It depends on what your definition of juice is

I have nothing against Minute Maid or The Coca Cola Company but a few months ago I happened to look at the label of the bottle of Minute Maid (MM) pulpy orange juice that I was drinking. I doubt if you can tell from the scanned image but the ingredients listed are as follows: Water, Sugar, Orange Juice (12.5%), etc.

Orange Juice but with a bit of water

It’s the 12.5% orange juice that surprised me so much that I ended up peeling the label, scanning it, annotating the image, and writing a blog post about it. (Yes, I do realize that there are other things one can do in the time I have spent.)

I haven’t looked up labels of other orange juice manufacturers because I don’t drink a lot of processed juices, but this incident got me thinking about the kind of advertising that we’re shown on TV and the product that ends up in our stomach. I don’t recall the advertisement mentioning that the dilution was so much — 1 part orange juice to 7 parts water . With this kind of dilution ratio, you’re drinking a lot more water than orange juice, which is not bad health-wise. Except that you’re paying to drink orange juice not water.

In addition, I think that if I were to make orange juice with this kind of dilution, I’d need to add a fair bit of sugar to the mix to make it taste like reasonable orange juice, which isn’t the healthiest thing. (If you make orange juice at home, you probably will need to add a little bit of water and maybe some sugar, but I doubt if you’re going with those kinds of dilution ratios in the first place.)

The point of all this is to tell you that every once in a while it makes sense to look at the labels of the (processed) food you’re consuming. We tend to remember the advertising when we buy products and advertisers aren’t known for their tendencies to disclose all information. Even this information that I found was in a much smaller font than the other text on the label.

You probably know what RTFM is, maybe we need to RTFFP – Read The (um) Fine Print.


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