Companies have stepped up their juice game in the last few years, and there are now quite a few bottled options at the grocery store. They come in a variety of fruits, flavors, and colors, and are known for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Others, though, are loaded with additives—especially added sugar and high fructose corn syrup—and are not what you’d find fresh on a tropical island or at home if you made your own juice.
It’s easy to spot these juice impersonators. Checking the ingredients label can tell you everything you need to know about what’s in the bottle you pick up. But, to help you out the next time you’re in the juice aisle, we ranked the most common juices found at the grocery store from best to worst based on nutrition.
The Best Juices
Usually, when we think of pomegranates we think of the small, flavorful seeds—known as arils—that come out of the fruit. Eating pomegranate arils or adding them to salads or even dessert recipes is a great way to enjoy their sweet and tangy flavor, but you can also drink them in juice form thanks to POM Wonderful and get all the benefits pomegranate is known for!
Each 16-ounce bottle contains the juice of four pomegranates (aka the original superfruit), which has as much potassium as two medium bananas and known for free-radical-fighting antioxidants. POM Wonderful uses only the juice of the original superfruit grown and harvested in California, which you can see by the “100% Pomegranate Juice” on the front of the bottle. These pomegranates are handpicked and whole-pressed to release the polyphenols in the rind, pith, and arils.
What could be better than 100% pure pomegranate juice that doesn’t contain any preservatives, added sugars, or artificial sweeteners? As you’ll see next, other juices can’t relate.
Tart Cherry Juice
Did you know there’s a difference between regular cherry and tart cherries? In fact, tart cherries actually contain 20 times more vitamin A than the sweet cherries we all know and love, and it’s available at supermarkets in a convenient juice.
Drinking a store-bought tart cherry juice low in added sugars can be a good alternative to many other popular juice options at the grocery store.
While other juices on this list come from fan-favorite fruits, this one is from a veggie. Sure, it may not be as tasty as those, but it is popular enough to be available right in the supermarket down the street.
Several options don’t contain any additives besides lemon juice or another natural flavoring. This limits the sugar content to less than about 20 grams per 8 ounces.
OJ is known for it’s vitamin C, and for good reason. An 8-ounce cup contains 100% of your vitamin C recommendation per day and contains essential nutrients like 15% of the daily value of potassium, 15% of the daily value of thiamine, and 15% of the daily value of folate.
There are many options at the grocery store, but some have more added sugar than others. To balance this out, choose an orange juice without any extra ingredients and add a little bit of water to dilute the sugar content.
The Worst Juices
Cranberry Juice Cocktail
Of all the juices at the grocery store, this ruby-red option is one to shy away from. Some brands carry this juice but may blend in high fructose corn syrup and other added sweeteners that can amount to upwards of a total 60 grams of sugar, 53 grams of which are added sugar—that’s more than 12-ounces of your average soda.
Peach Mango Juice
The evolution of grocery store juices has led to some of your favorite individual fruits being combined into one tasty drink. Peach and mango are already sweet summer fruits, and many juice brands add additional sweeteners to their bottles. Drinking upwards of 40 grams of sugar in one 12-ounce bottle can be a huge energy zapper—just like the afternoon sun on a hot summer day.
Fruit salad is a classic crowd-favorite at any gathering, so companies knew what they were doing when they combined the juices of some of the most popular fruits out there into one. Yet the ingredient lists for different brands include added cane sugar. Not only is this adding a bunch of sugar to your day, but it’s also a big increase in calories you wouldn’t get from eating the fruit whole or if you opted for a 100% juice option.
One sip of grape juice can take you back to childhood, but is it worth it? There are tons of options at every grocery store, but they are often filled with added sugar and preservatives. Without properly measuring, you could end up drinking the same amount of sugar as six or seven doughnuts in one sitting.
Some even are missing added vitamin C that other brands contain. Be sure to check the ingredients the next time you’re at the store to make sure you know what you’re getting.