Thursday, September 30, 2010

Highly Processed, But Natural?

My husband took my son for a little bit on Sunday night so I had time to enjoy the silence and contemplate important issues.  Was I pondering politics in other districts, specifically Loretta Sanchez and her racist attack against Van Tran and other Vietnamese immigrants?  Was I wondering if life as we know it would be sustainable on another planet?  Did I come up with a way to remove the corruption that keeps world hunger in existence?  No, no, and no. 

I was studying a container of juice.  A heavy topic, to be certain.

You might not think a container of juice would yield any interesting information, but you would be wrong.  I personally classify juice in nearly the same category as cola - it's a rare treat and isn't really good for you.  This particular juice was used in some mock-vodka sunrises I made when we had friends over last month so I didn't really expect it to be a healthy beverage.  After all, I was only going to make cocktails.

The words on the container certainly made it sound like the contents were fabulous and healthy:  Natural, 100% Vitamin C, and Pomegranate were the most prominent words emblazoned on the front label.  Actually, those were the only words that drew my eye at all.  Sounds good so far, right?  Right??

On a lark, I checked out the back label.  That is where the juice's dirty little secrets were exposed.  A total of 160 calories and 38 grams of sugar per 8 fluid ounce serving.   YIKES!  Seriously, you might as well drink a cola because at least you'll get the pep from the caffeine.  Um, that is if you aren't simply making alcoholic beverages for your friends. 

Ingredients:  Filtered water (great), high fructose corn syrup (um, what?!), pomegranate (this word was splashed so prominently across the front label that it would be understandable to assume the contents were only juice of a pomegranate), white grape and concord grape concentrates (uh, okay), citric acid (necessary I suppose), Vitamin C (had to be in there somewhere I guess), and "natural flavors" (what flavors, exactly?  and what do they consider "natural?").

What's my complaint with the ingredients?  Well, I hope this doesn't sound like I'm picking flysh*t out of the pepper, but the ingredients list doesn't really seem to jive with the words on the front label.  Again, I consider juice to be a junk food so I'm not really looking for something nutritious in a bottle of juice.  I'm definitely not a natural-foods-nazi, but I find it misleading to call a juice product "natural" when HFCS is featured more prominently than the fruit juice itself. 

What crazy food labels have you read lately?

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