What’s In That: The NAKED Edition
There is no denying that vegetable juice is good for you. Packed full of vital nutrients: essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients that your body is just screaming for. The problem is, these nutrients are very easily lost if not handled correctly.
This is where the issue with juices like Naked and Odwalla comes in. The juices may start out as wholesome vegetable and fruit juices but by the time they hit the store shelves most of them are nothing more than sugary, empty calories with little to no nutritional value. These juices go through a process called pasteurization where they heat it at high temperatures to kill off all the bad bacteria, problem is it kills off all the good stuff too: vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients. There is no point of drinking the juice when what is left is nothing more than highly processed sugary water!
Lets strip down the ingredient list on the ever so popular NAKED Green Machine (It’s green so it must be healthy, right??) and the seemingly healthy Veggie Blends.
- CONVENTIONAL FRUITS & VEGGIES
These companies are not using organic produce, which means you are flooding your body with a pile of chemical pesticides. The photo below should make you seriously question ever eating any non-organic produce again.
The Veggie Blends is a sugar bomb! The first NINE ingredients are syrups. YES SUGARY SYRUPS. Concentrate is just a fancy name for syrup. Juice concentrates are made from fruits and vegetables that are heated down to a syrup then they just add water back in! They do this to keep the juices shelf stable for longer periods of time. Yes the green machine boasts a lot of veggies, but you have to remember all of these veggies have been so highly heated that they barely resemble veggies anymore. Then add in the fact that there is 38 GRAMS of sugar in one bottle! I know a lot of you are thinking “but fruit sugar is okay, it’s not bad for you.” Yes this is true in small quantities and only applies when you are eating whole fruit. When you eat an apple or a piece of pineapple your body is getting a dose of fiber along with that fruit, slowing the entry of sugar into your bloodstream as well as slowing down your bodies natural response to release insulin. When you flood your body with straight sugar and no fiber to slow it down, the sugar goes almost instantly into your bloodstream, causing your body to work extra hard and release larger doses of insulin more quickly. More sugar is then sent to fat stores. Am I saying you should never have fruit juice? No. But I am certainly saying you should have real, freshly squeezed fruit juice (not from concentrate) and less of it. Generally when I make fresh juice (or buy it from a juice bar), I load it up with veggies and will sometimes add in a piece of pineapple or half an apple.
- CHICORY ROOT FIBER
After we get past the fruit syrups, there is the synthetic form of fiber “chicory root fiber” or better known as inulin. This is an artificial fiber added in to increase the fiber content of foods and drinks.
- SYNTHETIC VITAMINS
Since all the nutrients are lost during pasteurization and the heating down to syrups (concentrate), companies will add back in synthetic vitamins to make up for the loss. According to Melanie Warner from the book Pandora’s Lunchbox, “adding them back in wouldn’t work from a biological point of view, meaning they don’t function effectively when isolated from their natural fruit and vegetable habitat”. Not to mention, most of these vitamins are being created through chemical manipulation in labs, not from actual fruits and vegetables.
SO WHAT SHOULD I DRINK INSTEAD?
Get a juicer and make your own juices at home, find a local juice bar in your area and get a freshly juiced green juice! (Most Whole Foods have juice bars in them or you can go here for a full directory of juice bars across the country: //pressedjuicedirectory.com/) or pick up a cold pressed juice! Cold pressed juices are “pasteurized” using a method called High Hydrostatic Pressure Processing (HPP) that kills off any bad bacteria without the use of heat, therefore preserving all the essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients.
My personal favorite cold pressed juice on the market is Suja! You can find them at any Whole Foods or checkout their website to find where they are sold near you. //www.sujajuice.com/