Top Picks

The 18 Worst ‘Healthy’ Juices

Just because fruit is healthy doesn't make fruit juice a waistline-friendly pick.

Top Picks

The 18 Worst ‘Healthy’ Juices

Just because fruit is healthy doesn't make fruit juice a waistline-friendly pick.

Sure, they’re “natural” and overflowing with vitamin C, but fruit juices aren't as healthy as they seem. The difference between the beverage and its produce companion is the presence of fiber. This digestion-slowing, belly-filling macronutrient is key when it comes to minimizing spikes in blood sugar and keeping your energy levels from tanking soon after you finish sipping a glass. The proof is in the pudding: According to Harvard researchers, when participants swapped out three glasses of fruit juice with three servings of whole fruit a week, it was associated with a 7 percent reduction in risk of type 2 diabetes.

And yes, juices sound like they could be better for you because they contain “natural” sugars, but unfortunately, your body can’t tell the difference. These carbs are treated the same way as added sugars in your body; and that’s extra bad news since some of these drinks contain more sweet stuff than a soda. Yikes.

Because juices are often touted as a health food, it makes them all the more dangerous. Studies have shown that when people perceive a food as healthier we tend to eat—or drink—more of it. That’s why we’ve searched through grocery store shelves to find the worst “healthy” juices that are really diet blunders in disguise. Cut out these sugary concoctions and blend yourself one of these fiber-rich 56 Smoothies for Weight Loss instead.

1

Welch's 100% Grape Juice with Fiber

Per 8 fl oz: 150 calories, 0 g fat, 20 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (3 g fiber, 36 g sugar), 1 g protein

How can a sugary, but healthy, food like fruit go from being healthy to unhealthy? Easy: strip it of its benefits. Fruit may contain sugar, but it also contains water and fiber: two nutrients that help fill you up and slow down your body’s digestion of sugars so you get a slow release of energy. When you turn fruit into juice, you’re losing this digestion-slowing fiber. Welch's tries to make up for it by adding fiber back into their juice, but the mere three grams of added fiber is no match for the 36 grams of sugar you’ll still down when you drink a whole glass. Bolthouse Farms, on the other hand, adds a sturdy 8 grams of fiber to stand up to their 19 grams of sugar in their Multi-V Goodness Orange drink.

Drink This! Instead:

Bolthouse Farms Multi-V Goodness Orange
Per 8 fl oz: 130 calories, 0 g fat, 70 mg sodium, 31 g carbs (8 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 1 g protein

2 & 3

Probiotic Juices

Naked Boosted Probiotic Machine Tropical Mango
Per 15.2 fl oz bottle: 280 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (3 g fiber, 53 g sugar), 3 g protein

Tropicana Probiotics Pineapple Mango
Per 8 fl oz: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (0 g fiber, 29 g sugar), < 1 g protein

By now you’ve probably heard of the belly-healing bacteria called probiotics; Despite their popularity, did you know they’re not exclusive to the Greek yogurt aisle anymore? Lab-grown strains of probiotics are being added to foods that don’t naturally have them, like these juices. And, frankly, it’s a bit ironic. Emerging research finds that diets rich in sugary products are associated with a high ratio of bad bacteria to good bacteria in the gut. Experts believe the problem stems from sugar being the primary source of fuel for the fungi that can destroy beneficial probiotics. Translation: probiotic-infused sugary drinks are about as counterproductive as drinking an espresso before going to sleep. If you want some probiotics, we’d recommend making your own smoothie at home with yogurt, or pick up Bolthouse Farms’ Breakfast Smoothie made with cultured yogurt. Yes, it’s high in sugar, but it also contains 13 grams of prebiotic fiber: a source of food for probiotics.

Drink This! Instead:

Bolthouse Farms Peach Parfait Breakfast Smoothie
Per 15.2 fl oz bottle: 360 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 65 g carbs (13 g fiber, 44 g sugar), 11 g protein

4

Simply Orange High Pulp

Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 2 g protein

Sorry, but the “High Pulp” option for orange juices doesn’t equate to a higher fiber count. There are still zero grams of the digestion-slowing, energy-stabilizing macronutrient in a glass of this OJ. If you still want the taste of orange juice without the sugar crash, either slice up an orange and throw some into your water, or pick up a can of zero-calorie, zero-sugar sparkling beverage Perrier L’Orange.

Drink This! Instead:

Perrier L’Orange Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Per 8 fl oz: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein

5

Naked Pure Fruit Pomegranate Blueberry

Per 15.2 fl oz bottle: 290 calories, 0 g fat, 40 mg sodium, 68 g carbs (0 g fiber, 61 g sugar), 2 g protein

This juice might be naturally sweetened, but just because it’s made with real fruit doesn't justify gulping down a staggering 61 grams of sugar in a bottle. And yes, although we would typically give nutritional information for an 8-ounce serving, we made an exception for bottled drinks like Naked’s, whose packaging is unmistakably intended to be drunk by a single person at one time. Until the new nutrition label comes out in 2018 that instructs manufacturers to list nutritionals for the entire bottle rather than a cup, be on the lookout for food and beverages with sneaking serving sizes.

Eat This! Instead:

Pomegranate Seeds
Per ½ cup: 72 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 3 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 2 g protein

6

Langers Mango Nectar

Per 8 fl oz: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 35 g sugar), 0 g protein

Don’t fall prey to health halo labels like “100% Vitamin C,” “GMO Free,” and “No High Fructose Corn Syrup.” This offering from Langers is mostly filtered water with some mango puree, citric acid, natural flavor, and lots and lots of sugar. And always be wary of juice "cocktails," which is code for "loaded with sugar." Our Drink This! pick is lower in sugar, but we’d still recommend it to be a once-in-a-while treat rather than a daily drink.

Drink This! Instead:

Nantucket Nectars Orange Mango Juice
Per 8 fl oz: 125 calories, 0 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 30 g carbs (0 g fiber, 29 g sugar), 0 g protein

7

Odwalla Strawberry C Monster

Per 15.2 fl oz bottle: 240 calories, 0 g fat, 35 mg sodium, 58 g carbs (0 g fiber, 48 g sugar), 1 g protein

Homemade smoothies are an effective way to get in a blast of nutritents in an easy-to-digest snack, but the store-bought version is a whole other beast. This bottled smoothie is overflowing with sugar (in fact, it has 12 donuts worth of the sweet stuff), and it’s not justified just because these sugars are naturally-occurring. When fruit juice concentrates are added to sweeten products, it's just as bad as adding high fructose syrup as these natural sugars are lacking in fruit's waist-whittling partner in crime: fiber.

Eat This! Instead:

Strawberries
Per ½ cup: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 2 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 1 g protein (149% Vitamin C)

8

Naked Cold-Pressed Cool Pineapple

Per 12 fl oz bottle: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (0 g fiber, 30 g sugar), 1 g protein

Cold-pressed juices are supposed to preserve more micronutrients than juices that have been pasteurized—a high-temperature process that destroys temperature-sensitive nutrients—but that doesn’t mean this juice should be your go-to breakfast, or what Naked tries to sell as “the coolest thing to hit mornings since the snooze button.” The only thing being “hit” by this drink? Your energy levels—as they hit the floor—minutes after you’ve sipped through all 12 ounces of this drink because it’s made of 30 grams of sugar, with no digestive-slowing healthy fats, fiber, or protein.

Eat This! Instead:

Sunkist True Fruit Clusters Pineapple Crunch
Per ¼ cup: 35 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (3 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein

9

Ocean Spray PACt Cranberry

Per 8 fl oz: 10 calories, 0 g fat, 75 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 12 g erythritol), 0 g protein

Because cranberries are the lowest sugar fruit, they have a “distinctly tart, astringent, and even unpalatable taste” without the addition of sugar, according to a letter the Ocean Spray company wrote to the FDA in an outcry over the newly mandated line for “added sugars” on nutrition labels. Although Ocean Spray got around that issue by not adding any sugar to this beverage, they overdid it on the zero-calorie sweetener front: PACt Cranberry has a whopping 12 grams of sugar alcohol erythritol. When consumed in excess (which can be likely when you think a food is "healthier" for you since it doesn't have sugar), this sugar alcohol effectively acts as a laxative and can cause stomach pain, excessive internal gas, and flatulence in sensitive individuals. If you want the antioxidant benefits, try Ocean Spray’s other PACt fruit infusion line, which has no sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners and is low in sugar.

Drink This! Instead:

Ocean Spray PACt Fruit Infusions Cranberry Cherry Blueberry
Per 8 fl oz: 30 calories, 0 g fat, 45 mg sodium, 7 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein

10 & 11

Antioxidant Juices

Smart Juice Organic Antioxidant Force
Per 8 fl oz: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 20 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (1 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 2 g protein

Welch’s 100% Juice Antioxidant Superberry
Per 8 fl oz: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (0 g fiber, 36 g sugar), < 1 g protein

You probably have heard antioxidants are good for you, but that doesn’t mean drinking them in juice form is the preferable method of ingestion. Antioxidants are compounds that rid your body of free radicals: nefarious compounds that cause inflammation and lead to a host of diseases such as obesity and Alzheimer's. You may be getting an antioxidant boost in this drink, but you’re getting a staggering amount of sugar and little else. Eat some real blueberries instead. A study in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating (not drinking) berries daily could significantly reduce inflammation.

Eat This! Instead:

Blueberries
Per ½ cup: 40 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein

12

R.W. Knudsen Just Pomegranate

Per 8 fl oz: 170 calories, 0 g fat, 30 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (0 g fiber, 35 g sugar), < 1 g protein

Upon closer inspection of the label, you see that “Just Pomegranate” really means 100% premium pomegranate juice… from concentrate, mixed with water. And that means R.W. Knudsen could have added more water to dilute this sugary beverage, but they didn’t. POM Wonderful does a bit of better job by diluting their pomegranate juice to only 32 grams of sugar. When it comes down to it, however, you should still add more water to your pomegranate juice at home.

Drink This! Instead:

POM Wonderful
Per 8 fl oz: 150 calories, 38 g carbs (0 g fiber, 32 g sugar), < 1 g protein

13

Evolution Fresh Cold-Pressed, High-Pressure-Processed Orange Juice

Per 15.2-oz bottle: 228 calories, 0 g fat, 53 g carbs (0 g fiber, 49 g sugar), 4 g protein

This morning mainstay might be bright and refreshing, but it's loaded with sugar and relatively low in nutritive values besides vitamin C. Don't let their health-halo marketing skew your keen eyes away from the label. A single serving has 26 grams of sugar—and a single serving is only half the bottle. Although these grams may only be from fruit sugars and not added, regardless of source, sugars act the same way in your body. So guzzling down 49 grams of the sweet stuff in a single sitting can do some serious damage to your blood sugar levels if you don't pair it with foods high in fiber, protein, or healthy fats. Instead, choose a waistline-friendly option from Tropicana: Trop50. It has 50 percent less sugar and calories and is never made from concentrate.

Drink This! Instead:

Tropicana Trop50 No Pulp Calcium + Vitamin D
Per 8 fl oz: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), < 1 g protein

14

Ocean Spray 100% Juice No Sugar Added Cranberry

Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 0 g protein

At first glance, Ocean Spray’s “No Sugar Added,” “100% Juice” cranberry juice looks like a good choice, but there’s a hidden danger in this refined-sugar-free beverage; Ocean Spray sweetens their juice with fruit juice concentrates grape juice, apple juice, and pear juice. We’re all for cutting out refined sugar, but fruit juice concentrates rank even worse than refined sugar on our list of Every Popular Added Sweetener—Ranked!

That’s because fruit contains more of the fruit sugar fructose than table sugar does. (Although cane sugar is 50% fructose, apples can be 71% fructose, pears are 61% fructose, and grapes are 54% fructose.) Why all the negative press about fruit sugar? Because fructose isn’t used by our body as energy, this sugar get converted into fat and inflammatory compounds more easily than glucose does. Plus, a growing body of research connects high doses of fructose with the root of a host of metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and belly fat accumulation. For the same number of grams of sugar with less fructose, pick up Ocean Spray’s cane-sugar-sweetened original cranberry juice. And, please, dilute it with water.

Drink This! Instead:

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail Original
Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (0 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 0 g protein

15

V8 V-Fusion Light Strawberry Banana

Per 8 fl oz: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 35 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 0 g protein

By “Light,” V8 means they’ve watered down their regular V-Fusion Strawberry Banana drink (water is listed as the first ingredient in this beverage) while attempting to get the same level of sweetness with the addition of artificial sweetener sucralose. Unfortunately for you, high-intensity sweeteners like sucralose (aka Splenda) have been found to recalibrate your brain’s interpretation of sweetness, which can cause you to overconsume regular sugar-sweetened foods. Our suggestion? Buy the regular V8 V-Fusion, water it down yourself, and save yourself from artificial sweeteners.

Drink This! Instead:

V8 V-Fusion Strawberry Banana
Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 0 g protein

16

Odwalla Berries Gomega

Per 15.2 fl oz bottle: 270 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (2 g fiber, 47 g sugar), 3 g protein

The point of Odwalla’s “Gomega” drink is that you get 1,500 mg of anti-inflammatory omega-3, ALA fatty acids from the addition of ground flax seeds. Unfortunately, that only results in 2 grams of fiber and an absurdly high 47 grams of sugar in a bottle. For an extra boost of omega-3s, less sugar, and more fiber, go with Mamma Chia’s lightly-sweetened Organic Blackberry Hibiscus beverage which serves up 2,300 mg omega-3s and an impressive 4 grams of protein!

Drink This! Instead:

Mamma Chia Blackberry Hibiscus
Per 10 fl oz bottle: 120 calories, 4 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 12 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (6 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 4 g protein

17

Martinelli's Gold Medal Organic Apple Juice

Per 8 fl oz: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (0 g fiber, 31 g sugar), 1 g protein

Just because it’s “organic” doesn’t automatically mean it’s good for you. Yes, we’d recommend organic apple drinks over conventional as apples are notorious for their high levels of inflammatory pesticide contamination, but that doesn’t make all organic apple products safe for your belly. Martinelli’s offering is one of the highest sugar apple juices on the market, and simply switching to Apple & Eve’s beverage will save you 9 grams of sugar for the same safety of organic fruit.

Drink This! Instead:

Apple & Eve Organics Apple Juice
Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 5 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 0 g protein

18

Tropicana Farmstand Tropical Green

Per 8 fl oz: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 55 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (0 g fiber, 26 g sugar), 1 g protein

Devoid of fiber and full of sugar, Tropicana’s new Farmstand beverage isn’t any better than your average juice. And even if it has two “servings of fruit and vegetables in every glass,” you’re still missing one of the key benefits veggies offer: fiber! A glass of V8 is much lower in sugar and higher in fiber for the same number of “servings of veggies.”

Drink This! Instead:

V8 Low-Sodium Vegetable Juice
Per 8 fl oz: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 140 mg sodium, 10 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 2 g protein