Naked Juice is one of the most popular juice brands, and is often considered a healthier alternative to drinks like soda and energy drinks given that it’s made with real fruits.
But how much sugar does Naked Juice actually have, and does the sugar content make it unhealthy? Does Naked Juice contain any questionable additive ingredients? Why was the brand sued over its marketing claims? And which Naked Juice drink is the healthiest?
In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more, as we analyze the ingredients in Naked Juice based on medical studies to give our take on whether the brand is healthy or not.
We'll pick our healthiest Naked Juice drink, discuss if whole fruits are a better option, and explain why Naked Juice was sued over its health-related marketing claims.
The ingredients in the Superfood Machine flavor of Naked Juice are shown above.
The good news is that the majority of Naked Juice drinks by weight are comprised of fruits and vegetables, and a medical review published in the Nutrients journal concluded that fruit juice consumption offers more benefits than health risks.
If the only ingredients were a blend of fruits and vegetables, we would likely recommend Naked Juice from a health perspective.
However, the brand also uses some additive ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.
Natural flavor is a healthier option than artificial flavor, but a medical review published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal suggests toxicity concerns regarding some flavoring ingredients and their metabolites.
This drink also contains added vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. We don't understand why a drink that's already nutritionally rich would need to add synthetic vitamins, nor does the brand cite any research suggesting this improves the health of their drinks.
Not all Naked Juices contain questionable additives. Their “O-J” drink has one single ingredient (orange juice), making it the healthiest Naked Juice in our opinion.
We don't currently recommend Naked Juice due to the inclusion of flavoring additives and vitamin additives, although we do consider this to be a healthier option than many commercial fruit juice brands that add refined sugar.
But why was Naked Juice sued over its health-related marketing claims? We'll answer that question in the next section before discussing the sugar content of these drinks.
Naked Juice Sued Over Marketing Claims
In 2016, Naked Juice was sued over its health-related marketing.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit alleged that PepsiCo (the owner of the Naked brand) marketed nutritious ingredients like kale, while the main ingredient in Naked Juice is apple juice.
This lawsuit related to marketing rather than label inaccuracies, because the lawsuit does not allege that there is no kale in Naked Juice.
What this lawsuit highlights, in our opinion, is how challenging it can be for consumers to make informed purchase decisions when brands are not required to publish the relative concentrations of each ingredient in their drink.
Consider a drink that has 99% apple juice and 1% celery. On the product label, it would just state "Ingredients: apple juice, celery."
Naked Juice has since settled the lawsuit for $9 million according to Top Class Actions, but we hope that in the future more fruit juice manufacturers publish the actual dose of each ingredient to prevent this consumer health issue moving forward.
To the credit of Naked Juice, it appears that the brand has actually made this change since the lawsuit, at least in regard to active ingredients. See the ingredient list for Green Machine below, from the brand's website, where the dose of each active ingredient is clearly published:
Does High Sugar Make Naked Unhealthy?
Naked Juices contain a relatively high amount of sugar. Their “Orange Mango” drink contains 51 grams (g) of sugar per bottle, and their Tropical Guava drink contains 50 g sugar, as a few examples.
We want to note that this is not added sugar, which we consider unhealthy in all cases. This is natural sugar from the fruits in the drinks, which makes the healthiness a bit more complex.
In healthy individuals, we don’t consider the sugar content of these drinks to be an issue when consumed in moderation.
However, regularly drinking an entire bottle may be unhealthy even for those without pre-existing health conditions. A medical review published in the Nutrients journal found that 100% fruit juice consumption was associated with increased mortality.
Basically, research on the health effects of fruit juice is mixed, and the high dose of sugar without significant fiber from whole fruit may be unhealthy.
A YouTube creator named "motivationaldoc" has a video on why blending fruits may be healthier than juicing fruits for this reason:
Are Whole Fruits Healthier?
Our opinion is that whole fruit consumption is healthier than fruit juice consumption. Whole fruits provide dietary fiber, which can reduce the blood sugar and insulin spike, and promotes an optimally-healthy digestive system.
A medical study from 2019 analyzed data on over 10,000 patients and found that whole fruit consumption was associated with reduced incidence of obesity, while fruit juice consumption was not.
Another meta-study published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation found that whole fruit consumption, but not fruit juice consumption, reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Another interesting comparative study found that the nutrient levels in whole fruits were significantly higher than the nutrient levels in fruit juice. The antioxidant levels in some fruits were up to 54% higher than juice made from the same fruit, and sugar levels in the whole fruits were around 35% lower.
While whole fruit consumption is healthier than fruit juice consumption, both appear to be healthier than avoiding fruits entirely.
Our Clean Fruit Juice Pick
Lakewood Organic is our top fruit juice brand.
This brand uses glass rather than plastic packaging and sells 100% organic fruit juice without any additives.
Here are a few fruit juices sold by Lakewood Organic:
Purchasing juices packaged in glass rather than plastic may be better for human health (and the environment), because plasticizing chemicals are clinically shown to leach and have hormone-disrupting effects.