Supermarket Juices

Most busy families rely on supermarket juices to supply their kids with the vitamins and minerals they need. However, if you knew what went into them, you may not be so quick to buy them.

What’s Wrong with Supermarket Juices?

girl-sipping-juiceWhat’s wrong with the juices you can buy in your local supermarket? After all, they are often cheaper than making your own juices and they are certainly less labor-intensive.

One major factor to consider is that these ready made juices, whether boxed, bottled or canned, are pasteurized – that means all the germs are killed, but so have some of the live enzymes and other nutrients that were originally in the fruit & vegetables.

As an extra “bonus”, they are also treated with an array of colorants and flavorings to make them look and taste great.

NOTE: See the end of this article where we list 26 common colorings and additives, with links to each one so you can see what they are may be doing to your body.

These juices promise powerful nutritional benefits, often with no added sugar (thanks to artificial sweeteners), but what is the real scoop?

There is nothing necessarily wrong with buying juice at a supermarket. If it is freshly squeezed at the store, you probably can’t go wrong. Or if your store has its own juice bars selling juices or nectars or liquadas, you can get your liquid nutrition right there on the spot.

However, be wary of any kind of fruit or vegetable juice that has had to travel to the store to reach you.

Here are 10 good reasons why I won’t give my kids shop-bought juices.

1. They are stored in plastic bottles

Almost all of the plastic bottles made world wide go through a hardening process using the chemical bisphenyl-A, also known as BPA. When this nearly ubiquitous industrial chemical gets inside the human body it has many of the same effects as estrogen and insulin—and none of the effects of BPA on human health is good. The chemical leaches into juice that is stored or transported in the heat, and it leaches faster when the contents of the bottle (or can) are acidic. Although a few stores in the United States and Canada offer juices in plastic bottles that are not made with BPA, it’s very difficult to find safe plastics. A juice that is stored in a plastic container for 72 hours or less, however, does not accumulate BPA.

2. Juices don’t always contain juice

In the United States, the term “juice” means 100% juice. In the UK, a “nectar” may be just 25% juice. In many Asian countries, “juices” don’t contain any juice at all. Just because it says juice on the label does not mean there’s juice inside.

3. The Pasteurization process removes germs, flavor & nutrients

It’s not possible to store juices for months or even years if active bacteria are allowed in the mix. The heat treatment process called Pasteurization keeps juices from going bad. It also removes most of their flavor and aroma. Juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, and blends of artificial sweeteners—chosen so one artificial sweetener disguises the after taste of another—are put in juice to cover up the fact that the flavor has been removed.

What may be the deciding factor for most health enthusiasts (and one that is often mentioned by juicing evangelists) is that pasteurization  destroys vital nutrients in the juice.  High heats denature enzymes (that means is destroys them) which are present in freshly pressed juices.  Vitamins and other nutrients, if heat sensitive will also be destroyed.  Pasteurization is a life-saver, but it’s also a nutrient-killer.

4. Vitamins break down during storagegreen-apple-concept-

And even worse, some of the preservatives and flavorings added to juices accelerate vitamin destruction. The citric acid added to citrus juices to restore their tartness, for example, breaks down vitamin C. So much vitamin A is destroyed during the process of canning mango and peach juices that manufacturers add beta-carotene at the processing plant, but the form of beta-carotene they dump into the juice vat breaks down in the oxygen of the atmosphere almost as soon as you open the jar. You will always get more total nutrition from freshly squeezed juice than canned.

5. In about 1 in 1000 people, some of the red and yellow dyes used to make juices visually attractive can trigger severe autoimmune reactions

If you or members of your household have allergies, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or any autoimmune disease, you should not buy any product that lists tartrazine or sodium benzoate as one of its ingredients.

6. Mixtures of juice and wine often contain preservatives that destroy vitamin B1

Grape juice, apple juice, wines, and cider often accumulate natural sulfites. Synthetic sulfites may be added to juice, wines, and ciders to give them richer brown and beige colors. These compounds can increase your sensitivity to other foods and chemicals that cause allergies, especially aspirin and foods that contain aspirin-like compounds (prunes, peppermint, wintergreen, and cinnamon in particular).

7. Vegetable juices sometimes cover up their “canned” taste with salt

Salt and sea salt make canned and bottled juices taste better. But canned juices can be as big a source of salt in the diet as bacon and other cured pork products, fast food sandwiches and fries, and pickles. If you have high blood pressure, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, or fluid retention, you need to minimize your consumption of salt.

8. Fruit juices sometimes cover up their “canned” taste with sugar

Any kind of sugar, even “sugar in the raw” and turbinado sugar, can raise your blood sugar levels. Many bottled juices contain twice as much sugar as natural fruit juice in a form that raises blood sugar levels nearly twice as fast.

9. Fruit juices in North America often disguise their lack of flavor with high-fructose corn syrup

High-fructose corn syrup is the sweetener made from corn starch. It’s a mixture of glucose and fructose sugars, which cause fewer problems when consumed separately. A small amount of fructose, not high-fructose corn syrup, often will not raise your blood sugar levels at all. But the glucose in high-fructose corn syrup plays havoc with blood sugar control and fat storage.

10. If you make juice at home, you know exactly what is in it

If you can’t pronounce it, don’t drink it. There are dozens of articles on this site about dangerous additives to supermarket fruit and vegetable juices. Want to be 100% sure you avoid them? Make juice at home with fresh fruits and vegetables with your juice extractor or macerating juicer.

So what additives are commonly added to Juices?

In no particular order, the following chemical, colorants and additives are often found in pre-packaged juices:

Cane Juice, Erythritol, Neotame (E961), Saccharin (E954), Sea Salt, Sodium Hex (E452i), Splenda (E955), Sulfites (E150b, E150d, E220, E221, E224, E225, E226, E227, E228), Tagatose, Tartaric Acid (E472d), Vanillin, Acesulfame K (E950), Allura Red AC (E129), Aspartame (E951), Beet Powder (E162),  Beta Carotene (E160a), Citric Acid (E330), Corn Syrup, Ponceau 4R (E124), Quinoline Yellow WS (E104), Riboflavin, Sodium Benzoate (E211), Stevia (E960), Tartrazine (E102), Plasticizers, Sunset yellow (E110).

Click any of those items to learn more about them, as we discuss each and every one of them on this site.

Sodium Benzoate (E211)

Sodium Benzoate (E211) is a preservative that affect bacteria by making the contents of their cells acidic. The bacteria don’t die, but they do become dormant (at least until you drink them).

Ponceau 4R (E124)

Ponceau 4R (E124) is a bright red dye used as a substitute to the red dye originally extracted from cochineal bugs. Commonly added to cherry or strawberry juice, people with aspirin allergy may also be allergic to Ponceau 4R.

Tartrazine (E102)

Tartrazine (E102) is a man-made dye that is added to juices and other products to give them a bright yellow color. Many people are allergic to tartrazine and it may even trigger auto-immune responses in some individuals.

Sunset Yellow (E110) 2

Sunset Yellow (E110) is a dye used to color fruit and vegetable juices. This additive has been reported as triggering allergies, skin reaction, ADHD and more.

Quinoline Yellow WS (E104)

Quinoline Yellow WS (E104) is a yellow-green dye used to color fruit and vegetable juices. This additive increases absorption of aluminium in the gut – an element thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease!

Stevia (E960)

Stevia (E960) is a natural sweetner from a plant in Paraguay (Stevia rebaudiana) and has been used by South Americans for centuries as a sweetner.

Citric Acid (E330)

Citric acid (E330) is a pH regulator, flavoring and preservative. It also helps prevent the juice pulp sinking to the bottom.

Saccharin (E954)

Saccharin (E954) is a sweetner that was discovered in 1871 by a chemist working on coal tar!

Splenda (Sucralose or E955) 1

Splenda is an extremely sweet sweetner we have all heard of. It also goes by the name sucralose. Contrary to common belief, it’s not zero-calories.

Neotame (E961) 2

Neotame (E961) is a sweetner that is very similar to aspartame but a lot sweeter.

Tartaric acid (E472d)

Tartaric Acid (E472d) is a tart crystalline substance found in some fruit. It can be used as a flavoring to add tartness or mask the unpleasant aftertaste of artificial sweetners.

Erythritol (E968)

Erythritol (E968) is a natural sugar used to sweeten juices. Since it isn’t readily digested by the bacteria in your gut, it doesn’t cause wind.

Beet Powder (E162)

Beet Powder (E162) is a colorant from dried beet roots but it also adds an unusual flavor to juices.