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Keeping Up With Maury
What's in that Fruit Juice?
by Maury Feren


There is a lot I would like to talk about today. Little stuff, but it all adds up.

Let's take a look at the Cranberry Farmers. They come on the air and promote their crop. So you think when you purchase a cranberry bottled drink, you are getting a 100% cranberry juice. No, that won't happen. I don't know the numbers, but you won't get more than 25% of actually cranberry juice. The rest will be apple juice, or whatever fruit juice they want to mix it with.

It could be cran-grape, cran-pineapple, or any number of other mixes. Note that they are not doing anything illegal. They do specify juice. There are full bottles of 100% cranberry juice offered in some markets. It is the perception. You are assuming you are getting the benefit of all of the cranberry juice, some cranberries are supposed to be an important antioxidant.

I must tell you that things change. There can be big changes as well as small ones. Fifty years ago, for a period of 5 to 10 years, cranberries were in short supply. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, our supplies were rationed. We could only get limited supplies as wholesale produce merchants. That changed some 25 years later. It is not a year-round produce product. Some supermarkets freeze a certain amount for their customers.

But that covers the small issues. Here is the big change. Fifty years ago, someone came out with a research study that considered cranberries to be carcinogenic. That was a knockout blow for that industry. It took 10 or more years to change that perception. A number of other studies came around, disputing the original one.

Then, we found out that cranberries were a super food with a great many nutrients that put it at the top of the health food class. That's why you see those farmers on TV helping to make you believe what a health drink you will be absorbing. When in truth you will be drinking apple juice and other fruit juices that constitute the highest percentage of your health drink. I'm not saying that apple juice is not healthy, but it's not classified as a super food.

Now we go to the Blueberry story. Ever since we discovered that blueberries were a super food, we find it all over as a fill-in. Let me give you another example that will show you what I mean.

Pomegranate juice came on the scene as a super food about 15 to 20 years ago. It gradually gained prominence until today where it is listed as a fruit or drink in the top healthy foods of the day. You can buy small bottles of 100% pomegranate juice. You should know it is not going to be a sweet drink. In fact, it has somewhat of a bitter taste and it is not pleasant to drink unless you dilute it.

So along came some merchandisers who picked up on this. The first thing they did was promote pomegranates combined with blueberries as a healthy drink. They advertise on the bottle as pomegranate-blueberry. All you say, I can get my total nutrients today from this fruit drink. So you purchase it. Again, it is a perception, there's only 5 to 10% of pomegranate and blueberry juice in the bottle. The rest is ordinary fruit juice.

I can't understand how the government lets these bottlerers get away with this. We should know how much actual pomegranate and blueberry juice is in the bottle. That is up to the FDA.

Ten to fifteen years ago, someone discovered a remarkable juice made from AHT, found in a native tropical area. It was lauded as one of the healthiest fruit juice drinks you could find. Initially, it sold for 45 dollars a bottle. I forgot the size. Salespeople raved about it. It made a big splash, with many little groups formed to sell it. Remember, this was $45 a drink, not available in any supermarket or health food store. There were bonus methods to sell it and tons of salespeople jumped on it offering it for sale.

Again, after the initial excitement wore off, they were diluted offerings. In the beginning, you only saw it sold as a 100% drink. There is no question in my mind that it had great nutritional value. Then it began to lose its image and plunge. Actually, I found it sometime much later for $18 a bottle in a discount store. I expect to see it at that level at the present. However, it no longer has the attraction as a super food. I saw something about it in another city where it still ranked high.

The story goes on with fresh squeezed orange juice. But that's for another time. Believe me only there is a story there, but you have to think about it.

It is worth noting that there is an endless search for the next super food that can reach the consumer from any part of the world.


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