The Naked Brand is owned by PepsiCo which is most famous for producing sugary and subsequently highly addictive sodas. Recently, PepsiCo was sued by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) for misleading consumers by marketing its Naked Juice beverages as healthier than they really are. The reality is that many Naked drinks contain similar calories and sugar when compared to a regular can of Pepsi. That said, Naked Juices continue to be the most popular juice brand on the market. But with the high sugar and calorie content of their products, are they really healthy?
Naked juices are not healthy, despite being marketed as high in vitamins and containing no added sugar. A bottle of Naked juice contains 53g of sugar and over 250 calories! While sugars and calories do not solely define health, high amounts of either are not recommended as part of a healthy diet.
Are Naked Drinks Healthy?
It’s tough to definitively identify individual food items as healthy or unhealthy. Most foods can be part of a healthful diet when consumed in the recommended amounts. Even sweets! Naked products certainly offer more nutrition than a soft drink, but is that enough?
To examine this further, we need to look at what kind of drinks they offer.
The Half-Naked product line is a selection of smoothies that contain “50% less sugar than the leading brand”. When comparing the Half-Naked smoothies to their other smoothies, they have substantially less sugar. The Half-Naked Lively Green smoothie contains 26 grams of sugar (1.7 grams in every ounce), whereas the Naked Green Machine contains 53 grams of sugar (3.5 grams in every ounce), and the Protein Greens smoothie contains 50 grams of sugar (3.3 grams in every ounce).
Naked’s Machine range is a selection of smoothies made from fruit juice and boosted with healthful additions such as ginger, kale, spirulina, flax seeds, and wheatgrass for extra nutrients. The calories in the Machine smoothies range from 230 to 320 per standard bottle.
Fruit & Veggie
The Fruit & Veggie product line is a simple selection of smoothies from Naked. This assortment features smoothies such as Strawberry Banana, which is a blend of strawberries, banana, apples, and orange. The calorie content of the Fruit & Veggie selection ranges from 170 to 290 per bottle.
Available in Blueberry Banana, Peach Mango, Tropical, Greens, and Double Berry, Naked’s Protein blends contain 18-30 grams of protein and 330-390 calories per bottle. Depending on your individual goals, beverages with similar protein and calorie amounts may be suitable as a post-workout snack.
The Cold Pressed drinks from Naked are lower in sugar than many of their other drinks, with 23 grams (1.9 grams in every ounce) of sugar in the Cold Pressed Bright Greens. Cold-pressed juice is made with a hydraulic press rather than a juicer or auger.
Naked is very transparent about the nutritional content of their beverages. One can easily find the nutrition info on their website and packaging to see the high calorie and sugar content of their products. They also disclose on their website that they are not low-calorie drinks. The high calorie and sugar content of Naked beverages is the result of packing as much fruit and vegetables into each bottle.
Even the smoothies that sound simple enough like Orange Mango, the smoothie actually contain the juice from:
- 1 and 3/4 oranges
- 1 and 3/4 apples
- 1/2 a mango
- “a hint of” banana.
The Blue Machine’s juice contains:
- 3 and 1/2 apples
- 1 banana
- 27 blueberries
- 3 blackberries
While consuming a wide range of fruit and vegetables each day is important, the best source is directly from whole fruit and vegetables. It’s recommended that only 1 of your daily servings of fruit and vegetables come from juice.
Are the sugars in Naked Drinks healthy?
Naked does not add any sugar to their drinks. The high sugar content is the result of naturally occurring sugars in fruit. Although Naked drinks may be free from refined sugar, up to 53 grams of sugar from one drink is still a tremendous amount of sugar.
Many people might find the “no added sugars” label misleading and interpret this to mean that Naked drinks are sugar-free. “No added sugars” simply means all of the sugar in the drink is naturally occurring from fruit. There is still sugar, just none that wasn’t naturally there already.
The naturally occurring sugars in fruit and vegetables, which are largely fructose and glucose, are not inherently bad for you. However, excess sugar that is not used for energy by the body is stored as fat. Too much fructose, in particular, can increase the risk of having high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and fatty liver.
Juices can also affect blood glucose levels more so than whole fruit. The Glycemic Index ranks how much a particular food will impact blood glucose levels over the course of an hour on a scale of 0 to 100; the higher the rank the more blood glucose levels will spike. An apple has a GI of 38, while apple juice has a slightly higher GI of 41.
In general, avoid drinks lacking protein and fiber to avoid those feelings of hunger returning, which can result in consuming even more sugar and calories.
Are Naked’s Competitors Lower in Sugar & Calories?
Looking at Naked’s competitors we can compare the sugar and calorie content.
Suja Juice Co
The big difference between Naked and Suja Juice is that Suja only sells cold-pressed juices, wellness shots, and kombucha, whereas cold-pressed juice is a small subsection of Naked’s range.
Suja’s Green Supreme contains 180 calories and 36 grams (2.25 grams in every ounce) of sugar per bottle, which is similar to the calorie and sugar content in Naked’s own green juice cold-pressed juice.
Bolthouse Farms sells juice, wellness shots, salad dressings, and iced coffee. A 15-ounce bottle of Bolthouse Blue Goodness contains 290 calories and 54 grams of sugar and is similar to Naked’s Blue Machine which contains 320 calories and 55 grams of sugar. There is no escaping the sugar and calorie content in juices and smoothies made from fruits and vegetables, whether you drink juice from Naked or another brand.
So, Wait…What is The Final Verdict?
One 16 ounce can of Pepsi contains 56 grams (3.5 grams in every ounce) of sugar and Naked’s drinks contain up to 53 grams (3.5 grams in every ounce) of sugar per their standard 15.2-ounce bottle. Cold Pressed and Half-Naked drinks boast 50% less sugar and are newer products available in the lineup. If the choice is between a can of Pepsi or a smoothie, the latter is the healthier option as it provides nutritional value, whereas Pepsi or other sodas is without added vitamins and minerals making it purely empty calories.
That said, The high sugar and calorie content can negatively impact your health if you already have large quantities of sugar in your diet, or if you’re trying to lose weight. If you struggle to add fruit and vegetables to your diet, then a smoothie or juice can help you get those nutrients that you may otherwise miss out on with a diet low in fruits or vegetables.
Remember that juice should only be used for 1 of your fruit and vegetable servings in a day. It’s best to get nutrients from whole fruits and vegetables for the majority of your daily servings. Given that the recommended amount of juice in a day is no more than 4-6 ounces, consider sharing your bottle of Naked Mighty Mango with a friend…or two. The Half-Naked smoothies and Cold Pressed drinks are healthier options available from Naked when consumed in moderation.