Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ocean Spray Cranergy: what's in it?

I was choosen at Gather as a reviewer for the Ocean Spray Cranergy drinks (link is to that post). I received a package over the weekend that contained 7 bottles of the Raspberry Cranberry Lift Ocean Spray Cranergy drinks. Each bottle is 10 fl. oz. which is just a little more than a (normal-sized) cup of coffee, and a little less than a can of soda.

Ocean Spray Cranergy Drinks boast 50% fewer calories and less sugar (Compared to Traditional Energy Drinks) and are a source of Natural Energy.

Contains 20% fruit juice; 1 serving per 10oz container; Calories: 40; Calories from fat: 0; Total fat: 0; Sodium: 60mg (3%); Total Carbohydrates: 11g (4%); Sugars: 11g; Protein: 0g; Vitamin C: 100%; Niacin: 60%; Vitamin B2: 60%; Vitamin B6: 60%; Vitamin B12: 60%; Pantothenic Acid: 60%

What's in this stuff? The ingredient list isn't as complicated as some foods and beverages but isn't as simple as a cup of tea either.

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Grape Juice from Concentrate, Cranberry Juice from Concentrate, Raspberry Juice from Concentrate, Malic Acid, Green Tea Extract, Natural Flavors, Sodium Citrate, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Pectin, Sucralose (Splenda), Maltodextrin, Red 40 (color), Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamins B6, B2 and B12.

Filtered water and juice concentrate- we all know what that is. Malic Acid is an acid found in fruit which gives off the tart flavor. Sodium Citrate comes from Citric Acid and is also used as a flavor (tart) or as a preservative. It is one of the helpful ingredients when you drink cranberry juice for a UTI. Pectin is a carbohydrate present in certain ripe fruits and vegetables.

Splenda is one ingredient that can be controversial. According to one article, Sucralose was created when researching new pesticides. It is created from Sucrose (sugar) though "three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms." If you understand chemistry, they have provided a link to a model of this. The way that Splenda is used by the body may prevent any toxicity from it to be too harmful to us. It is well-known that artificial sweeteners may not be the best thing for our bodies and when it comes to Splenda there has not been enough time or research to be sure that it won't end up being the next Saccharin or Aspartame. So far so good.

Maltodextrin is a food additive, a carbohydrate. It is used as a filler as well, and in the case of this drink is probably supposed to provide more energy.

Red 40 is another controversial ingredient in food. It is the most popular food coloring in foods and beverages. Certain food colors are not handled well by our bodies. We are allergic or intolerant of some of them. Why does that matter if allergies are common? It matters because the food coloring is absolutely not necessary, unless you are looking at it from a marketing point of view. There is no nutritional value and it could actually harm some people. Children seem to be the most affected by the dye though it has been known to trigger migraines in adults. Fortunately no children should be drinking Cranergy. Symptoms of hyperactivity are often reported more when kids have ingested products containing the dye.

Personally, I would rather drink my Cranergy drink WITHOUT any dyes. Or if they wanted to REALLY promote the "all natural" drink they could use Red Beet Juice, which is a popular food coloring and still makes Dora's Yoplait Yogurt look and taste yummy, without the potential negative side-effects! I would totally be happy if the drink were clear or just not as red.

The rest in the list of ingredients are vitamins.

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