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Naked Juice is a fruit and vegetable smoothies brand owned by PepsiCo. It comes in enticing flavor combinations, such as the Naked Green Machine, which has a blend of apples, broccoli, kiwi, and other different fruits and vegetables. They’ve recently gained a lot of popularity since people have taken up juicing as a trendy and healthy lifestyle, but there are a lot of controversies that are hanging around it. So are Naked drinks healthy? Do they add any nutritional value?
PepsiCo was sued by CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest). The Naked Juice lawsuit was largely about misleading consumers by marketing the Naked Juice beverages as a healthier alternative with more nutritional content than it really has.
For instance, its Pomegranate Blueberry juice is advertised as a healthy, no-sugar-added beverage, but its single 15.2-ounce container (smallest option) contains roughly 61 g of sugar. This is almost 50% more sugar than what a 12-ounce can of Pepsi contains.
According to the CSPI, the Naked Juices brand misled consumers into believing that the drink is packed with nutrients and natural sugar when it actually contains “…cheap, nutrient-poor juices.” For instance, the Kale Blazer is high doses of apple juice and orange juice, despite its heavy emphasis on leafy-green imagery on packaging and marketing. Additionally, Naked drinks contain the same amount of similar calories and sugar content as a regular Pepsi can.
What’s In the Naked Juice Bottle?
According to Pepsi Co., Naked Juice gets its title from the absence of preservatives, artificial flavors, and added sugars in its drink composition. Some of its drinks have been used to supplement vitamins and healthy foods, such as spirulina.
A Naked Juice standard bottle contains 53g of sugars added and more than 250 calories. It may not contain added sugars, but the high-calorie and natural sugar amounts in this drink don’t exactly scream healthy. Neither do these high amounts recommended in a healthy diet.
Nutrition Facts in Naked Juices
The 15.2-ounce (450-ml) bottle of Green Machine Naked Juice has 270 calories. The other options, such as the Blue or Red Machine, have 320 calories and 76 grams of carbs in the 15.2-ounce (450-ml) bottle.
a) High in Sugar and Low in Fiber Content
Naked Juice has a high sugar composition from naturally occurring sugar-like fruits. Furthermore, the Naked drink is low in fiber since most of the nutrients are removed in the extraction process.
NB: The American Heart Association recommends a maximum of 9 teaspoons (37.5 grams of sugar) of sugar for men and 6 teaspoons (25 grams of sugar) for women on daily intake.
The 15.2-ounce (450-ml) bottle of Green Machine Naked juice gives an amount equivalent to 13 teaspoons (53 grams), which far exceeds the recommendations.
The dietary guidelines by the USDA suggest having 2 cups of fruit per day, either from 100% fruit juice or whole fruits, and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day. However, since fruit juices are comparatively lower in fiber, the USDA emphasizes that at least 1 cup should be in the form of whole fruits. Therefore, a healthy meal might need to limit juice intake and eat whole fruits more.
The bottom line is a bottle of Naked Juice might not be as nutritious a drink as you may think. Like most juices, it’s relatively high in sugar and quite low in fiber.
b) Potential Health Benefits
- When you drink Naked Juice, you get a decent amount of antioxidants, most notably vitamin C. The level of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables is relatively higher than what you’d get from non-plant supplements. This level of composition helps safeguard you from diseases
Note: Antioxidants help protect the body against certain diseases and damage caused by free radicals. Fruit and vegetable juices with antioxidants and folate significantly increase your blood levels and blood antioxidant levels for beta carotene.
- Naked Juice drinks contain some amount of nutrients that may help people with suboptimal fruit intake meet some of their daily fruit and vegetable requirements
Moderate consumption of Naked Juice may have several benefits; however, intake of 100% natural juice or raw fruits still beats it.
Why is the Naked Juice Not So Healthy?
Naked Juice drinks have some potential health benefits. However, since they’re low in fiber and high in sugar content, it doesn’t qualify as a healthy beverage that should replace eating raw vegetables and fruits.
a) High Sugar Content
Even whole fruits and vegetable juices may contain a high amount of natural sugars since a glass of juice packs multiple servings of whole fruit.
For instance, a regular 450-ml bottle of Red Machine Naked Juice is made from almost 2 apples, 7 grapes, 11 strawberries, 13 raspberries, half of a banana, 1/4 of a pomegranate, 2/3 of an orange, and 3 cranberries.
High sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes as well. On the other hand, eating raw fruits and vegetables significantly decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
b) Low in Fiber Content
The juicing process of fruit and vegetable juices, including the manufacture of Naked Juice, removes most of the fiber.
Fiber is linked to weight management since it helps promote the feeling of fullness, which helps regulate your food intake and appetite. Fiber also helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. Additionally, it helps stabilize your insulin secretion and blood sugar levels. It has also been linked to preventing blood sugar spikes, a risk factor in type 2 diabetes.
c) Calorie Content and Weight Gain
Since Naked Juice contains fruit and vegetable juice, its sugar content is mostly made up of fructose, which is one of the naturally occurring sugars in fruit.
Science suggests that consuming a huge amount of fructose lowers your calorie expenditure and lower fat-burning rate. It has also been linked to insulin resistance and an increase in calorie intake and belly fat.
Moreover, the liquid calories in fruit juice are less likely to make you feel fuller than the calories you’d get from food. This could potentially lead to a higher calorie intake.
Note: Drinking Naked Juice has a high concentration in sugar, is low in fiber, and might actually lead to weight gain with time.
So is Naked Juice healthy? If you had to choose between a Pepsi can or a smoothie, the latter would be the healthier option since it provides some nutritional value. Pepsi and other sodas have added sugar and don’t have any vitamins or minerals, making them full of empty unhealthy calories.
The naked truth is that the high sugar and calorie content in Naked Juices can negatively impact your health, especially if you consume a lot of sugar. This also doesn’t help if you’re trying to lose weight. However, if you are struggling to add fruit and vegetables to your diet, then juice or smoothie could give you a decent amount of nutrients that you may otherwise be missing out on.
Additionally, juicing is best used as 1 of your fruit and vegetable servings daily. It’s always best to get your nutrient intake from raw fruits and vegetables, which should make up most of your daily diet. Since the recommended amount of juice is not more than 4-6 ounces daily, you could consider sharing your bottle of Naked juices with a friend- or two. Cold-pressed drinks and Half-Naked smoothies available from Naked Juices line are a much ‘healthier’ option when consumed in moderation.
As suggested by many licensed nutritionists, juicing on natural juice added sugar or raw fruits is much better than a lot of the marketed juicing alternatives such as Naked juices.