SUNNY D JUST WENT GREEN. And while it is impressive that Sunny D â€˜s six manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Spain went to zero waste this year â€“ beating the company goal by three years â€“ this faux juice still rates as a Worst Food.
Strike 1: Misleading marketing
To start with, if a foodâ€™s marketing campaign is â€œBuy this and your kids will think youâ€™re cool,â€ avoid it at all costs. Seriously. Â We donâ€™t need our kids to think weâ€™re cool; we need them to be healthy. Because weâ€™re parents and we all know our kids arenâ€™t going to think weâ€™re cool, no matter what food we buy.
But the bigger marketing issue is that Sunny D wants us to think itâ€™s a real juice, a replacement for, say, orange juice. But, as youâ€™ll see below, juice is in Sunny D the same way vermouth is in an extra dry martini. (Thatâ€™s barely at all, in case youâ€™re not a martini drinker.)
Strike 2: Sunny D is mainly sugar water
So the marketing campaign is a huge red flag, but what is Sunny D, anyway? According to the Sunny D web site, itâ€™s a â€œfruit-flavored beverage,â€ which sounds about right. Although I might call it “artificially fruit-flavored sugar water.”
The main ingredients in Sunny D are water and high fructose corn syrup.
Less than 2% is concentrated juices (orange, tangerine, apple, lime, grapefruit), citric acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1), natural flavors, modified food starch, canola oil, sodium citrate, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, sodium hexametaphosphate, sodium benzoate, yellow 5, and yellow 6.
To be clear:
- 98% is water and HFCS
- 2% is all that other stuff
An 8 ounce serving of Sunny D contains 27g of sugar, and that sugar is from the HFCS, not fruit juice. Itâ€™s about the same sugar content as 8 ounces of soda. It also contains 190 mg of sodium, which is more than 5 times the sodium in the same amount of Coke. Yikes.
Strike 3: Other additives
The inclusion of natural flavors is a sure sign that the flavor of this drink isnâ€™t coming from those miniscule amounts of juice. Sunny D also contains corn starch and canola oil. In a drink? Who needs to be drinking that stuff?
The bottom line:
Three strikes and youâ€™re out, Sunny D. This beverage may be cheap (about $.03/ounce), but itâ€™s definitely not a healthy drink for everyday consumption or, quite frankly, for consumption at all.