Fruit and vegetable juices are now the lifesaver beverages for those who want to get loads of nutrients without the expense of eating the ingredients raw. Sure, homemade juices guarantee freshness and health benefits, but making them requires equipment and a lot of time, and not everybody has that. Hence, the birth of bottled juices.
While these bottled fruit and vegetable juices are a more readily available option, their claims of being "all-natural" and having "no preservatives added" raised a lot of criticism and questions. Is there any truth to their claims? This article will provide a comprehensive discussion on Naked Juice, a brand that produces bottled juices and smoothies.
Naked Juice, a PepsiCo product, is undoubtedly one of the most popular juice brands in the United States. The Naked Juice brand is well-known for its fruit and vegetable smoothies and juices, which are popular owing to its delectable flavor combinations. However, a deeper glance at their product labels reveals that these beverages are heavy in natural sugar.
From protein smoothies to blended fruits, a Naked Juice product is known to be more than just your regular healthy juice drink. But what’s in it that makes it healthy, and is it really healthy? Keep reading to find out!
Table of Contents
What’s Inside Naked Juice?
Is Naked Juice Healthy? Naked is open and honest about the nutritional value of its beverages. To notice their goods’ high calorie and sugar content, one may simply locate nutrition information on their website and packaging. On their website, they also state that these are not low-calorie beverages.
Let’s take the Naked Juice Green Machine as an example. According to the nutrition information on the bottle, each 450 mL contains the following:
- Cholesterol 0mg (0%)
- Sodium 25mg (1.09%)
- Total Carbohydrate 63g (22.91%)
- Sugar 53g
- Protein 4g
- Calcium 40mg (4%)
- Iron 1.4mg (8%)
- Vitamin A 230mcg (25%)
- Vitamin C 42mg (45%)
- Vitamin B6 0.4mg (25%)
- Vitamin B12 1.2mcg (50%)
- Magnesium 40mg (10%)
- Riboflavin 0.3mg (25%)
Right off the bat, the drink is a powerhouse of nutrients, and it might seem rational to make it a daily drink to complete the essential vitamins and minerals. But does drinking a whole bottle daily guarantee health benefits?
Vitamin C plays an essential role in enhancing our immune system by raising the efficiency of our white blood cells. Vitamin C may also assist in decreasing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
There are two kinds of Vitamin A. The first kind, retinoids, are derived from animal sources, while beta-carotene, the second kind, is derived from plants. Naked Juice contains beta-carotene, which helps lower the chances of developing macular degeneration as well as breast cancer.
Your body requires vitamin B6 for various vital biological activities. It's also not a vitamin that your body can manufacture. Your body needs it from outside sources. Vitamin B6 offers several advantages, including the ability to improve your mood, lower your chance of Alzheimer's disease, prevent and cure anemia, and lower your risk of heart disease.
Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that aids in the health of your body's blood and nerve cells, as well as the production of DNA, the genetic material found in all of your cells. Vitamin B12 also aids in the prevention of megaloblastic anemia, a blood disorder that causes fatigue and weakness.
Magnesium is an essential element that participates in over 300 enzymatic activities in the human body. Its several tasks include assisting with muscle and neuron function, blood pressure regulation, and immune system support.
Riboflavin is involved in a variety of bodily activities. It is necessary for the healthy development of the skin, digestive system lining, blood cells, and brain function.
Riboflavin is most typically used to avoid riboflavin deficiency, treat migraines, and treat excessive homocysteine levels in the blood, indicating that you have a vitamin deficiency. It's also claimed to treat acne, muscular cramps, and a variety of other problems, but there's no clear scientific evidence to back up these claims.
Sugar 一 LOTS of It
It's worth mentioning that Naked Juice is owned by PepsiCo, which is best known for making extremely addictive sugary beverages like soda and flavored drinks. One 16-ounce can of Pepsi has 56 grams (3.5 grams per ounce) of sugar, whereas a typical 15.2-ounce bottle of Naked Juice contains up to 53 grams (3.5 grams per ounce) of sugar.
Many consumers may perceive the "no added sugar" claim to mean that Naked Juice beverages are sugar-free. But "no added sugar" just indicates that 100% of the sugar in the drink comes from fruit. There is still sugar, but none that isn't naturally available.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) even sued PepsiCo for deceiving customers by promoting their Naked Juice beverages as healthier than they actually are. Many Naked Juice drinks have the same amount of calories and sugar as a standard can of Pepsi. While sugars and calories do not simply define health, excessive sugar consumption is not suggested as part of a healthy diet.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, The American Heart Association suggests an added-sugar limit of no more than 100 calories per day (about 6 teaspoons or 24 grams of sugar) for most women and no more than 150 calories per day (about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams of sugar) for most men. That means that a bottle of Naked Juice has about twice the recommended sugar intake limit per day.
Sugar and Health
Why does the sugar content in Naked Juices create such an issue? How does sugar affect our overall health and what are the side effects of excessive sugar intake? This section will cover all these questions.
Natural vs Refined Sugar
Natural sugars are present in fruit as fructose and in dairy products as lactose, such as milk and cheese. These meals include critical nutrients that keep the body healthy and aid in illness prevention. Natural sugar sources digest more slowly and keep you feeling fuller for longer. It also aids in the maintenance of your metabolism.
Refined sugar, often known as sucrose, is made from sugar cane or sugar beets that have been treated to extract the sugar. The chemically generated sugar, mainly high-fructose corn syrup, is subsequently added to many packaged items by food makers. The body rapidly breaks down refined sugar, causing insulin and blood sugar levels to spike. Because it digests rapidly, you don't feel full after eating, regardless of how much you ate.
Although Naked Juice juices have a high sugar content, they are claimed to be "all-natural," meaning there are no refined sugars added to the drink. But it is important to note that it makes no difference if the sugar comes from an apple or a soft drink until it travels through the stomach and reaches the small intestine.
The amount of sugar in your blood will impact how your body utilizes the sugar. If you already have a lot of sugar in your system, the sugar you just digested will either be stored as fat or glycogen, the storage form of glucose needed for fast energy. It makes no difference whether it's junk food or fruit.
What Does Excess Sugar Do to Your Body?
While sugar is a source of energy, excessive amounts of it can cause damage that you don’t expect. Here are a few of the long-term side effects of excessive sugar intake, according to Medical News Today.
Sugar nourishes the microorganisms in the mouth. As a byproduct of sugar digestion, bacteria produce acid. This acid can dissolve tooth enamel, resulting in holes or cavities.
People who consume sugary foods often, particularly as snacks or in sweetened drinks between meals, are more likely to develop dental decay.
Weight Gain and Obesity
Sugar has the potential to disrupt the hormones in the body that regulate a person's weight.
Leptin is a hormone that signals the brain when a person has eaten enough to eat. A high-sugar diet, on the other hand, may develop leptin resistance, according to a 2008 animal research. That implies that a high sugar diet, over time, hinders the brain from recognizing when a person has had enough to eat.
However, experts have yet to put this to the test in humans.
Risk for Diabetes
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, obesity can cause insulin resistance. That occurs when the body fails to respond to insulin, and the sugar cannot enter the cells and remains in the blood. When this happens, there is a risk for diabetes.
Risk for Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
The human body is capable of using sugar, but only up to a certain level. Excess sugar in the blood is deposited in the liver and is transformed into fats, which will then be deposited in the tissues, sometimes causing high blood pressure and heart disease.
Consuming too much sugar can lead to inflammation, oxidative stress, and obesity. These factors all have an impact on a person's likelihood of acquiring cancer.
A study published in the Annual Review of Nutrition indicated that drinking sugary drinks raised cancer risk by 23–200%. Another study discovered a 59% greater risk of some malignancies in those who drank sugary beverages and had excess weight around their belly.
Naked Juice Products
Naked Juices come in different selections. Aside from the main ingredient, various fruits are added to these juices and smoothies.
Naked Juice Machines
Machine juices come in a broad range of tastes. Delicious fruits are combined with kale or kale puree, spirulina, flax seeds, ginger, acai berry, and wheatgrass to create drinks or smoothies. The calorie amounts in each normal 450 mL bottle range from 220-320, which is a lot for a drink. The Machines variant comes in these flavors:
- RAINBOW MACHINE
- GREEN MACHINE
- BLUE MACHINE
- RED MACHINE
- VITAMIN D MACHINE
- POWER C MACHINE
These juice smoothies, which come in 10 different flavors, are claimed to be refreshingly good, with additional ingredients to lend a healthy impression to them. Calorie amounts range from 180-310 for the 450 mL smoothie bottle. Here are their core variants:
- TROPICAL GUAVA
- STRAWBERRY BANANA
- MIGHTY MANGO
- PINA COLADA
- ORANGE MANGO
- BERRY BLAST
- KALE BLAZER
- BRIGHT BEETS
- BERRY VEGGIE
Naked's protein mixes, available in Blueberry Banana, Peach Mango, Tropical, Greens, and Double Berry, include 18-30 grams of protein and 330-390 calories per bottle. Depending on your specific goals, drinks with comparable protein and calorie counts may be appropriate as a post-workout snack.
Cold Pressed Juice
Naked's Cold Pressed beverages have less sugar than many of their other drinks, with the Cold Pressed Bright Greens having 23 grams (1.9 grams per ounce) of sugar. A hydraulic press, rather than a juicer or auger, is used to make cold-pressed juice.
From green juice to orange juice, this juice blend line claims to provide a perfect mixture of flavors. In the standard bottle, the calorie content ranges from 220 to 400. The calorie count per bottle of the examined Naked drinks is considerable. They describe the beverages as "not-a-low-calorie food." Here are the Naked Plus variants:
- ORANGE CARROT MANGO
- BLUEBERRY BANANA
- PEACH MANGO
- DOUBLE BERRY
- TROPICAL MANGO
Conclusion: Is Naked Juice Healthy?
Yes and no. Yes, because, as their company claims, they use no synthetic ingredients or additives. Their juices contain essential vitamins and minerals that bring in a handful of health benefits.
No, because even when it is labeled as a "healthy drink," the very high levels of sugar in the drinks pose serious side effects in the long run.
Personally, I would suggest that you do not drink a bottle on a daily basis and find other sources for the vitamins and minerals that these juices contain, preferably ones with very little sugar content.
The bottom line is, when trying to live healthier, juicing your own fresh fruit juice and vegetable juice is the best option. Sometimes, being healthier means investing not just in food, but also in time and energy for the lifestyle that we aim for.