The Water Vs. Juice Controversy

So in my last review I tagged the product in question as both water and juice and although I am perfectly comfortable with the duality of existence, I feel like this has come up a few times recently so I want to discuss it with you, fella to fella.

Do you or anyone else know if there is a legal definition of juice, such as FDA-mandated or something? I’m Googling and Wikipedia-ing like crazy but to not much avail.

Personally, I feel like water + fruit flavor + sugar = juice. Well actually if you want to get serious, I think water + sugar = juice. And the sugar in question could be sucrose or fructose or any kind of artificial sweetener, whether its aspartame, sucralose or neotame. So that means Vitamin Water, Propel Fitness Water, Aquafina Flavor Splash, and anything else of that ilk all qualifies as juice, to me. I mean, they taste more like juice than water, don’t they? (Spoiler: yes.)

So at this point you’re no doubt completely rolling your eyes and yelling Who cares/Why does it even matter/I rue the day I ever let you post here. Well I guess it probably doesn’t matter, and I’ll drink whatever either way. But I don’t like stupid marketing ploys and as a general rule I like to actually know what I’m buying, and I’m sort of hopeful that there’s someone else wondering the same things. I mean just because the bottle says water in the title does not make it all filled with nature’s goodness. Am I right or am I right. What say ye.

15 thoughts on “The Water Vs. Juice Controversy”

  1. For me, it’s not Juice unless it is 100% derived from fruit and/or vegetables.
    Otherwise it is just Drink. Or Juice Cocktail. Or water.
    I can’t imagine drinking water + sugar unless it’s carbonated.

  2. Yeah, mokin beat me to it, but I was gonna say unless it has a large amount of actual fruit content, water + sugar + fruit flavor = juice drink, in my opinion (and possibly the FDA’s as well).

  3. Yeah, the mokster is on the right track.
    water + sugar + artificial coloring = drink (think that stuff in those little plastic barrel shaped bottles that every young boy knows are designed to look like hand grenades)
    water + sugar + some juice no matter how infinitesimal = juice drink (like smokin’ mokin said, think Cranberry Juice Cocktail or maybe SunnyD)
    100% juice = juice (think Tropicana Pure Premium) (And as an aside, just like Tony, I like Some Pulp)
    So what the frig? Isn’t this stuff covered in Beverages 101 – A Survey of Beverage? I mean for reals, shouldn’t you be telling us this stuff.

  4. I agree with the term “Drink” but it’s not very useful for tagging and data-tracking purposes.
    I wonder if it would be helpful to have a category for incorrectly-labeled beverages. Like “not actually water” or something.

    I found something that may help. If you scroll down to the end of this page, you’ll see some definitions by the FDA in regarding juice versus drink.
    100% Pure or 100% Juice
    Guarantees only 100 percent fruit juice, complete with all its nutrients. If it’s not there, it’s not all juice.
    “Cocktail,” “Punch,” “Drink,” “Beverage”
    Terms which signify diluted juice containing less than 100 percent juice, often with added sweeteners.

    Here’s one definition of juice from the FDA from some other document:
    For purposes of this regulation, juice means the aqueous liquid expressed or extracted from one or more fruits or vegetables (e.g., apple juice, apple cider, orange juice, and carrot juice); a puree of the edible portions of the fruit or vegetable that is used as a beverage (e.g., banana puree or peach puree); or any concentrate of such liquids or purees (e.g., grape juice concentrate or grapefruit juice concentrate).
    I think basically the FDA only cares what we call “juice” and want to regulate that it’s 100% juice, and nothing else can be called juice. As for “juice products”, it’s less clear.

  6. Maybe academic at this point, but over here (Ireland, Europeland) if it says juice, it’s 100% juice. Although that can be from concentrate.
    If it says “Juice Drink”, it’s water with a percentage of juice, and whatever else they want to put in it. And they seem to be allowed put “drink” in as small letters as they like, wherever they want on the bottle. So no, not the best distinction to use.
    Why does nobody sell just Cranberry Juice in bottles? It’s always Cranberry Juice Drink.

  7. I think “juice drink” is a great way to tag beverages like this. I’ll probably use that in the future.
    I just really hope that at some point companies won’t be allowed to throw the term “water” around like they currently do.

  8. Why does nobody sell just Cranberry Juice in bottles? It’s always Cranberry Juice Drink.
    I’ve seen Delta Force operatives brought to their knees with pure 100% cranberry juice. Even the amounts of white grape juice and HFCS that are put in cranberry juice cocktail are not enough to counteract the super tartness intrinsic to the cranberry. The only motivators strong enough to get most people to drink cranberry juice cocktail here in the states is a shot of Stoli mixed in or the promise of a cure for a severe urinary tract infection. And in the case of UTI it’s usually only the women who will submit to the therapy. Most men will just tough it out until nature brings a cure.

  9. I don’t know. I like cranberry juice from concentrate. Never had it unconcentrated, I don’t think. It’s nice and tart. I don’t like the over-sweet.
    And my urine is not particularly acidic.

  10. I should probably clarify: By “never had it unconcentrated” I mean I never had it freshly squeezed. I don’t mean that I always drink syrupy juice-essence distilled down to fill 200ml cans. That wouldn’t be normal.

  11. I can’t imagine squeezing cranberries for juice. Those things are like little rocks even when they’re ripe. They are all like: WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO TO GET YOU PEOPLE TO STOP EATING US.

  12. I wonder if they are the ones behind the bird flu? With no turkeys around life would be a lot less dangerous for cranberries. Hmm, I think I’m gonna place a call to the CDC.

  13. At this point, I’m not as concerned with the FDA definition of juice, which does not include any products labeled or marketed as juice drinks, beverages, or -ades.
    My overwhelming concern is how every state has a different definition for these products.
    Additionally, there is no distinction of “natural” fruit or vegetable “juices” from their concentrates, or reconstituted natural concentrated juices, from their frozen or unfrozen, dehydrated, powdered, granulated, sweetened or unsweeten, seasoned or unseasoned forms.
    Its baffling how there are 45 definitions and treatments according to the state in which you reside. Test this theory by visiting your local states Department of Revenue, or by visiting

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