When you buy fruit juice, you expect, well, healthy juice. But products like Tropicana Twister Cherry Berry actually contain 0 percent berry and cherry juice, despite the name. The juice's color comes not from berries, but instead from petroleum-based artificial food dyes. Why? Simple--it's cheaper. Artificial dyes like Red #40 have been linked to ADHD and other health problems. Look for real juice when you're strolling the juice aisle.
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You might pay more for exotic-sounding, antioxidant-rich juices, but the truth is, many companies advertise the expensive ingredients but use industry's go-to cheap fillers--apple and grape juices--for the bulk of the juice ingredients. For instance, Trop50's Pomegranate Blueberry juice contains more apple juice than pomegranate juice, and more grape juice than blueberry juice. Read labels closely. Ingredients listed first are used in higher amounts.
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When you see the natural label, you expect natural. But the term carries virtually no weight when describing fruit juices or other processed foods. In fact, studies have found pesticide residues and genetically engineered material in many "natural" foods. Be especially wary of juice containing high-fructose corn syrup, which is virtually all made from genetically engineered corn.
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The label of Welch's 100 percent Grape Juice with Fiber makes it like the fiber comes from unadulterated, natural sources like "whole Concord grape skins and seed." Instead, the Center for Science in the Public Interest points out that the fiber comes from the processed food additive maltodextrin, a starchlike carbohydrate that resists digestion. V8 High Fiber, Sunsweet PlumSmart, and Prune Juice Light pull similar tricks. To get your healthy fiber fix, just eat the actual fruit. It's better for your blood sugar and diabetes risk.
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Toxic fungicides banned for use in the U.S. have been showing up in about 15 percent of orange juice samples tested. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Food and Drug Administration is ramping up efforts after Coca-Cola, the owner of the Minute Maid and Simply Orange juice brands, found toxic carbendazim in samples. Most of the tainted juices come from fruit imported from Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Belize, where the harmful fungicide is still legal. Organic juice is your best bet. Even better? Just eat a whole organic orange. The fiber will help prevent the type of blood sugar crash that can come from drinking juice. Like this? Sign up for The Daily Fix, Rodale.com's FREE daily newsletter, to get more information about organic food and healthy living!
While technically not a juice, sports drinks are often situated near juice products in convenience and grocery store aisles. Scientists have linked a flame-retardant ingredient, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), to bromine poisoning in people who drink large amounts of certain sports drinks and sodas. BVO is found in Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry lemonade, and sodas like Mountain Dew. The ingredient isn't necessary, but is used for cosmetic reasons because it keeps the artificial flavors from separating in the bottle. Read More: 9 Disturbing Side Effects of Soda