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You Could've Had a V8, But Should You?
by BrandAid


DOINK! You could've had a V8... But the better question may be: Should you have had a V8?

It depends on which variety of V8 you're drinking.

Our friends at Campbell's - yes, the soup king owns the V8 brand - have been super busy expanding their offerings to three product lines with over 30 varieties to choose from.

Although we're firm believers that variety is the spice of the life, we urge our readers NOT to assume that every V8 variety is healthy. Remember this eBrandAid Golden Rule: Not every variety in a brand is created equal - reading labels is a must!

But, who's got the time to stand around reading ingredient labels for some 30 products? We do - your trusty food sleuths!

So, sit back and relax while we give you the 411 on V8 - the good, the not-so-bad, and the downright ugly. We start with a BestBrands choice, then follow up with our SilverMedal second-best selection, and round out our special V8 investigation with a Healthy Food Imposter - a product you should avoid at all cost.

Article continues below




V8 V-Fusion Vegetable and Fruit Juices

The V-Fusion options provide a new twist on juice "fusing" by combining fruits and veggies in a single juice. Sample this example:

V8 V-Fusion 100% Juice Strawberry Banana



Ingredients: Reconstituted Vegetable Juice Blend (Water and Concentrated Juices of Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Tomatoes, Beets), Reconstituted Fruit Juice Blend (Water and Concentrated Juices of White Grapes, Oranges, Apples, Strawberries and Clarified Bananas), Contains Less than 2% of the Following Ingredients: Natural Flavoring, Banana Puree, Malic Acid, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Citric Acid, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol Acetate). Calories 120 (8oz serving), Total Fat 0g, Sugars 28g, fiber 0g, Protein 1g

Decoding the Fine Print

This 100% Juice contains a blend of 10 vegetable and fruit juices and puree from concentrate with other natural flavors. There's no added sugar - all the sugar is natural from the fruit. The calories are in line with most other juices. And we think this stuff tastes great!

We're happy to say that all the V8 V-Fusion 100% juice varieties are good healthy options and have earned our BestBrands Seal of Approval. Way to go Campbell's!

Beware: We urge you to avoid all the "light" versions of V-8 Fusion. Although you're getting less calories, you're also getting less juice and less nutrition-and WAY MORE artificial sweeteners. Check out our refresher course on light juices.




V8 100% Vegetable Juices

The original V8 Vegetable Juice now comes in six varieties. Each packs a nice healthy punch because it includes a blend of 8 vegetable juices! Sample this example: V8 100% Juice Vegetable



Ingredients: Tomato Juice from Concentrate (Water, Tomato Concentrate), Reconstituted Vegetable Juice Blend (Water and Concentrated Juices of Carrots, Celery, Beets, Parsley, Lettuce, Watercress, Spinach), Salt, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Flavoring, Citric Acid.

Calories 50 (8 oz serving), Total Fat 0g, Sodium 620mg, Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 8g, Protein 1g

Decoding the Fine Print

We've already established the bounty of veggies padding out the ingredients label. Happily, we didn't notice any artificial colors or preservatives. Even better, the nutrition facts show this drink is low in fat and calories!

Here's the rub. When we dug a little deeper, the nutrition facts reveals an off-the-charts sodium level of 620mg. That's like getting 25% of the daily recommended intake of sodium in a single 8-ounce glass of juice - eek!

All is not lost though. In spite of the high levels of sodium, we still give this line of veggie juice our SilverMedal Distinction - they're good choices, just not the best!

Want a better option? Campbell's offers this classic veggie blend in a low-sodium version. It contains the same health benefits, but they come with a fraction of the sodium (95mg of sodium).



V8 Splash Juice Drinks

We're not quite sure how or why the juice makers at Campbell's veered off course and headed directly towards Healthy Food Imposter haven with this product line. Sample this example:









V8 Splash Juice Beverage, Mango Peach

Ingredients: (10% juice) Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Carrot Juice from Concentrate (Water, Carrot Juice Concentrate), Apple Juice from Concentrate (Water, Apple Juice Concentrate), Citric Acid, Natural Flavoring, Peach Juice from Concentrate (Water, Peach Juice Concentrate), Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Mango Puree Concentrate, Beta Carotene.

Calories 80 ( 8oz serving), Total Fat 0g, Sodium 40mg, Sugar 18g, Fiber 0g, Protein 3g

Decoding the Fine Print

Okay folks, all you have to do is read the first two ingredients (water and high fructose corn syrup) and you'll have all the clues you need to leave this juice drink on the shelf. Remember, manufacturers list ingredients in order of MOST to LEAST, meaning the first few ingredients usually make up the bulk of the item.

They do list several fruit and veggie concentrates - but when you look at the nutrition facts info you see that the "healthy stuff" is really only 10% juice. Ouch!

If this is your favorite variety of the V8 line, then - DOINK! - you shouldn't have had a V8!


Reality Check

We all know that eating whole fruits and veggies is your best bet. But let's face it - with our busy on-the-go lifestyles, convenience is sometimes a must. So, enjoying a glass of V8 100% vegetable juice or V8 V-Fusion 100% juice every now and then will juice up your nutrition without hurting your health.

So, go ahead-have a V8 - just be sure to pick the healthiest options!

Remember, when you're armed with a little eBrandAid know-how, you're in control at the grocery store.



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