Send me Your FREE
Health & Nutrition Updates

Tips on ways to live longer, healthier and happier.
Enter your email below.

Ask Tufts Experts May 2012 Issue

Q: V8 juice lists 10 grams for carbohydrates, of which 8 grams are sugars. Is that too much sugar for a healthful drink?

Answer :  That 8 grams of sugar in 8 ounces of V8 juice compares to 28 in the same size serving of a typical non-diet cola, but we can see how that number might still be surprising. Caitlin Wong, a master’s candidate at the Friedman School and a Frances Stern Dietetic Intern, puts it into perspective: “When talking about a healthful drink, it’s difficult to say how much sugar is ‘too much’ because there are no dietary recommendations for sugar. Sugar is often thought of as a manmade product found only in processed foods. But in fact, sugar is almost universally found in plants, including grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Sugars are found in several forms, and are a type of carbohydrate. Regardless of the form or complexity, however, all sugars are broken down in the body into simple sugars called monosaccharides (primarily glucose) to be absorbed and metabolized. Whether carbohydrates are coming from an ice cream cone or iceberg lettuce, they all serve one primary function: fuel. While sugar can be used for fuel, excess sugar intake will be stored as fat and can contribute to other health complications. So, does it matter if there is sugar in healthy foods and beverages?

“The important thing to note about V8 Juice is that it is 100% juice with no added sugars. The 8 grams of sugar that are in every serving of V8 occur naturally in the vegetables—tomatoes, beets, celery, carrots, lettuce, watercress, parsley and spinach. Most probably comes from beets and carrots, ingredients with the highest amount of total sugars per 100 grams—7.02 grams and 3.46 grams, respectively.

“Consumers must also consider the possible benefits of other components in the beverage. An 8-ounce serving of V8 Juice contains only 50 calories, and sugar contributes more than half of those calories. On the bright side, each serving also contains 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein, and is packed with vitamins A and C. With every food there are pros and cons. Perhaps in this case, the benefits outweigh the costs.

“If there is anything to worry about with V8 Juice, it is probably the sodium content (420 milligrams per serving), which might lead you to pick low-sodium V8 (140 milligrams per serving) instead.”

New to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter? Register for Free!

Already Registered?
Log In