Getting down to the real juice about sugary drinks, cold pasteurised is as real as you get on a supermarket shelf.
The thing about fruit juice is that all kids love it, it is often marketed as a dose of vitamin C and our perception of fruit is that it is healthy. But much of it comes with ridiculously high amounts of added sugar plus the fruit may have come from overseas and may have been pasteurised with heat which essentially kills a lot of the nutrients.
Then there's the watering down, the preservatives and the use of fruit-juice concentrate.
I note with interest that the British supermarket chain Tesco has now withdrawn juice drinks such as Ribena, designed for a child's lunchbox, from sale. They are doing this because of concerns about sugar being a cause of childhood obesity.
Supermarkets have come under intense pressure in the UK from campaign groups such as Action on Sugar, amid reports that one in four children in Britain are overweight or obese, the second highest level in the world.
In New Zealand one in nine of our children are now classed as "obese", representing the fifth highest rate of childhood obesity in the OECD.
So we can no longer ignore the fact that sugary drinks are having an impact. In the UK the recommended daily amount for 4-to-6-year-olds is just 19g of sugar a day and for 7-to-10-year-olds it is 24g a day.
This juice struck me as being about as real as you can get on a supermarket shelf, but there's still a lot of sugar in it.
The Homegrown Juice Company 100 per cent raw apple juice with lemon honey ginger - $2.49 for 400ml.
Raw NZ apple juice: 81.5 per cent
This is apple juice which is from New Zealand so that's good. And they can say it's raw because it hasn't been heated for pasteurisation, which can kill off valuable nutrients. Instead, the makers of this juice cold pasteurise which, according to their website - where there's a picture of a very impressive piece of machinery - the juice "is put under extreme pressure to deactivate naturally occurring bacteria, yeast and moulds with minuscule changes to the vitamins, minerals and flavour."
Raw NZ lemon juice: 15 per cent
Again lemons from New Zealand and again raw, because it has been cold pasteurised.
NZ honey: 2.5 per cent
This is from New Zealand which is great but this does add a bit to the sugar content. There may be no added sugar, but this is a form of sugar with added nutritional benefits. You will get 19.8g of sugar in 200ml or half a bottle of this juice, which is nearly five teaspoons.
Raw ginger juice: 1 per cent
Ginger adds a lovely tang to this juice and the makers are honest enough to say elsewhere on the bottle that the ginger is imported.
In fact, on this company's website they state that "wherever possible" they source local ingredients for their juices.
If you really must have a juice, then a juice bar is probably your best option as you can watch the fruit and veges being put through the juicer and then delivered straight to you which means the nutrients are still nice and fresh and nothing has been added on its way to you. Or, buy a juicer yourself.
Health professionals will say, forget the juice and eat the apple, orange or strawberry as a fruit - that way you get the fibre which helps slow down the passage through your digestive system, and helps the sugars to be digested properly.
But if you need a juice, as I did when I had a cold and wasn't near a juice bar, then this is a good choice. You are getting good nutrients because of the cold pasteurisation and you are going to get sugar in juice because fruit is full of it, but at least there is none added without your knowledge, ie the honey, clearly stated on the label.
And, with the exception of the ginger, all the fruit grew in New Zealand.
By the way, my daughter says the orange juice is superb.
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