February 1, 2012
WASHINGTONThe Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has launched an attack on juice manufacturers, claiming the companies are misleading consumers with ambiguous health and nutrition label claims.
In its newly released Nutrition Action Healthletter, CSPI accuses juice makers of highlighting smaller amounts ingredients that promote health benefits such as heart health, digestive health, brain health, weight management and more.
Juice makers, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, realize that consumers are concerned about losing weight and reducing their risk of diet-related diseases," said Nutrition Action senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley, co-author of the review. But no juice is going to perform miracles for eyes, skin, hearts, colons, or any other part of the body. That goes for just plain juice, and it certainly goes for a juice dressed up with some combination of water, artificial sweeteners, food dyes or fake fibers."
CSPI cited a number of examples, including:
Minute Maid Help Nourish Your Brain 100% Fruit Juice Blend is mostly comprised of apple and grape juice though its label uses big print to highlight smaller amounts of pomegranate and blueberry juice. Its labels also bear highly misleading non-sequiturs related to brain health, including Vitamin C is highly concentrated in brain nerve endings."
Some orange juice labels, like those of Tropicanas Healthy Heart with Omega-3, imply heart health, but the juice has only 50 milligrams of EPA plus DHA from fish oil, a fraction of what one would get from one serving of heart-healthy salmon. On the other hand, Minute Maid Heart Wise orange juice contains a hefty 1 gram of beneficial plant sterols. Two grams of plant sterols per day can lower LDL, or bad" cholesterol by roughly 10% over am 8-week period. According to Nutrition Action, Minute Maid wins."
Welchs 100% Grape Juice with Fiber gives the impression that its fiber might come from the whole oncord grapeskins and seeds included." Rather, the fiber comes from the additive maltodextrin, a starch-like carbohydrate that resists digestion. Nutrition Action says theres no good evidence that maltodextrin, or the dextrin added to V8 High Fiber or Sunsweet PlumSmart and Prune Juice Light, confers the kind of benefits as the fiber found in naturally in foods.
Ocean Spray Cran-Energy Raspberry only has 35 calories per serving, and its energy" presumably comes from its green tea extracts 55 milligrams of caffeine and not added B vitamins. Otherwise, the drink is basically water, juice, added vitamins, safe artificial sweeteners, and, to its discredit, Red 40 dye.
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