I love juicing. But sometimes I don’t feel like scrounging for ingredients, let alone cleaning my blender afterward. Therefore, I am a big fan of occasionally picking up a few bottles of vegetable and fruit juices from the market. However, how healthy are these pre-made juices?
I recently tried a juice brand called Suja and decided to compare it to Naked Juice, another brand that I have purchased in the past. Here’s what I found:
When buying a so-called health drink, you hope that that it contains real, all-natural ingredients.
Suja’s list of ingredients is short, which is favorable, and doesn’t list anything artificial. It’s also certified USDA organic and vegan.
On the other hand, Naked’s “fruit” contents derive from concentrate. Additionally, there are added vitamins, including beta carotene (an antioxidant found in orange foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe and also dark leafy greens) in Naked’s “berry veggie” drink– which I would think is unnecessary since sweet potatoes and carrots are already in the drink (both come from concentrate).
It’s important to mention that Naked is owned by PepsiCo (the same company that produces Pepsi and Mountain Dew) and was in the midst of a class action lawsuit back in 2013 for false claims of being “Non-GMO” and “All-Natural” along with accusations of the drink containing genetically modified soy. Even though PepsiCo agreed to a settlement of $9 million, they said they would continue to label their Naked juices and smoothies as “Non-GMO” but will no longer put “All-Natural” on their packaging. Suja has a “Certified Non GMO” label on its bottles.
Both Suja’s “Mighty Greens” and Naked’s “Berry Veggie” drinks have the same amount of sugar, around 19 grams (The American Heart Association recommend women only intake 6 teaspoons or 30 grams daily of added sugar and for men, 9 teaspoons or 45 grams per day).
“Mighty Greens” has only 23 grams of carbohydrates compared to “Berry Veggie”’s 37 grams.
Also, Suja’s drinks don’t exceed 65mg of sodium (some are less). Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Naked’s sodium count. “Berry veggie” is 70mg of sodium, but their “Kale Blazer” is 180mg of sodium.
I also observed that Suja’s drinks that are predominantly made of fruit have 200 calories, but its green drinks are 100 calories. Naked’s fruit drinks are a bit higher in calories (250 calories) than Suja’s and so is its veggie drink (190 calories).
Because Naked’s drinks contain artificial ingredients and fruit juice concentrate, I assume that’s why they taste so delicious.
I honestly can’t believe that there is a generous amount of vegetables in its juices because of how sweet they are, especially the “Berry Veggie” and “Kale Blazer” drinks.
In contrast, I can tell that the fruits and vegetables in Suja’s “Mighty Greens” drink is true to its ingredient list as it doesn’t taste that savory. The bitterness of the celery, kale, ginger and lemon is very prominent in every sip. It actually reminds me of why I prefer not to use those ingredients at once (especially the celery).
However, the fact that Suja’s green drink resembles the taste of my own green smoothies is comforting, considering it lets me know that I’m digesting real fruits and vegetables. Luckily, Suja’s fruit drinks (like “Mango Magic”) are delicious.
Pre-made juices and smoothies are easily accessible substitutes when one does not feel like blending their own. But, it’s vital to understand that they should not replace your intake of whole fruits and vegetables entirely, especially since many brands are not what they claim to be.
After comparing Naked Juice and Suja, I select Suja as the winner. The company appears to be upfront with its ingredients and I can tell from the taste that it includes real fruits and vegetables.