In India, many sweetened drinks are labelled as fruit juice, drinks like Frooti, Maaza, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange, Tropicana and Real fruit juice all claim to be 100% fruit juice but in reality some contain as little as 25% fruit content in them.
Definition of Fruit Juice
If the drink is made using fruit concentrate it is labeled as a fruit drink, beverage, or cocktail. Fruit drinks are usually calorically sweetened beverages with a small percentage of fruit juice or juice flavouring containing water.
Fruit drinks or nectars are composed of mainly three contents, i.e. water, fruit pulp and sugar. Popular mango fruit drinks have more than 10% concentrate while nectars have more than 20% concentrate.
Some of the popular fruit juice drinks ingredients as mentioned on their websites are as follows:
Real fruit juice ingredients: Water, Pomegranate Juice(35.1%)*, Sugar, Liquid Glucose, Acidity regulator (INS 300), Antioxidants (INS 300)
Tropicana Apple fruit juice ingredients: Water, Sugar (7.9%), Apple Juice Concentrate, Acidity Regulator (296), No artificial flavouring, No added preservative, Contains 44% Apple juice.
Minute Maid Orange juice ingredients: Water, Sugar, Orange Juice (11.8%), Acidity Regulator (330) and Antioxidant (300). Contains Permitted Synthetic Food Colours (110,102) & Added Orange Flavours (Natural, Nature-Identical and Artificial Flavouring Substances). Contains Fruit.
Mango Maaza ingredients: Water, Mango Pulp (19.5%), Sugar, Acidity Regulator (330), Antioxidant (300) and Preservative (202). Contains Permitted Synthetic Food Colour (110) and Added Mango Flavours (Natural, Nature-identical and Artificial Flavouring substances). Contains Fruit.
Therefore we can see that most of these fruit juices and drinks listed above have sugar, artificial flavouring ingredients and preservatives apart from fruit juice concentrate in them.
High Sugar Content in Fruit Juices
India is the third most obese nation in the world after USA and China and according to research statistics fruit juices sold in India often contain more sugar content in them than carbonated drinks.
Packaged Juices are low in fibre and high in fructose and so should be had in moderation or avoided completely. Fructose in juices is associated with insulin resistance leading to increase in blood sugar levels, high triglycerides, high uric acid, fatty liver, weight gain, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
Harmful chemicals in Fruit Juices
Many packaged fruit juices contain benzoic acid which if spilled on our skin can cause it to burn. Obviously the drink does not contain that amount of benzoic acid but it does a lot of harm in smaller quantities too.
Some fruit juices contain sodium benzoate, which when combined with certain ingredients forms benzene which is found to be carcinogenic. Some of them even contain calcium nitrate and magnesium chloride which can be harmful for our kidneys, intestines and even gums.
Artificial flavours and Additives in Juices
Artificial flavours and additives are added to juices which harm the teeth and intestines. It is found that the juice concentrate is made oxygen less to increase its longevity. This hampers the taste to a certain extent too. So additives and artificial flavouring agents are added to make it taste like the real fruit.
At Foodnetindia we believe that consumers must avoid packaged fruit juices and fruit drinks and eat whole fruit instead. Considering that most people in India consider these to be healthy and many suffer from lifestyle diseases where these should not be consumed, we urge the food regulators to insist that beverages containing more than 5% sugars must carry a warning label as unsuitable and potentially dangerous for adults with obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, blood sugar problems and related diseases.