Pass by the coolers at almost any à la carte dining place or market on campus and you will find Naked Juice filling the shelves. Rainbow colored rows of bottles flaunting phrases such as “100% Juice”, “All Natural”, and “Non-GMO” attract the attention of health-conscious students. Yet it is because of these assertions that Naked Juice Co. of Glendora Inc. found itself in a class-action lawsuit, according to the website www.NakedJuiceClass.com.
“The lawsuit claims that the [Naked Juice products] contain ingredients that are not “All Natural” and contain GMOs,” reads the site.
GMOs are genetically modified organisms, and questions about the negative side effects that may accompany them have enhanced the debate on whether these organisms should be labelled.
According to an ABC News Consumer Report, Naked Juice will continue to label its products ‘Non-GMO’ but will enlist a third-party to confirm the accuracy of their ‘Non-GMO’ status.
So just how naked is your Naked Juice?
Açai Machine is one flavor of Naked Juice that boasts a number of health benefits. The Açai berry is a super food and Naked Juice packs 178 of the free-radical fighters into the drink along with 14 concord grapes, two apples, one banana, and three-fourths of a plum.
Sounds like a health-nut’s antioxidant dream, but take a closer look at the nutrition label and the dream might be less than fantastical.
The 160 calories per serving seems reasonable but keep in mind that number is only for half of the 15.2 ounce bottle. The bottle also contains 48 grams of natural sugar and a mere 4 grams of protein.
The first item on the ingredient list is Apple Juice, followed by Banana Puree, Plum Puree and Açai Puree respectively. Though these items are not unhealthy, they are not as naked as Naked Juice’s labels lead customers to believe.
When choosing a Naked Juice-or any food product for that matter- it is important to be conscious of the ingredients and the nutritional values. Some flavors of Naked Juice are better than others, and according to nutrition consultant and personal trainer Jessy Hamawai, consumers should purchase the juices that have been fortified with vitamins and added boosters.
“The vitamins were eliminated during pasteurization,” said Hamawai, a process where “the juice is heated to destroy harmful bacteria, vitamins are destroyed at high heat, and Naked never bothered to put synthetic vitamins back into the drink afterwards.”
Açai Machine has the added boosters Hamawai mentions, and contributes 100% to the average person’s daily Vitamin A and Vitamin C needs, along with 300% to their daily Vitamin E needs based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Despite the ambiguity surrounding the labelling of Naked Juice, the health benefits that come from the fruits, vegetables, or combination of the two in every drink cannot be denied. It may not be the first choice for the health (and money) conscious consumer, but it is a step in the right direction for the fruit juice world.