 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving. Which is 45 grams of sugar for a 12 ounce serving.
  3. Apple juice has approximately 45 grams of sugar per 12 ounce serving (will vary depending on the brand).

Given these set of facts, it would seem that the Coke is the best choice. But Coke doesn't have any nutrients in it and juice does. That is why I wanted JUICE and not colored, sugared, juice FLAVORED water.

And, then, there is the debate about whether HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is worse than sugar (or the sugar naturally present in fruit juice). I don't want to get into that debate here - though I have had a number of people ask me about it.

My conclusion is simple. Whether or not HFCS is terrible, juice is a treat. It is a once in a while indulgence - not an every day drink.

If you love it, then start watering it down. You will be amazed that when you add 30% water it still tastes like juice!

Just a side note, in the last 3 weeks Snack-Girl has written about Frito-Lay, McDonald's, and Coca Cola. Yes, I will be moving and changing my name :) Actually, Frito-Lay has invited me on a tour of their facilities and I am really interested in it. Doesn't it seem appropriate that Snack-Girl visit Frito-Lay?

Do you drink juice? Please share.

Want to read about snacks?
How To Find Great Fruit and Veggies
3 Reasons to Avoid Ritz Crackers
This Food is An Instant Party in Your Mouth

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I do not drink juice because of the empty calories. There are many more nutrients in whole fruit, so if I'm craving fruit juice, I'll make a smoothie instead.

When I was having a cat scan, I had to drink 48 ounces of liquid mixed with a medicine in about 2 hours. The doc's office told me to drink it with juice, but I realized I would be consuming almost 1,000 calories of juice. So I decided to cut the juice with water. I used a ratio of 1/3 juice to 2/3 water. It tasted plenty good to me and I cut the calorie consumption by 2/3.

Another great post! We really do have to read labels (even on "juice") and you KNOW most people still don't take the time, especially if grabbing something at a convenience store.

One of my weaknesses is OJ. Yummm. But everytime I buy a carton, I find myself drinking two glasses (most people don't realize that they're tall glasses are actually two drinks, not one) constantly....which is 240 calories! I think there are some healthy juices out there (always 100%) but I just can't afford the calories, even if they aren't empty. I just don't buy it anymore so that it's not in the fridge tempting me.

I tried the new Trop50 "juice" by Tropicana. It was mango-pinapple with less sugar & 50 calories. It sounded yummy & tropical - it tasted like watered down pineapple juice. Even on sale it was a waste because only 1/2 cup was consumed.

A hint on diluting juice - if you DIY, try seltzer.

Also, most people do not know to look at the labels on canned fruit. A lot of fruits are in packed in syrup; fresh fruit is always best but if you must buy canned, you should avoid the ones in syrup. Another thing;a lot of people do not know that some vegetables also have high sugar content, such as corn,and squash, I don't know the exact amounts it also varies on portion sizes. People who are diabetic should buy a book that has dietary exchanges in it....I just thought I would share this information with you Snack Girl; I thought it may interest you and your other readers! I enjoy your posts and great snack ideas! Thank yoy!

I rarely drink juice myself... I would prefer that my 2 year old do the same, but my husband thinks that juice is great for our 2 year old or something. I have taught my husband to look for the "100% juice" on the carton when he buys it we also dilute the juice to half water, half juice. I find the packaging and labeling of juices make it somewhat difficult to make healthy decisions, there are so many options and they are all trying to look like they are good for you. Thanks for clearing this up for us, great post!

Makes those Izze carbonated fruit juice drinks look healthier than this juice! And even those are treats - I've had a 12-pack of them that has lasted me more than a year. I don't normally drink juice (or sodas, for that matter) because they're nearly empty calories. Like another commenter, I'll make a smoothie, or just eat a whole piece of fruit. And also seconding another commenter, those canned fruits are not all that healthy with the added sugars. I love frozen fruit, personally, if I can't get fresh. Besides, they make for excellent smoothies! Try frozen cherries, plus pear or apple, plus spinach. You can't taste the spinach - promise. And it's a great way to get a lot of antioxidants and vitamins. I love to have something like this along with a bit of protein for breakfast.

I drink Welch’s 100% grape juice. For myself, I don't consider foods with natural sugars to be detrimental to my mission to be BETTER each day as long as I keep in moderation. In my research, I've read that a glass of 100% juice can be considered one serving of fruit once a day.

If you want sweet without the sugar or high calorie content, I recommend adding this protein powder to your water:

Thanks for post. Where are you moving and why are you changing your name? What is it going to be? I want to be sure I keep up with what you are doing.

I like to pour 2-3 ounces of 100% juice into a tall glass of seltzer. Yum!!! Still tastes like a treat.

One of my favorite snacks is sliced up oranges that I eat like a 4 yr old. A surprising source of calcium (which I need on a GFCF diet) and 100% natural...the way "natural" was supposed to be meant in my opinion! No added HFCS or sulfides or whatnot.

When I do drink juice occasionally, as a treat or craving, I use a juice glass (these are tiny) or a small mug. That keeps it to an actual serving!

@Wes - most Welch's 100% grape juice products have added sulfides in them. :( Research on sulfides aside, I like my 100% juice to actually be nothing but juice. Just in case you hadn't seen that added ingredient on the label...

I don't drink juice regularly and I do not give it to my kids either! If/when I give them juice they get "Naked Juice " or "Bolthouse Farms" with water added. They love water so it's not a big deal for them to not have juice regularly. They eat fresh fruits and veggies so they are not missing out on nutrition.

I don't drink juice or soda- so our purchased beverages at the store is Milk. Water is free from our water filter- nice savings! We do buy the V8 fusion for our son- he gets veggies mixed in with his fruit- but even that is diluted 50/50 with water!

I never understood how they let juice companies get away with calling things 100% juice when they add all sorts of things to it. Just because it was pure juice at one point does not mean it still is. This is why people buy juicers.

I avoid drinking juice. Have a small amount on rare occasions. BUT let me tell you about the best kept secret about Fritios! Remember this in case you need to use it!

go outside with a frito and light it with a match. It easily catches fire and will burn for several minutes. Whay is this useful to know? Because you will be able to use it as fire starter if you are ever in a bind! Pack it up with your scouts on the next camp-out and let them impress the troop! See it has so much grease in it, it is an excellent fire starter! Cool, huh?

If I do drink juice, it's Odwalla carrot juice. It has a lot of sugar too so I stopped buying it as much. Since I'm lazy and don't like to even bother with reading 11 syllable "ingredients," I usually don't buy any of that stuff - cereals, juices, boxed, canned or frozen items. I try and cook my own food. Yeah, it's shot full of crap too but at least I cut out a lot of the packaged chemicals.

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