Are you drinking Naked Juice every day thinking that you’re doing something great for your health and your waistline? Press pause. Drinking Naked Juice might be doing you more harm than good.
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 because the narrative around coconut water is that it’s a “healthy alternative” to sports drinks.
I can’t knock the hustle or the marketing of Naked/PepsiCo. I give five stars on that front. But product placement and buzzwords don’t equal health. And when you drill down to the roots of Naked juice, the facts just don’t live up to the hype.
Naked Juice isn’t good for you, metabolically.
Metabolically speaking, drinking Naked Juice isn’t much different from drinking Pepsi. Look the sugar content in comparison.
And here’s Naked Juice Berry Blast…
That’s 34g of sugar in 10 ounces of Pepsi versus 32g of sugar in 10 ounces of Naked Juice Berry Blast.
Even worse, the 10-ounce version isn’t the size most people are drinking. The standard Naked Juice bottles are 15.2 ounces. That’s 50% more than the above example.
Let’s say you drink the standard 15.2 ounce Naked Juice Berry Blast for breakfast as you’re walking out the door because it’s fast, convenient, and “healthy.” That would be the sugar equivalent of eating four glazed donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts…
From a calorie standpoint, drinking Naked Juice is better than eating glazed donuts. The donuts would have nearly 4 times the number of calories (and are relatively devoid of nutrition). But from a sugar load standpoint, there’s no real difference.
Isn’t the sugar in Naked Juice okay because it’s natural?
Not really. Your body doesn’t know the difference between “natural sugar” and say, high fructose corn syrup.
Your blood sugar is going to spike, your body is going to dump a lot of insulin into your blood stream to compensate, you’re going to crash, and then you’re going to be hit with cravings.
There’s no metabolic sensor that says, “ohhhhhh, this sugar is coming from fruit juice. Stand down, pancreas!”
The reason why Naked Juice is better than Pepsi overall is because it contains far more micronutrition (vitamins and minerals) without all the nasty fake ingredients.
That doesn’t mean that Naked Juice is healthy, though. This sugar-content issue is a real problem.
It’s a problem with any juice, really.
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.
Your body can easily handle the sugar in whole fruit because the fiber will regulate your consumption of it as well as regulating the metabolic impact.
But Naked Juice has no fiber. There’s nothing there to mitigate the load or the total intake. At the end of the day, it’s simply too much sugar at one sitting, especially if you’re drinking this stuff day after day (which many people are).
Let’s use orange juice as an example. It takes three or four oranges to make a single 8-ounce glass of orange juice. So you’re consuming the sugar and fructose from three to four oranges in each 8 ounce glass.
But, what if you sat down to eat four whole oranges? For one, it would take a lot longer. The time span would help regulate the metabolic impact.
Second, you would consume lots of fiber.
Third, you’d probably get satiated well before finishing all of the oranges (also thanks to the fiber).
This is why eating the actual fruit is always better and healthier than drinking only the juice and it’s why I recommend whole foods over juices to all my clients.
Isn’t Naked Juice healthy because of the nutritional value?
I’ve already acknowledged that Naked Juice has a lot more nutrition than an alternative beverage like Pepsi, which contains almost the same amount of sugar per ounce.
That’s certainly a plus. For a diet that’s fairly devoid of nutrition like the Standard American Diet, getting more nutrients into your body is a great thing.
I prefer to look at things in context, though. You can’t isolate one factor and use that isolated factor to claim that something is healthy. This is especially true when there is easy access to much better alternatives.
This argument doesn’t apply to every Naked Juice drink equally, of course. Naked Juice Kale Blazer has more nutrition and less sugar than Naked Juice Berry Blast. The point I’m making here will largely be dependent on the Naked Juice selection you’re making (but still applies to all of them to a significant degree).
This brings up another important point. Don’t be fooled yet again by the marketing on the bottle. They’ll use imagery and naming, like “Sea Greens” to make it seem like a drink is mostly made up of nutrient-dense greens. Except, a closer look reveals that it’s mostly cheap, high-sugar juices…
There’s nothing “greens” or “veggies” about apple juice, orange juice, bananas, and strawberries. It’s all sugar with a little celery (not very nutritious), spirulina, and dulse thrown in at the end.
Yet, the bottle is green, the product is green, the label says “veggies,” and it’s named “Sea Greens.” It’s all marketing.
Does it matter that there’s “no sugar added?” No, because it’s chock full of sugar already. Sugar is only added to things that don’t already contain a lot of sugar naturally. Again, that label is there to make you think that because they didn’t add sugar, this drink is healthy.
The reality is that you can get a lot more nutrition with a lot less sugar by eating real, whole foods. While drinking Naked Juice is better than drinking a milkshake, it’s still a far worse option than eating nutritious whole foods that provide real satiety and don’t disorder your blood sugar .
If you want to get and keep a body and life you love, it’s important to understand these topics in context. If Naked Juice is a daily thing for you, it’s doing you more harm than good…
Low-satiation, high-sugar foods are a problem in general.
While the calories in, calories out model of weight loss (CICO) has a lot of issues, it’s not wrong in the end. If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight.
My biggest issue with the CICO model is that it doesn’t explain why you’re eating more calories than you need. This is an interesting question considering your body has an advanced and highly accurate internal calculator that’s supposed to prevent significant overconsumption.
Naked Juice presents two clear issues along these lines.
The first issue is that Naked Juice destabilizes your blood sugar. Remember, a bottle of Naked Juice Green Machine has 60 grams of sugar in it and zero grams of fiber. That puts you on the blood sugar roller coaster and can cause cravings after your blood sugar crashes.
The second issue that Naked Juice has 300 calories in a bottle, but provides very little satiety. If you target foods that are better at driving satiety, like protein-rich foods, then you’ll be inclined to eat less in total.
So Naked Juice is bringing in 300 calories, not contributing much to satiety, disordering your blood sugar, and triggering you to eat more later. Does that sound like a recipe for success?
This is where the “but it has vitamins” argument really fails. You can only consume so many calories without gaining weight. It’s not just about packing nutrition into those calories, it’s about packing satiety into those calories as well.
If you don’t prioritize foods that drive satiety, namely protein, you’ll tend to over-consume.
If you don’t prioritize foods that stabilize blood sugar levels, you’ll tend to over-consume.
Naked Juice is being sued for false advertising. Can we trust what they say?
It turns out Naked/PepsiCo 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.
This isn’t good.
Personally, I feel like Naked is mostly honest and truthful in their claims. I’ve already pointed out some deceptiveness in their marketing, but it’s mostly par for the course.
I don’t consider Naked Juice to be very helpful in terms of reaching your goals, but I don’t think it’s the worst thing you can be drinking either.
It’s mostly sugar because straight Kale juice is hard to sell. And there’s plenty of consumers who think tons of natural sugar is just fine and healthy. It’s not like Naked is shares a lot of responsibility for the obesity and preventable disease epidemic we face (like Pepsi does).
Updated August 2017 – “PepsiCo will revise the bottle labels on its Naked Juice brand following a lawsuit claiming that the labels misled consumers about the product’s real ingredients.”
What are the healthier alternatives to Naked Juice?
While my official recommendation is to avoid juices, I never take a rule-based or arbitrary restriction-based approach to health & wellness. So, here are five better alternatives to Naked Juice that you can switch to for more upside and less downside…
Naked Juice Alternative #1: Home Juicing
Why am I starting with the obvious? To make a very important point.
When you juice everything yourself, you can ensure that you’re getting maximum nutrition, maximum freshness, and maximum nutrient density. You can also control exactly what goes into the final beverage, giving you completely control over the sugar content.
If you’re interested in doing this at home, we recommend the following juicers…
Best Value Juicer: Breville Compact Juice Fountain
Best Quality Juicer: Omega Masticating Dual-Stage Juice Extractor
Best Budget Juicer: Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juice Extractor
Naked Juice Alternative #2: Chuice
One of the problems with juicing is that it doesn’t require chewing.
Since digestive enzymes are triggered by chewing, this means you may not be extracting as many nutrients as possible.
Chuice solves that problem by being a very chunky alternative to traditional juices. It’s called “chuice” because you have to do some chewing.
The chunkiness also packs 6g of fiber into every 8 ounces, something you won’t find in many traditional juices (Naked Juice Green Machine has 0g for example).
Chuice is also more than just veggies. It contains seeds, nuts, and herbs.
You can order Chuice online at Chuice.com.
Naked Juice Alternative #3: Evolution Fresh
Evolution Fresh offers a broad range of juice products. Not all of them are great (some of them are just as metabolically destructive as Naked Juice).
The ones we recommend as alternatives are their “greens” options (of which there are numerous choices).
Make sure to check the nutrition facts as not all of them are acceptable. For example, their “Super Green” option packs 52g of sugar in a bottle.
Find more at evolutionfresh.com.
Naked Juice Alternative #4: Blueprint Juices
We like Blueprint juices because they have some interesting, less traditional options.
For example, check out their Turmeric Tonic. The health benefits of turmeric are well stated in the research and that’s a “juice” drink that you don’t see very often.
They also have a Ginger Maple Tonic with apple cider vinegar and cold-pressed lime juice that looks spectacular.
Blueprint juices are also non-GMO verified and USDA organic.
Find more at blueprint.com.
Naked Juice Alternative #5: Bolthouse Farms
Most of their juices are pretty sugary, but there’s one that stands out from the rest (assuming the nutrition facts label is legit – their site is a little unclear on the serving size).
Give Daily Roots a shot. According to what we’re seeing on their site, there’s only 10g of sugar in 15.2oz.
Daily Roots is a combination of beets, purple sweet potatoes, and purple carrots.
Find more at bolthouse.com.
Are you a Naked Juice drinker?
Again, I’m not suggesting that Naked Juice is going to ruin your health, make you fat, or give you diabetes. I just want you to be aware of the reality versus the claims made and the mainstream perception of products like Naked Juice.
You can do whatever you want as long as you’re making an informed decision.