There’s usually a good reason whenever food labels are vague. That’s exactly the case when it comes to Sunny D. Because, while it may be orange & seem like juice, it’s not actually orange juice. So, what is Sunny D really?
Sunny D calls itself “orange-flavored citrus punch”. But in reality, it barely resembles anything squeezed from a fruit. The two main components, water & high fructose corn syrup, are combined with some fruit juices, citric acid, sweeteners, sodium, and colorings (all of which make up less than 2% of the recipe). One of the most flagrant additives is an alternative sweetener called acesulfame potassium, which has actually been banned in several countries for being a potential carcinogen.
Sunny D certainly isn’t good for you, though it’s not really any worse than most other sugary kids’ drinks. But the difference between Sunny D and, say, sodas or chocolate beverages, is that Sunny D’s marketing tries to make it seem nutritious. Nutritionists & the orange juice industry have been combating Sunny D’s deceptive branding practices for many years. Because, for a long time, the orange taste, color, and images of actual oranges on the bottle have fooled customers into thinking they’re buying genuine orange juice. They also advertise the drink’s high vitamin content, with even the name “Sunny D” indicating each container is loaded with vitamin D. Yet, while it does contain 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, its sugar content negates whatever nutritional value it may have otherwise held.
Sunny D did experiment, back in 2009, with a 70% fruit juice drink over in the UK. But it wasn’t long before they reverted back to the old formula after sales plunged. But if you like the sugary taste of Sunny D, then keep drinking it. If you’re looking for something actually nutritious to quench your thirst, however, just make sure the label of the bottle you buy says “real orange juice”.
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