While Mom might have packed a Pepsi in your lunch every day back when you were still memorizing multiplication tables and crushing on JTT and Leo, these days few of us are drinking cola on a regular basis.
But according to a lawsuit filed by a nutrition watchdog group, bottled juice might not be much better. The group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), alleges that Naked Juice isn’t as healthy as it seems to be, Business Insider reports.
The claims? According to the lawsuit filed this week against Naked’s parent company, PepsiCo, one bottle packs more sugar than a can of Pepsi—and the labels make them look like they’re full of leafy greens, when in reality, they contain “cheap, nutrient-poor” ingredients like apple and orange juice. So what does Naked Juice have to say about all of this?
“There is nothing misleading about our juices and smoothies,” Naked Juice vice president/general manager Andrea Theodore says. “Honestly, we’ve been completely transparent since we founded the brand 30 years ago.” Theodore says that the label doesn’t hide anything, pointing out on the Bright Beets label that there are 2 1/2 beets, 1/3 of a carrot, and 1 3/4 apples inside.
But what about all the sugar? (Although Naked Juice has no added sugar, a 15.2-ounce bottle has 61 grams of the sweet stuff, about 50 percent more than a 12-ounce can of Pepsi.)
Theodore says it is naturally occurring from fruit, whereas Pepsi contains added sugar—so, to her, the comparison is unfair. Starting in 2018, the FDA will require all food and drink companies to specifically call out added sugar on the label, and Theodore is looking forward to the change, saying this can only help the brand.
This isn’t the first lawsuit Naked Juice has been hit with. In 2013, the brand was sued over its “all-natural” labeling. (The case was settled out of court, and Naked Juice agreed to pay $9 million and took the “all-natural” terminology off the labels.)
While the current lawsuit likely won’t be settled for a while, when it comes to drinking to your health, the power is in the hands of the consumer. “We spell everything out on the label so consumers can decide for themselves what’s best for themselves and their family,” Theodore says.
While fruits and veggies are surely more nutritious than the artificial ingredients in Pepsi, the fruit juices are high in sugar, even if it’s not added sugar—so if you’re on your way to kicking the habit, it’s not doing you any favors.
Does all this sugar talk make you want to switch to veggie-only drinks? Here are seven fruitless smoothies you can make at home. But there’s no need to give up all fruit—this one works as a natural probiotic.