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What's Really in Your Juice?

We know pop is not good for us. We see the results of it all around us in the waistlines of millions of Canadians. You could switch to water but you don't like the flavor. So you look for something healthier and you decide on juice.
It's fruit right? How could it be bad for you. Fruit comes from nature so it has to be healthy. Let's look at some of the wording printed on the labels of fruit beverages and see what they really mean.

Made from concentrate
This means the juice went through a process that removed water and left behind a concentrated form of (very sugary) juice. Then, the company will add water back in to make the juice. They may also add sugar at this point, so to avoid added sweeteners, look for the words, 100 percent juice with no added sugar. Remember though, juice is a condensed form of calories with no fiber, so drinking too much can easily pack on pounds.

Natural flavors
This is a murky term describing anything used to flavor food. One example: Orange juice may use the peels, rinds, and other byproducts to spruce up the taste. What it doesn't mean: that the drink is "natural." Processing may have removed these flavorings far from the original source.

With added vitamins or minerals
Companies pump nutrients into drinks to make them sound healthier, but your body benefits most from nutrients found in whole foods instead of when they're added in. (Plus, added vitamins may convince you that the drink is healthy, so you may ignore less healthy ingredients like sugar.)

Colors and dyes
Blue #1 anyone? We recommend avoiding any drink with added colors "natural or synthetic" because these are often used to make drinks look more nutritious (like they were made with fruit, for example).

Bottled iced teas
General rule of thumb: Brew your own. Research from 2010 found that bottled varieties contain significantly fewer good-for-you antioxidant polyphenols than the real stuff. For some, you'd need to drink a whopping 20 bottles to equal one cup of traditional tea. If you're craving it and you're on the go, pick up calorie-free unsweetened bottles like those from Honest Tea.

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