The Top 7 Mixed Fruit Juices
The best choices for fruit juice are plain 100% fruit juices such as apple juice, orange juice or pomegranate juice. However, sometimes its fun to enjoy some fruit punch or a blend of fruit juices. And kids love fruit punches and fruit drinks.
Fruit punch certainly sounds healthy, but is it really? Some fruit punches and fruit drinks are loaded with added sweeteners, and contain artificial colors and not a lot of actual fruit juice. You can use the FoodEssentials database to compare lots of different fruit drinks to help you decide which ones are best for you and your family.
For an example, lets look at some mixed fruit drinks and fruit juices. Ive picked out some brands of mixed fruit juices and fruit punch for comparison:
Mixed Fruit Drinks and Juices (Type of sweetener, color and preservative)
Brand, Product - / Sweetener / Colors / Preservatives /
Minute Maid Premium, Fruit Punch - / HFCS / Natural Colors / Citric Acid /
Langers, Fruit Punch - / Ace-K, Sucralose / Natural Colors / Vit C, Vit E /
V-8 Splash, Fruit Medley - / HFCS, Sucralose / Red 40 / Vit C, Vit E /
Sunny D, Fruit Punch - / HFCS / Blue 1, Red 40 / Na Benz, Na Hex /
Hawaiian Punch, Light Fruit Juicy Red - / HFCS, Sucralose / Blue 1, Red 40 / Vit C, Sodium /
Welchs, Natural Fruit Punch - / None / Natural Colors / Vit C, Citric Acid /
Apple & Eve, Organics Elmos Punch - / None / Natural / Vit C, Citric Acid /
Note: Natural colors include grape skins, grape extract, fruit juices, vegetable colorings and vitamin C. Na Benz - sodium benzoate, Na Hex - sodium hexametaphosphate
As you can see from the list, many of these fruit drinks contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This can be bad for two reasons. For one, it acts just like sugar in your body, so it adds calories but no nutritional value. For another, its made from corn and if youre very sensitive to corn you may need to avoid HFCS. Three of them also contain sucralose and acelfsame-K, which are concerns to people who wish to avoid non-nutritive (artificial) sweeteners.
The Welchs Naturals Fruit Punch and Apple & Eves Organics Sesame Street Elmos Punch dont contain any added sweeteners - theyre naturally sweet with all the fruit juices. That puts them in the lead for best fruit punch at this point.
All of these brands contain colorings, however there is a big distinction between natural colorings and artificial dyes. Why is this a big deal? Some people may be sensitive to the colors. There is also research evidence that artificial colorings may stimulate hyperactive behavior in kids. The V-8 Splash, Sunny D and Hawaiian Punch all contain artificial dyes to give them their festive colors. The other four brands use natural colorings such as vitamin C and grape juice. Maybe not as festive to look at, but much better for you.
Many foods that are sold in bottles or jars require the use of some type of preservative (usually something acidic) to maintain flavor and freshness. This isnt unusual. If you are familiar with home-canning, you know that foods preserved without some form of acid (like vinegar) need to be pressure canned.
Some preservatives, like vitamin C, are harmless unless combined with sodium benzoate and stored at high temperatures, which forms a carcinogen. You wouldnt want your kid to drink a bottle of Sunny D that has been left in a hot car for several days. Ascorbic acid is used frequently in fruit juices as well, and may be a problem for people sensitive to this ingredient.
Most of the brands contain corn in the form of HFCS, however none of them contain dairy products, eggs, peanuts, nuts or soy.
And the Winners Are...
The Welchs Naturals Fruit Punch and Apple & Eves Organics Sesame Street Elmos Punch because they are both free of added sweeteners. The Apple & Eve brand may get an edge for being organic, however it may be more difficult to find than the more common Welchs brand.
Learn More About Your Favorite Juice Drinks
Originally produced by Foodessentials.com:
At Foodessentials.com you can search and compare foods by ingredient, additive, allergen and nutrient properties so that you can better find foods that suit your specific dietary needs. Find preservative free - lowest sugar fruit juices, highest fiber peanut free cereal, lowest sugar aspartame free sodas. The power to choose better food is now in your hands.