Marketing tactics would have you believe that juice is a healthy beverage option – far better than sugary sodas or energy drinks. Phrases like "All Natural" and "No Sugar Added" bolster that mentality.
Unfortunately, for you, the consumer, these labels may mean nothing at all.
You've heard of Naked Juice, right? Those very colorful and robust-looking juices and smoothies which promise a myriad of health benefits? Perhaps you've even had one of these Naked Juices. Being "all natural," they are very popular with the health-conscious consumer. They have even been touted as being free of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, which is an increasing concern for many Americans. And a valid concern at that. These organisms, which can range from seeds to fish, are engineered for faster growth and more resilience to damaging forces and have been shown to cause everything from digestive distress to rapid tumor growth.
Naked Juice Is In the Hot Seat
Here's the thing; you've been duped. In fact, PepsiCo., which is the parent company to Naked Juice, recently settled a class action lawsuit and agreed to pay $9 million dollars to get themselves out of steaming hot water after it was discovered the juices were neither all natural nor GMO-free.
The $9 million is to go to a pool of consumers who believe they were misled by the company's claims. But if you're one of those consumers, don't quit your day job just yet. Each member of the class-action pool is only allotted a maximum of $45.
Forty-five dollars. That sure makes ingesting potentially dangerous preservatives and GMOs all worth it, don't you think?
Another Offender: Welch's Juice
Naked Juice isn't the only offender. Let's take the Welch's brand of juices, for example. This company brands itself as "Family Farmer Owned," and promotes its products as "Fruity and Refreshing." With flavors such as Strawberry Peach, Dragon Fruit Mango Cocktail and Orange Pineapple Apple, you'd think you're getting all the nutrition you need in a glass of fruity delightfulness.
The company was actually started by a family farmer; that much is true. And today the company continues to be owned by a cooperative of 1,150 grape farmers. But that's where the truth ends.
In fact, a single 8-oz serving of these supposedly better-for-you-than-soda juices actually has more sugar than eight ounces of soda. Not only that, but these juices actually contain more corn syrup – the high fructose kind – than fruit juice; up to 80 percent of the "juice" is comprised of corn syrup and water, while only 20 percent is actual fruit juice.
Did I mention the possibility of GMOs? Well, maybe likelihood is a better term. With all that HFCS, there's sure to be some GMO corn in the mix. But you'll never know that, because GMO labeling is not required in any state in the U.S. – even though 61 other countries around the world have GMO labeling regulations.
You may remember California tried to pass that initiative in November 2012, but was unsuccessful... mostly in part to the massive amount of money the opposing groups spent to keep GMOs off food labels. How much money, you ask?
Let's break it down:
- Total amount spent in support of GMO labeling: $8.7 million.
- Total amount spent in opposition of GMO labeling: $45.6 million
- Total amount spent by Monsanto alone in opposition: $8.1 million (nearly as much as the total efforts of the other side).
When did the wants of the people succumb to the almighty (and seemingly unlimited) dollar of big corporations?
You Are At Risk Every Single Day
And I'm not just talking about the big guys, like Monsanto and Dow. Companies who manufacture foods you probably eat every single day do everything they can to hide the fact that their products contain GMOs... and why wouldn't they? Profits are at risk. The American people are becoming smarter and more health-conscious, and these food companies know it. If "GMO" is slapped right there on the label, for all the world to see, their top executives' bonus checks might take a hit – and when you're part of the top one percent, you'll do anything to prevent that from happening.
Even companies that you might think are taking the path of health and wellness would shudder if you knew their products contained GMOs. Healthy Choice, Smart Ones, Nature Valley, Power Bar, V-8, Kashi... they are all GMO offenders.
Be Your Own Health Advocate
Here's the bottom line: they're not going to tell you, unless they're forced to tell you (and if that day ever comes, they'll be sure to find a way around it). You have to make the smartest choices for you and your family, and in order to do that, you need to be informed. Do your own research, your own investigating, and you'll soon figure out that you have to be your own health advocate.
It won't be easy, especially with corporations fighting tooth and nail to keep you in the dark. But it can be done.
Buczynski, Beth. "GMOs Force Naked Juice To Drop 'All Natural' Label." Care2.com. Care 2 Make a Difference, 22 July 2013. Web. 26 July 2013.
"Monsanto GMO Brands and Foods – Printable DO NOT BUY Shopping List." COVVHA.NET. Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance, 3 Apr. 2013. Web. 26 July 2013.
Longo, Natasha. "Exposing Kashi Cereal For The Poison That It Is." PreventDisease.com. N.p., 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 26 July 2013.
Adams, Mike. "Food Investigations: Welch's Fruit Juice Cocktails Contain More Corn than Fruit: 80% Water and High Fructose Corn Syrup." NaturalNews.com. Natural News, 2 May 2013. Web. 22 May 2013.
Bedard, Megan. "New Proof: GMOs Cause Tumors, Organ Damage, and Premature Death in Rats." TakePart.com. N.p., 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 19 Sept. 2012.