What’s most associated with health and fitness besides exercise? Fruits and vegetables. Anyone who wants to eat healthy automatically assumes it’s all about fruits and vegetables. Combine that with the current craze of “juicing” everything and you have people reaching for yummy juice products like Naked juice.
With flavors like Green Machine, Mighty Mango, and Pomegranate Acai they’ve got the juice craze on lockdown. They’ve targeted all the right words like, “green,” “acai,” “sustainability,” “power,” “fresh,” and the list goes on. They’re even dabbling in the coconut water market now. I can’t knock the hustle or the marketing; I give five stars for both.
But product placement and buzzwords don’t equal health. And when you drill down to the roots — literally — of Naked juice, the facts just don’t live up to the hype.
Is drinking Naked Juice like drinking Mountain Dew?
Mountain Dew and Naked Green Machine have more in common than being green: they both have about 60 grams of sugar in a bottle. And a good percentage of that sugar is from fructose; in Green Machine that fructose comes from the fruit ingredients and in Mountain Dew it comes from High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Where the fructose comes from is really of no concern to your body. When you drink a Mountain Dew or a Naked juice, you’re consuming more fructose in one sitting than you should consume over the course of a few days.
We’ve talked about fructose before, but for those of you who need a quick review, fructose is a major contributor to elevated triglycerides and elevated LDL, depletion of vitamins and minerals, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and even gout. It also makes you fat.
Fructose is metabolized differently by the body than other sugars like glucose. Unlike other sugars, fructose is taken straight to the liver where it is metabolized into free fatty acids (FFAs), VLDL (the damaging form of cholesterol), and triglycerides, which get stored as fat. When you eat 120 calories of glucose, less than one calorie is stored as fat. 120 calories of fructose results in 40 calories being stored as fat. Yet another reason why a calorie is not a calorie.
Your body can easily handle the fructose in whole fruit. But drinking it in a product like Naked Juice is not something I recommend — it’s simply too much at one sitting, especially if you’re drinking this stuff day after day.
To their credit, Naked is one of the companies that doesn’t lie to you when it puts “no added sugar” on the label. I checked the ingredients and they in fact don’t use any added sugars. But, they don’t have to. The fruits they use are so high in sugar it probably wouldn’t be edible if they added more.
Tip: Download My Complete Guide to Real Food for a handy one page look at all the foods you SHOULD be eating.
Juicing gives you all of the sugar with none of the fiber to regulate it.
One of the main problems with drinking any juice is that the fiber is missing from the end result. Fiber in fruit is what helps regulate the digestion and absorption of the sugars found in those fruits. Fiber also helps fill you up, preventing over consumption. This is why I recommend that those going through Total Body Reboot simply eat the whole fruit rather than juicing it.
Using orange juice as an example: It takes three or four oranges to make one 8 ounce glass of orange juice. So you’re consuming the sugar and fructose from three to four oranges in each glass.
But, what if you sat down to eat four whole oranges? For one, it would take longer, spreading out the sugar consumption over time. Two, you would consume lots of fiber which regulates the sugar uptake in your body. Third, you’d probably get sated well before finishing all of the oranges.
For these reasons, eating the actual fruit is always better and healthier than drinking only the juice.
Tip: Want an alternative to Naked Juice? Of course, whole foods is always your best option, but for a liquid alternative I recommend the official Rebooted Body Power Shake recipe (this not a product, it’s a free recipe).
Naked Juice is effectively sugar water with overstated health benefits.
But it has vitamins! you exclaim.
Not so fast.
Naked juice isn’t just fruits and vegetables juiced and bottled and shipped to your lips. That would be too easy.
Naked, like 99% of all other juice brands, must put its products through types of pasteurization and irradiation. Both of these processes have mild to significant effects on nutritional value.
By the time Naked juice gets to your lips, it’s a processed food product nothing like the real thing. The Naked marketers may claim that you’re getting a bunch of vitamins and minerals, but how many of those are bioavailable and what’s their end quality?
What we do know is that when you drink it, your body can’t tell the difference between Naked juice and sugar water — or Mountain Dew. The only benefit Naked has over Mountain Dew is possibly fewer chemicals (but not necessarily — we’ll talk about that later).
The story gets worse.
It turns out Naked is being sued. While they tout “all natural” ingredients, it appears someone has concluded that many of their ingredients are GMO and some are synthetic. The lawsuit highlights:
1) Labeling its products as “Non-GMO” when, in fact, it knowingly used genetically-modified ingredients in its products.
2) False and misleading labeling of its products as “100% Juice”, “100% Fruit” and “All Natural” when the products contained many different synthetic ingredients and synthetic fibers such as:
* Fibersol-2 — a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland and developed by a Japanese chemical company.
* Fructooligosaccharides — a synthetic fiber and sweetener.
* Inulin — an artificial and invisible fiber added to foods to artificially increase fiber content with the typical fiber mouth-feel.
3) Intentionally misleading and deceiving its customers.
Naked also doesn’t use organic ingredients, so you can be almost certain that you’re drinking a pretty hefty dose of pesticides along with your “health drink.” Drink Mountain Dew and you get preservatives. Drink Naked and you get pesticides. Your choice. Naked does win here because they don’t use Brominated Vegetable Oil (a staple in Mountain Dew). BVO is nasty shit, which is probably why it’s banned in over 100 countries. You can thank the FDA for allowing its use in the U.S.
Naked has one more thing in common with Mountain Dew.
Besides both being green and both being sugar water, Naked and Mountain Dew are both products of PepsiCo. That’s right, Naked is made by Pepsi. Does that scream quality and health? Hardly.
Whether you’re concerned with health or not, the macronutrient ratios alone of Naked juice is a recipe for weight loss disaster. Consuming that much sugar on a regular basis is not a good idea for your metabolism, your waistline, or your health.
Why bother with this stuff when you can get all of the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes — and of higher quality — from other sources without taxing your hormones and liver?
The bottom line: If you want to look good naked, stay away from Naked Juice and other juice products. Focus on consuming high quality foods and staying away from foods that are toxic to you. If you need help figuring out what to eat and what not to eat for fat loss, health, and performance, check out a helpful post I wrote about ANTI foods.
Are you a Naked Juice drinker? Recovering addict? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!