You’re at the grocery store and hunting around for a good deal on some orange juice for your family.  When you reach the refrigerated juice aisle, you see pure OJ next to other things, like Sunny D. 

Since it’s in the same area, it’s all juice, right?  Well, no.  Sunny D is an orange drink.  It’s not a juice.  As a matter of fact, it has trace amounts of juice.

1. What Kind of Juice is Sunny D?

Many of us wonder – is Sunny D orange juice? The short and definitive answer is:

First and foremost, understand that Sunny D isn’t juice and doesn’t even come close to it.  It’s mostly made of high fructose corn syrup and water.  The scant amounts of food coloring and chemical concoction give Sunny D its orangey color and tangy taste.

Now, when we are clear with that, let’s take a closer look at its’ ingredients and properties.

1.1. Ingredient List

The list below is what makes up the rest of the ingredients.  There’s two percent or less of the following:

  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Canola Oil
  • Cellulose Gum
  • Citric Acid
  • Juices Made from Concentrate comprising 5% of the product: Apple, Grapefruit, Lime, Orange, Pear, Tangerine
  • Modified Cornstarch
  • Natural Flavors
  • Neotame
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Red #33
  • Red #40
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Sodium Hexametaphosphate
  • Sucralose
  • Thiamin Hydrochloride
  • Yellow #5
  • Yellow #6

1.2. Nutritional Value

Aside from the tiny bits of concentrated juices contained in Sunny D, there’s really no nutritional value to it.  According to the nutritional facts found on the label, one serving is equal to eight fluid ounces, or one cup.

In one serving, the item with the largest number is Sodium at 190 milligrams.  It has 60 calories, 16 grams in Total Carbohydrates, 14 grams Total Sugars and 12 grams of Added Sugars.  You hardly get any sort of nutritional value from consuming one cup of Sunny D.

1.3. Misleading Claims

Even though they indicate the serving as having 100% vitamin C, it’s misleading.  The vitamin C doesn’t come from oranges; it’s added by the Citric and Ascorbic acids along with the Sodium Citrate. 

Not only is an abundant intake of sodium terrible for your heart, kidneys and liver, it also severely dehydrates you by robbing you of every bit of moisture.  Also, Red #33, Red #40, Yellow #5 and Yellow #6 are all dyes that are often connected to cancer.

1.4. Artificial Sweeteners

Other chemicals and artificial sweeteners riddle this beverage with things like Acesulfame Potassium.  There are questions around its carcinogenic effects along with other major health risks.  The problem is that it hasn’t been fully tested to evaluate its safety and efficacy. 

There is some research available in the database of the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

One study shows early results that mice suffer with gut and obesity problems by ingesting Acesulfame Potassium.

The fact that in contains super high amounts of sugar isn’t good for anyone with diabetes.  Not to mention that high fructose corn syrup causes high blood pressure, heart disease and rotting teeth, to name a few.

2. The Difference between Sunny D and OJ

orange juice

Pure and honest orange juice will only have oranges and water.  Maybe some companies add a little Citric Acid as a preservative or include a bit of sugar to sweeten up the flavor.  The ingredients should be simple, easy to read and immediately comprehendible. 

Sunny D, on the other hand, has a plethora of chemicals, fillers and artificial sweeteners blended in such a way as to mimic the taste of real-deal OJ.  Plus, it is not clear whether the company uses purified water or not.

2.1. Why is Sunny D Next to the Orange Juice at the Store?  

Food companies, like Procter ; Gamble (manufacturer of Sunny D), vie for that spot on store shelves to sell the product.  They spend beaucoup bucks just to have this orange-type drink featured there. 

This is a misleading practice because it forces many people to think that Sunny D is another variant of orange juice. It contains juice, but it’s not juice.

3. Pros and Cons of Sunny D

Given the smorgasbord of chemicals composing Sunny D, there aren’t many plusses in drinking it.  It’s often not cheaper than regular orange juice and the taste doesn’t pass as being a bona fide orange juice.  What makes Sunny D an orange drink is its color, not the flavor.

There are plenty of potential dangers in consuming this beverage.  Many of the ingredients, like High Fructose Corn Syrup and Acesulfame Potassium, can cause serious health problems.  Ergo, the only time you should consume Sunny D is in an emergency situation, like a nuclear fallout or zombie apocalypse.

4. Conclusion

Next time you’re at the store, grab the orange juice.  It’s healthier than Sunny D, you know what’s in it, what it’s made of and that it’s free of artificial sweeteners.  As a general rule, for all the food you buy, if you can’t pronounce or know what the ingredients are, don’t consume it.

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