Flip over to the ingredients list of any pre-packaged juice carton and even the 100% juice varieties will likely be made from reconstituted fruit juice. What is it? Where does it come from and what does it mean for your health? All you need to know is right here.
What is reconstituted fruit juice?
- You take 10 oranges.
- You squeeze their juice. Just like you’d do at home.
- You put that juice on high heat to evaporate around 80% of its water content. You’re then left with a concentrate.
- You transport this concentrate to various suppliers.
- When your suppliers are ready, they then add the same quantity of water back to the concentrate and your reconstituted fruit juice is born.
- They then bottle it and then ship it to your local store.
Why do they reconstitute?
Many juice companies around Australia use this concentrated form of juice as it is much cheaper to transport and store.
Is it nutritious?
Unsurprisingly, reconstituted fruit juices DO NOT contain the same nutritional benefits as freshly squeezed juices. A number of enzymes required for adequate food metabolism and the immune system are destroyed through the process of heating and reconstitution. Vitamin C levels are also depleted significantly, but more often than not, artificially (asorbic acid) added back by most manufacturers at a later date.
Is it made using Australian fruit?
There is no current Australian regulation that enforces juice companies to list where the concentrate itself originates. Seasonal harvest shortfalls can require companies to import their juice concentrate from offshore. This is especially concerning when there is possibility the concentrate comes from countries such as China where food production regulations are much different than our own.
Are there any chemicals involved?
Most reconstituted juice contains additional flavors and preservatives. You want to avoid all artificial preservatives like that of sodium benzoate (E211).
- Sodium Benzoate is also used in fireworks as a fuel in whistle mix, a powder that emits a whistling noise when compressed into a tube and ignited.
- In combination with ascorbic acid (vitamin C, E300), sodium benzoate and potassium benzoate form benzene, a known carcinogen.
How do you avoid it?
Cold pressed freshly squeezed juice (especially vegetable) or a simple smoothie (to increase the fibre) is wonderful way to boost your vitamin and mineral intake each and every day.