V8 is one of the original health drinks in the US. It’s composed of vegetables, fruits and flavorings, and the brand describes itself as “The Original Plant-Powered Drink.”
But is V8 actually healthy, or is it a waste of money? Does it contain any questionable additive ingredients? Are there healthier alternatives? And how do real users describe the taste of the drinks?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in V8 based on medical studies to give our take on whether the brand is good for you or not.
We’ll highlight some questionable additive ingredients and feature unsponsored customer taste tests.
Ingredient Analysis – V8 Original
The ingredients in V8 Original are shown above.
The main ingredients are a blend of vegetables: carrots, celery, beets, parsley, lettuce, watercress and spinach.
A 2017 medical review documents that fruit and vegetable juice can have favorable effects on the cardiovascular system, including potential reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol depending on the fruits and vegetables used.
Most medical studies on juice from produce suggests more health benefits than risks, as we documented in our article on the popular Naked drink.
If the only ingredients in V8 Original were filtered water and these seven veggies, we would likely recommend the drink from a nutritional perspective.
However, there are also two additive ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.
Citric acid is a preservative and flavor enhancer that can cause inflammatory reactions in the body according to a medical review published in the Toxicology Reports journal.
Natural flavoring is a broad categorical descriptor that fails to document the specific chemical compounds used to create the flavoring.
A 2013 medical review suggests that some flavoring additives and their metabolites may be unhealthy for humans.
Beta carotene is a naturally-derived antioxidant that was shown in a medical review published in the Nutrients journal to slightly increase risk of cardiovascular events.
We don’t understand the need for V8 to add vitamins and nutrients when vegetables are already nutrient-rich.
Overall, we believe that the pros outweigh the cons and consider V8 to be good for you, especially for the average American who may not consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
We do not currently recommend this drink due to the inactive ingredients highlighted above.
But before analyzing the ingredients in V8’s energy drink, we’ll feature some unsponsored user reviews including taste tests.
Real People Try V8
A YouTube creator named “JustJordan33” has a video taste testing various V8 drinks that has over 200,000 views:
A YouTube creator named “Mostly Healthy Food Reviews” shared his thoughts on the taste and effects of V8’s energy drink:
Ingredient Analysis – V8 Energy
The ingredients in the Sparkling Orange Pineapple flavor of V8 Energy are shown above.
This drink has less caffeine (80 milligrams) than the average energy drink we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health, which may make it a safer option for those with anxiety or cardiovascular issues. This is less than the caffeine in one cup of coffee.
This energy drink is partially flavored with fruit and vegetable juice, making it a more nutritious and healthy option than commercial energy drinks like Red Bull.
However, there are still some questionable additive ingredients in this formulation.
We explained why we don’t recommend citric acid, natural flavoring and vitamin additives in the previous ingredient analysis section.
Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that’s clinically shown to worsen insulin function, as we discussed in our review of Muscle Milk.
Overall, we do not consider V8 Energy to be good for you, although we do consider it to be a healthier option than commercial alternatives such as Monster and Red Bull.
Is Homemade V8 Healthier?
A YouTube video from a channel called “Plant Abundance” shows how to make homemade V8 using fresh produce. This may be a healthier option than the brand-name drink due to the lack of additive ingredients:
Our Clean Veggie Juice Pick
Very Veggie from RW Knudsen is our top pick for a vegetable juice.
This juice is organic, packaged in glass rather than plastic, and free of citric acid and flavoring additives. The only ingredients are organic vegetables and filtered water.
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.
Interested consumers can check out Very Veggie at this link to the product’s Amazon listing.