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Food/Nutrition Columnist Author: Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN - Food and Nutrition Columnist - Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Juice Often Gets A Bad Rap – Here Are Some Brands Worth A Try

By Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN - Food and Nutrition Columnist -
Mar 31, 2014 - 12:03:00 AM

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( - Sweetened fruit drinks and soda are taking a lot of flak as prime movers in the cause of obesity. Experts say we drink too many fluid calories, eat too much sugar, and often make poor choices buying drinks for the family. They are right, but what is lost in this message is that 100% fruit or vegetable juice is moderate in calories, can add a nutrition boost, and can be a good drink choice.

Fruit flavored beverages come in many variations - 100% juice, drinks, ades, and punches. 100% juice is just that - fruit juice with nothing added. It is always stated on the label. No other fruit beverage can make that claim, though some state the percentage of real fruit juice (ex. Contains 12% juice) on the label. Many fruit drinks have no real fruit juice at all. If you don't see 100% fruit juice, read the ingredient listing. You might be surprised at what you find and it may not be what you thought was in the juice.

One-half cup of 100% juice equals a serving. One or 2 servings a day for an adult is fine. You can increase the serving size by mixing real fruit juice with seltzer or sparkling water, getting the same nutrients with no added calories. Another good tip is to freeze juice in an ice cube tray and use a few fruit cubes to flavor plain water.

Parents often overuse juice for kids thinking they are offering a healthy alternative to soda. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only 100% juice for children and provides these daily guidelines.

  • Infants under 6 months - no juice
  • Over 6 months and up to 6 years - 4 to 6 ounces (this equals ½ to 3/4 cup a day)
  • Age 7 to 18 years - 8 to 12 ounces a day (this equals 1 to 1½ cups a day)

I recently had the opportunity to try 3 juice brands, all with 100% fruit or vegetable juice.

Natalie's Orchid Island Juice ( started over 20 years ago producing 100% fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice. Today, both the company and the juice line have grown but their original focus on freshly squeezed juice remains. Natalie's Orchid Island offers orange, grapefruit, lime and lemon juice along with juice blends: orange mango, orange pineapple, and honey tangerine.

The juice is sourced from Florida fruit and each cap of Natalie's juice boosts "Product of USA, USA Certified" to show both the product and packaging are US made. The juice is kosher certified (OU) and flash pasteurized to insure it is free of bacteria and safe to drink. The FDA requires warning labels on unpasteurized juice because of the potential of carrying foodborne microbes that could cause illness. Flash pasteurization solves this problem.


Red Jacket Orchards ( is a third generation, family owned business that grows apples and bottles juice in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

The juice is cold-pressed, unfiltered, and flash pasteurized to ensure safety. They produce:

  • 100% Fruit blends - Fuji Apple, Raspberry Apple, Strawberry Apple, Blackcurrant Apple (all with 120 calories in 1 cup plus 47% of your daily need for vitamin C), and Grape Apple (120 calories in 1 cup and 6% of your daily need for vitamin C)
  • 100% Fruit Stomps (the brand's name for nectars) - Apricot (85 calories in 1 cup plus 95% of your daily need of vitamin A and 70% of vitamin C) and Tart Cherry (130 calories in 1 cup)
  • Ciders - Classic and Spiced ( both 120 calories in 1 cup)

For over 90 years the Hirzel family has been canning tomatoes under their Dei Fratelli ( brand. The company has expanded its line to include Truly Tomato! and Truly Veggie! not-from-concentrate juice, packaged in reclosable paperboard cartons. Both are 100% juice, grown and packed in the US, and provide a fresh tomato taste. They are kosher certified.

  • Truly Tomato! has 40 calories in an 8-ounce serving, 1000 IUs of vitamin A, 42 milligrams of vitamin C, 520 milligrams of potassium and 450 milligrams of sodium.
  • Truly Veggie! has 40 calories in an 8-ounce serving, 1250 IUs of vitamin A, 42 milligrams of vitamin C, 550 milligrams of potassium and 480 milligrams of sodium.

Every one of these brands is worth a try.

© NRH Nutrition Consultants, Inc.
Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the author of the nutrition counter series for Pocket Books with sales of more than 8.5 million books.

Look for:

The Diabetes Counter, 5th Ed., 2014

The Fat and Cholesterol Counter, 2014

The Most Complete Food Counter, 3rd ed., 2013

The Calorie Counter, 6th Ed., 2013

The Complete Food Counter, 4th ed., 2012

The Protein Counter, 3rd Ed., 2011

The Ultimate Carbohydrate Counter, 3rd Ed., 2010

The Healthy Wholefoods Counter, 2008

Your Complete Food Counter App:

For more information on Jo-Ann and her books, go to:


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