14 September 2009

Let's Review: Reduced Calorie Orange "Juice"

Really, the only reason I bought a container of Trop50 was because I had a free coupon and a hare-brained idea for a so-called performance art piece for my own amusement. But then, once home, I had to try it. Right? Waste not, want not?

It cavorts in the grocery case with the real orange juice, all those 64 ounce cartons lined up, with a little pulp, a lot of pulp, no pulp at all, from concentrate, not from concentrate. But it's sneaky, it's a 59 ounce carton, a little taller than the others, a little bit more slender, and holding 8% less. Deceptive, if you ask me.

And it's got 50% less sugar and calories - because it's really not orange juice, it's an "orange juice beverage with vitamins", containing 42% juice. Here's the ingredients list, not including the vitamins and minerals:

Filtered water, not from concentrate pasteurized orange juice, modified food starch, citric acid, malic acid, natural flavors and Reb A (PureVia brand)

So, they took regular orange juice, watered it down, and added stuff back in - like sweetener (the Reb A, also known as stevia) and thickener (modified food starch) and flavor.

Okay, okay. The real question is - how does it taste? Frankly, it's not very good. I tried it side by side against a glass of regular Tropicana orange juice - in a blind tasting (yeah, I roped my husband into serving as my lab assistant). The Trop50 doesn't have the same mouthfeel of the orange juice, it tastes artificially sweetened, and it has a vaguely bitter, unpleasant aftertaste.

You want fewer calories than the 110 in an eight ounce glass of orange juice? Drink less juice. Or water it down yourself. Or drink water with a lemon wedge squeezed into it. Or just have a glass of water, and save all the calories for a nice, refreshing gin & tonic on the back porch at the end of the day.




Disclosure: I got a free coupon for this "juice" at the BlogHer conference, so I paid nothing for it. And no one paid me for this review.

12 comments:

mayberry said...

This makes me insane - taking out real flavor, then adding back fake flavor. Especially egregious are the canned fruits packed in water ... with extra fake sugar, acting all virtuous because they're not packed in syrup.

BarbaraCA said...

I worked in an office for a bit with someone studying on the side to be a nutritionist. She always cut any juice she drank with 50% water. She told me juices were realy just another kind of sugar water. She was in impeccable shape. I would rspond by eating the leftover bagels from the brunch cart and squinting thoughtfully into the distance, beneath my fat, fat eyelids.

Kyla said...

Agreed! These days there is so much marketing to make things appear healthier for you that in the end all the changes have made it worse than the original incarnation.

RuthWells said...

Oh for the love of sweet little kittens. Food marketers make me nuts.

Wouldn't it all be so much simpler (and so much healthier) if we all just ate FOOD? Normal, regular, unmodified FOOD?

For pete's sake.

liz said...

Head meet desk.

Kyddryn said...

I water my OJ anyway - otherwise I find it's too thick and sweet...although sometimes, I wine it because why not??

I don't trust all these newfangled, modified foods and beverages - they make me nervous...and I often wonder what the long-term effects of consuming them will be. I'd rather just have less of the real thing and NOT grow a tail or sprout a sixth toe...

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

needleinahaystack said...

I vote for the gin and tonic. by the way there is excellent diet tonic!! That means it is a truly great calorie saver

nonlineargirl said...

There should be a way to spell juice to indicate non-juice-ness (ala cheeze).

phd in yogurtry said...

substitute vodka for the gin and club soda for the tonic water (no sugar in club soda) and you've got a deal!

wheelsonthebus said...

yeah, i'll bet no one paid you for that review!

flutter said...

that sounds pretty freakin awful

Deborah Godin said...

I think any liquid or solid grocery item that must legally append another term to its description, like orange juice "beverage" or cheese "flavored" snack is almost always going to disappoint the taste buds, and art may be its only redemption!