Is V8 Juice Healthy or Is It Terrible for You? Here's What an Expert Says
When you think of a vegetable drink, V8 is probably the one that comes to mind first. But is it really a healthy drink? Some beverages might seem healthy at first glance, but they can be sneaky sources of sugar, sodium, or calories.
To help clear up all the health advantages and disadvantages associated with drinking V8, we checked in with Morgan Brod, RD, CDN, to help us break it down once and for all. While V8 comes in a plethora of savory flavors—including Spicy Hot, Low Sodium, Essential Antioxidants, High Fiber, Low Sodium Spicy Hot, Hint of Black Pepper, and Bloody Mary Mix, as well as a slew of fruit and vegetable blends and an Energy and Hydrate line—we honed in on the V8 Original drink specifically.
See what we learned about the popular veggie thirst-quencher and if V8 is actually good for you.
What are the ingredients in V8 Original?
First things first: what exactly is in that can of veggie juice? Well, the ingredients in V8 Original are vegetable juice (water and concentrated juices of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress, spinach), salt, vitamin C, beta carotene, natural flavoring, and citric acid.
V8 prides itself on the quality of the drink's ingredients, with the tomatoes being mainly grown in California by family farmers. The website says that the "ripe tomatoes are harvested and transported directly to our nearby plants to be washed, peeled, and pureed. Tomato juice makes up about 90 percent of our V8 juices."
The other vegetable ingredients are "grown mostly in the U.S. and then driven to our processing facility in Napoleon, Ohio, where they are washed, pureed, and concentrated."
What are the nutrition facts for a bottle of V8 Original?
Here's the breakdown of what you'll get nutrition-wise from an original V8 drink.
It also contains 30 percent of your daily value of vitamin A and 120 percent of your vitamin C fix.
"The only carbs are from the vegetables and there is no added sugar," Brod says, while also pointing out the healthy abundance of vitamin A.
"[Vitamin] A is important for essential functions like your immune system and vision," she says. "Thirty percent of the recommended daily amount is a great start!"
The high daily value amount of vitamin C is also great to help you boost your immune system.
What are the benefits of drinking the Original V8 juice?
There is a myriad of benefits associated with the V8 original drink, with one being that there isn't as much sugar as there typically is in many other juices on the market.
"I love that there is no added sugar in this vegetable juice," Brod says. Additionally, the ingredients in the drink are beneficial as well.
"The vegetables included, like tomatoes, spinach, carrots, and beets, are full of vitamins and minerals that provide a wide array of nutritional benefits," she says, while also noting all the antioxidants they provide.
"Antioxidants can be found in a range of fruits and vegetables and can contribute to protecting our bodies against chronic conditions like cancer and cardiovascular disease," she says.
According to the V8 website, a vast majority of their products are made without GMO ingredients. On top of that, their bottles are made with recyclable plastic and do not contain BPA.
Is drinking V8 Original drink the same, better, or worse than eating vegetables?
A noteworthy difference between drinking a V8 and eating vegetables is the fiber content because whole vegetables are greater in fiber.
"You are still receiving vitamin and mineral benefits from the juice, but you lose a portion of the fiber content you would intake from vegetables in their full form," Brod says. "For example, per 8-ounce serving of V8, there are two servings of vegetables, which provide two grams of fiber. Two servings or 1 cup of raw vegetables can provide an average of four grams of fiber."
So, why is consuming so much fiber important? "Fiber is important for cardiovascular and digestive health," Brod says. It also keeps you feeling full.
All in all, Brod says that "getting a variety of fruits and vegetables in their many different forms (juice, raw, cooked) will likely help an individual get in the variety of nutritional benefits they have to offer, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals."
How much should you consume if you're an avid V8 Original drinker?
The American Heart Association recommends five servings of vegetables daily, and V8 nutrition facts claim only two servings of vegetables per 8-ounce glass. That said, because just some of the recommended servings are present, Brod recommends filling in the blanks with other sources.
"The more variety the better, as each vegetable provides unique nutritional content," she says. "Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach contain calcium, folate, and vitamin K, while red and yellow-hued vegetables like peppers and tomatoes provide vitamin C and vitamin A."
And because every vegetable is not present in V8 Original drink, "the key is getting a variety of vegetables elsewhere, this way you are more likely to meet the recommended daily amount of each nutrient and utilize their benefits."
How does V8 Original drink compare to other "healthy" drink options?
Brod advises eating your food rather than drinking it to yield the most benefits.
"First, you are likely digesting the whole food more completely, as it has not been processed. Second, because sometimes 'healthy' drink options have a lot of hidden calories and ingredients that a client may not have meant to eat," she says.
The good thing about V8 Original, though, is that it's actually fairly low in calories and contains very straightforward ingredients. Another popular vegetable drink, Naked, for example, "has a variety of flavors that tend to be much more calorically-dense even though it still provides sources of fruits and vegetables," Brod says.
It's also important to keep in mind that V8 is rather high in sodium, with a 12-ounce can clocking in at more than 900 milligrams. So for those who need to watch their sodium intake, this might not be the best drink of choice to sip on all the time.
Are there other veggie drinks that are better than V8 Original drink?
While there are many other vegetable drinks on the market, many contain fruit, which means they are typically higher in sugar. Some also contain preservatives.
"Always read the ingredients on packed fruit and vegetable juices and make sure there are no hidden ingredients," Brod says.
To avoid hidden ingredients or ones you should or need to avoid, try making a homemade vegetable juice, or visiting a local juice bar.
So, is V8 Original a good or bad drink for you?
As we learned from speaking to Brod, there are a lot of benefits to drinking V8 original drink. However, she says that "with any individual product or food, it is hard to give it a 'yes it's good' or 'no it's bad' out of context from your overall diet. All foods can fit, but the goal is always to have a variety of foods to satisfy an individual's specific nutrition needs."
Enjoy V8 in moderation, and definitely choose it over soda or any other high-sugar juices on the shelf.