Juice With 2 Teaspoons More Sugar Per Serving Than a Coke

April 23, 2013   22 Comments

Last week, when I was visiting a bodega in Queens, I had the pleasure of meeting a foreigner visiting our country.

Welchs Grape Juice Review

He was standing in front of the myriad of juices on display and shaking his head. As I walked up to the same cooler, he said, “No sugar? No sugar?”. Really, folks? He was asking me, the self-ordained expert on “added sugar in juice” about sugar? Had he recognized me?

I stood there and looked with him. His English was non-existent so I handed him a carton of 100% grapefruit juice and he stood there and drank it (and then he paid for it). I guess he liked it, he didn’t say.

You don’t have to be from another country to be seriously confused about juice and its relative healthiness. Alton Brown of the Food Network, recently confused me with his commercial on grape juice -Welch’s Commercial.

Guess what? There are 2 servings of fruit in every glass and no sugar added in Welch’s 100% grape juice (oh, and did I mention that it is 100% American grown?).

This is what he didn’t mention:

Yes, 36 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of juice. That is over 7 teaspoons of sugar and is 12 grams MORE than an 8 ounce glass of Coca-Cola.

Right now, you are going to tell me the comparison isn’t fair because Coke doesn’t have potassium or manganese, or other anti-oxidants and you would be right to criticize me. The sugar in grape juice is natural sugar but it is still processed. This grape juice is made from concentrate – not just juice squeezed from the grapes.

What about the 2 servings of fruit in every glass? I guess he is saying it takes 1 cup of juice is equivalent to 2 servings of fruit. Which would be great, except that we all know that isn’t true. Fruit has fiber and other wonderful stuff that juice doesn’t have.

From Karen Collins, RD (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.

My advice is to buy the 100% juice when you want a treat, and dilute it with some water. I love bubbly water with a little bit of grape juice mixed in for a soda substitute.

How do you deal with juice?

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 22 )

Wow! Great post!!

I quit drinking juice long ago. I prefer to make smoothies so I hold on to the fiber in my fruits and veggies. Although, I might have to try your idea of mixing in a little juice with bubbly water. Sounds like an excellent treat!

Another great post Snack Girl!!! I became aware of sugar in juice when my, now 13 year old, was a toddler. I gave her water with a splash of juice and she never seemed to notice. I am so saddened at all the moms that give their children sippy cup after sippy cup of juice. The childhood obesity epidemic begins early.

Hi Lisa, in reference to diluting the fruit juice specially the orange juice {which i love!} I do "Virgin Mimosas" instead of plain water I use sparkling water and it is a wonderful refreshing drink!

I enjoy a glass of juice now and again, the key is moderation. My kids don't like water much and drink mostly milk. I give them very watered down juice now and again and they don't know it's normally way sweeter.

I make my own grapejuice from nothing but grapes, so I wonder what the sugar content is. The same as the Welches with no added sugar? I made jelly out of some of it.

On days when I'm short on vitamin C, I reach for the OJ since even 2-4 oz is more than enough to get my 100%. The one thing I don't like about it is the sugar.

I gave my cousin's son juice one day, he watched me pour half water and half juice into his cup, and asked me "do you know what happens when you add water?"

(I expected him to be mad) And he said "more juice!"

cutest thing ever!

Dr. Oz recommended to only buy juices with 10g of sugar or less. They do exist and are tasty. Tropic 50 orange juice is one and there is Ocean Spray Light Cranberry juice with 11g sugar per serving. Otherwise dilute the juice with water which is what my daughter-in-law does for her boys to cut down on sugar. If you want real fruit, just eat a piece of fruit or squeeze your own. When I was raising my children, we had no knowledge of sugars and labels and they drank juice all the time and oh my, Cool-Aid with a cup of sugar!! neither are overweight as adults. There was less processed food then too.

I have never given my kids juice with the exception of when they were sick and the Dr. recommended it. To this day they still choose plain water as their beverage of choice; even in a restaurant or at a friends house.

Always best to "eat your fruit, don't drink them."

I stopped buying juice when my children were little, they started to prefer it over milk or water. Only beverages available in my home are milk or water!

I quit drinking and serving fruit juice years ago for the very reasons you have stated: the actual fruit is better for you (and more filling!), there is fiber in fruit, there are nutrients in the actual fruit that aren't in the juice, and no humans have processed the fruit - I know what I'm getting when I eat it.

I love your blog, I've been reading for about a year now (found it the same time I decided to make a life change towards being healthier) and it has been SO helpful.

Can you help demystify what juice from concentrate means?

When I'm reading my labels I always see it and think "hmm, that doesn't sound right, but I'm not really sure." Please help! I'm trying to cut out chemicals and processed stuff from my diet.

I cringe when I see kids drinking so much juice. My kids only drink water, milk and unsweetened tea and they are very happy with those choices. Only occasionally, once in a while in a restaurant, do they have juice and they order it "watered down, please" themselves. Train them early and they won't develop a taste for sweet things that will haunt them later on. Thanks for the great info, as always!

How do I deal with juice? Never touch the stuff! To me, it's just not worth the calories. I'll squeeze a fresh lemon or lime into water, that's about it.

Also? Juice is terrible for your teeth. People think they're doing a good thing by offering juice instead of soda to children but it's an incredible amount of acid and sugar being exposed to tiny teeth (or big people teeth, for that matter). We try and go for whole fruits and water or milk, as much as we can.

Heard the same thing a couple of years ago and stopped buying juice(sometimes will buy low pulp orange juice not from concentrate). I like fresh fruit, anyway - when I can get it. Smoothies calls for some kind of juice or milk; until I found a recipe using 1 papaya, 2 frozen banana and a handful of frozen strawberries. That was it! Excellent stuff and the papaya is reportedly good for digestion. To make your own ginger ale, try juicing a hand full of green grapes and 1" of fresh ginger and mix with carbonated water (more grapes = sweeter taste) . We only have this on special occassions and beats any soda on the market.

Another thing the commercial juice doesn't say is that the juice is pastuerized - at which point, it's dead. There are no nutrients left, at that point it IS all sugar. If you want juice, I recommend fresh-pressed either youself at home, or at a juice bar (my local Whole Foods does them too). Fresh-pressed juice is easily digestible, has all it's nutrients intact, and depending on the fruits/veggies, it can also be a good detoxifier.

I just saw a commercial on OJ the other day and they said SIMPLY ORANGE is the only orange juice without sugar or water is pure squeezed orange is quite expensive also, but it is good orange juice.....

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