Let’s start with juice!
Have you met a person who claims that the juice they are drinking counts as fruit? Some juice is from real fruit, but it is not the real fruit. It is JUICE, and here I proclaim it’s actually flavored sugar water. Here’s why, according to Zach Newman, ACE Certified Personal Trainer.
In this article, he specifically discusses Essential Everyday 100% Apple Juice. Two top ingredients are water and apple juice concentrate. Juice concentrate is the base for the product’s self-claim for “from real fruit,” which is true, but you need to understand the true identity of juice concentrate.
The concentrate is far from the original apple it comes from. The industrial processing removes “nearly all its fiber, flavors, aromas, and vitamins” and turns it into what’s known as in the food industry as “stripped juice.” One of the vital ingredients missing in the concentrate is fiber, which “acts as a counterbalance to the sugar we’re ingesting.” The problem in consuming sugar without fiber is further explained in the article. While the ideal rate of sugar to fiber is 1:1, the average in the United States is 12:1.
Moving onto soda!
Here is a picture of sugar cubes stacked up in the equivalent amount to the sugar content in each coke container. Would you ever eat that many sugar cubes? Then why would you drink it? Besides, soda is not even from real fruit. These are the top three ingredients of Coca Cola.
- Carbonated water
- Sugar (sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup)
Therefore, I would call soda carbonated sugar water. Some soda like coke is caffeinated while some like Sprite is not. So let’s save the “caffeinated” label for the next group for its simplicity. (Bonus, a comprehensive chart of nutritional content of regular soda by sugarydrinkfacts.org)
Last up: energy drink!
Here is a picture of sugar cubes stacked up in the equivalent amount to the sugar content in a Red Bull can. You get the idea. Shall we call this caffeinated and carbonated sugar water? Quite a lengthy name but definitely more accurate than energy drink, right? Think about it. It’s all marketing. People associate energy with health, so the company calls it by what consumers like not by what the product actually is.
Shilo Urban breaks down the ingredients of Red Bull throughly. “Red Bull is a mix of sugar, synthetic caffeine, taurine and several B vitamins, all of which are well-known for their energy-promoting qualities.” As for caffeine content, “Red Bull contains 80mg of caffeine, about half of other soft drinks and about the same as a cup of coffee.” (Another bonus, a comprehensive chart of nutritional content of energy drinks by sugarydrinkfacts.org)
In short, they are all sugar water.
- Juice: flavored sugar water
- Soda: carbonated sugar water (with or without caffeine)
- Energy drink: carbonated sugar water with caffeine
I’m not a health expert, and I’m not writing this post to advise people on what to drink. The purpose of “Call it like it is” is to give more accurate names to things, places, people, and ideas so that we as the language users become more aware of the truth behind these names and decrease our dissociation that are often created by profit/power-seeking agenda of profit/power-seeking entities. You don’t have to agree with the “truthful” names that I propose; in fact, feel free to propose other ideas of your own. I hope to provide space where thought-provoking conversations help us grow together.