What You Need To Know About 50% Less Sugar And Calories In Juices

September 14, 2011   21 Comments

Every juice manufacturer has been coming out with a version of their juice with less sugar. Personally, I get excited at the thought of any tasty nutritious beverage with fewer calories.

V-Fusion Juice Review

Colleen reached out to me about her latest find. From Colleen:

I'm always looking for a healthy snack, and recently I've been seeing commercials for the V8 VFusion juices that claim to have a serving of fruit & veggies in an 8oz glass.

I've recently tried the "light" version of the juice and wanted to know what your thoughts on it were.

I purchased the "Concord Grape Raspberry" flavor and gave it a try. If there was an award for best packaging - this juice would win! The bottle is like a modern art sculpture devoted to fruits and vegetables.

It does have less sugar in it, which is a good thing. But, Campbells added SUCRALOSE to the beverage to make up for the change in sweetness. The rest of the ingredient list - sweet potato juice, carrot juice, apple and grape juice, water, etc. is clean and recognizable.

Why did Campbells find it necessary to add sucralose? Eight ounces of this drink has 14 grams of sugar! I think it would taste quite sweet without that chemical - but just like the folks at Pepsi with Tropicana Raspberry Lemonade, they decided to add a zero calorie sweetener.

And then there is the claim about a serving of fruit and veggies in a glass of juice. So, it has 1/2 cup of actual juice in 1 cup of liquid. The USDA says that 1/2 cup of juice is equivalent to 1 serving of fruits and vegetables which is why Campbells can make this claim.

But, forget marketing for a second and apply logic. Can 1/2 cup of juice compare with a fresh apple? What about all that fiber you are missing out on for your colon? That fiber helps you feel full and eat fewer calories throughout the day.

What about all the micronutrients and antioxidants?

From MSNBC - Does drinking your fruit and veggies count?:

...studies show that most fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants in the skins and peels, which do not make it into juice.

For example, one study reports that a whole orange contains up to five times more of one major antioxidant than a glass of orange juice. The antioxidant is found in the white pulp and membranes that separate the orange segments from each other.

You are really missing out if you are replacing eating a fresh fruit with a glass of juice.

Finally, there are some products out there that are 50% less sugar and do not have added sugar free sweetener. I saw a Newman's Own Lemonade and Minute Maid Orange Juice had 1/2 the sugar and no sugar free sweetener at the grocery store.

My suggestions for packaged juice consumption:

  • Buy a 1/2 gallon pitcher, and your favorite 100% juice (apple, grape, orange, etc.) and pour in 1/2 water. Now you have 50% less sugar and you have spent 50% less money!
  • Check the very bottom of the ingredient list to see if sucralose or PureVia has been added to anything that claims less sugar.
  • Treat juice like a TREAT, not a serving of fruit or vegetables. Use it to replace soda (which has zero nutritional value).

What do you think of the new "less sugar" juices?

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Fruits and veggies are so yummy and filling... I don't see a need to drink my fruits And veggies - reduced sugar Or not!

I never have juice and I don't give it to my son at home (he does get watered-down juice at day care). I just don't see a need for it, and it's expensive! We don't drink soda, either, so replacing soda with juice doesn't make sense for us. We stick to milk and water.

We don't drink a lot of juice, but when we do, we always mix it with about 70% water. It's what we are used to, and we actually don't like anything sweeter anymore.

Great post!

I cut out juice a couple of years ago, because I was paying for mostly water and a little vitamin C - but none of the other benefits of fresh fruit.

Isn't making a smoothie "drinking" your fruit and veggies (assuming you don't add sugar and other crap)? You are still putting the entire fruit or veggie in the blender (e.g. pulp and membranes)...the blender is just doing the chewing instead of you. I absolutely hate veggies, so I just put a bunch or raw veggies in a blender with some oranges and pineapples and have a drink I can actually get down. I know V8 (and fusion) is not just "liquid fruits and veggies". They do a bunch of other processing steps (aka "reconstituted"...which people argue removes nutrients).

Yes, the added fake sweeteners drive me bonkers. I try so hard to give my kids healthy stuff, and when i see 'reduced sugar' on a box i get excited, but then realize it's just been replaced with sucralose or soemthing like that. I can live with stevia, but the sucralose and such - egad. Just leave them out, please! A good alternative i've found for myself and my kids is with the kids's juice! Fruitables makes a great boxed juice that's great on the go. We love the orange juice variety they have, but all the flavors are good. It's part fruit juice, part veg juice, part water, and no added sweeteners. The portion control is the best part, as well, because you can't drink too much in a boxed beverage.

I'm surprised that you didn't note as the very first thing is that most "lite" juices are half water! What a waste of money! I buy regular juice and immediately water it down for my kids anyway.

Thank you for your information. You give it to us in such clear and understandable language!

I really appreciate it.

....or get Jack LaLane's juicer and juice the whole thing, skin and all =) (not that I can afford that one) but it is supposed to keep most of the pulp

The national guidelines in the UK say that only one portion of the minimum 5 a day can be fruit juice, canned or dried fruits. The rest has to be whole and fresh.

I don't see the point of juice. When I have it in the morning it makes me feel light headed (too much sugar). I kept my kids away from it for awhile but now they get 1/2 a glass of OJ every morning mixed with 1/2 water. They love juice so I figure moderation is best!

When my daughter came home and said "they gave us purple juice today for snack time at school, but I just said I wanted water," I was so happy. I don't believe there is any use for juice, except for maybe on vacation, mixed with vodka!

I personally find all fruit juices too damned sweet. I don't like sweet things (thankfully) so i typically don't pick up juices anyway, but every once in a while i would grab a carton of orange juice. but i swear, every time i drink it i start out with "bleh so sweet" but then my palate would adjust and it'd be okay.

i noticed that you can mix 2/3rd oj with 1/3rd water or seltzer water and it'd still taste like it's 100% the oj...that's how concentrated/sweet it is! sometimes i can even get away with half and half and not be bothered by the slightly less concentrated taste. it's sort of scary if you consider it that way.

for those people who find mixing juice with plain water that it doesn't taste as good, try mixing it with bubbly/seltzer water instead. not club soda (which has sodium)! Seltzer water has no sodium, just bubbles, mix it with cold oj, and you get this nice and refreshing bubbly fruit juice with less sugar than regular juice or soda. it's a bit like drinking mimosa without the champagne? XD

I have no problems with sucralose, true via etc. (although I do avoid Nutrasweet because it gives me headaches and it's contraindicated for people with a history of depression) but juices are too sweet anyway--I'd rather put some juice in with sparkling water to cut the calories....

I don't have problems with artificial sweetners, but that doesn't mean I should add them to whatever I eat or drink! I don't drink juice, since it is low in fiber and high in sugar. An apple has ~4 or 5 grams of fiber, while apple juice? Zero.

I usually drink tea (any kind, I just love tea!), water, and either dairy or non-dairy milk.

I remember the first time I tried "lite" oj. I didn't care much for the taste. Then I looked at the label, and realized they had added stevia. I would rather just have it watered down if I want to lessen the sugar.

There ARE juices out there which are lower in sugar, but always be wary of those 'lite' ones - normally there's a catch in there! Try & spend a little more time & money and do real raw juicing - the difference in taste is amazing-my fave apple carrot ginger and beetroot YUM!

I avoid the sugar substitutes (in juice, and everything else,) on the premise of something called The Toddler Diet I read about once. If you wouldn't feed it to your toddler, don't eat it. (And if you make balanced meals for your toddler, that's what you should be eating too!) I wouldn't feed her fake sugar, extra sugar (candy,) or caffeine, so I try to avoid it for myself as well.

I have been adding half water to my oj for as long as I can remember, maybe 45 yrs. It started out as a money saving thing, so when the oj came out as 50% less sugar I tried it just for fun. My oj with the water added tasted way better. I now buy it with some pulp in it to try for extra fiber in my diet. So now this method serves as a double good thing.

The light version has less calories but it has artificial sweeteners. The regular version has more calories, but no artificial sweeteners.

I love juice,it makes me feel like eating fresh fruits,also no sugar added juice brands which is more heathier! I jus had one amazing natural juice brands House of Chi which is jus can also check this.

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