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Juice BlendNaked Juice is thick, rich and sweet: if you froze it, it could be sorbet. There’s a pound of fruit in each 15.2-ounce bottle; so according to the standards of the national 5-A-Day Council, each bottle contains more than two servings of fruit.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

BETH COLLINS is an editor at THE NIBBLE.

 

 

March 2006
Updated December 2006

Main Nibbles / Beverages / Juices

Naked Juices & Smoothies

Health Food For Your Sweet Tooth

 

In any given week at THE NIBBLE, we taste an enormous range of products: everything from flavored syrups to gourmet sausages to chocolate in its myriad forms. As delicious as many of these may be, most cannot exactly be considered healthful. So when an assortment of Naked Juice drinks arrived in our offices a few days ago, we took it as a sign that we should be take a break from all the indulgent goodies we've been sampling and try something with some nutritional value.

Naked Juice is a line of all-natural 100 percent juices, 100-percent juice smoothies and protein smoothies made from “the best bare-naked fruits”—no added sugar, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors. The Naked Juice bottles practically scream “health food,” each claiming “a pound of fruit in every bottle” on the front and detailing said fruits on the back (e.g. “2 pomegranates, 106 açai berries, 1 apple 1/5 banana & red and white grapes for good measure”). All of this produces juices that are thick, rich, and intensely-colored...but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

At the risk of shocking our chocolate-logged systems with actual vitamins, we dived right in, sampling four juices (Pomegranate, Pomegranate Blueberry, Pomegranate Açai, and Rainforest Açai) and one smoothie (Red Machine). And shocked we were—though not necessarily because of all the vitamins. For a heart-healthy antioxidant food that boasts so many good-for-you ingredients, the Naked Juice drinks taste a heck of a lot like candy.

It Must Be Sugar, ‘Cause Fruit Don’t Taste This Sweet

Our first instinct was to check the ingredient label to find the secret behind the sweetness. We found that, of the drinks in our line-up, all but the Pomegranate Juice contained grape juice (either white, red or both), a go-to ingredient for drink companies that want to add sweetness without loading the product with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Sometimes the added grape juice can be so sweet that it overpowers the rest of the flavors in juices, but we didn't find this to be the case with the Naked line. The Pomegranate Blueberry still has enough tannins to make your mouth pucker, which we liked; and the Pomegranate Açai and Red Machine flavors, while quite sweet, are still full of great flavors. We would have liked a bit more of that wonderful sour-bitter flavor in the Pomegranate juice; we felt it got a bit buried under the sweetness.
Naked Juice
Red Machine was our editor’s favorite—a luscious blend of fruits rich enough to be dessert. But then Gold Machine arrived: banana and pineapple. Who could resist?

The crowd favorite was the Rainforest Açai, which has a great tanginess to keep it from being overly sweet. But several months later, a bottle of Gold Machine arrived that won our heart: bursting with banana and pineapple, we felt as if we were in tropical cocktail heaven, and needed no rum or tequila.

Mighty Mango
Mighty Mango is mightier with orange juice mixed in... and a base of grape juice too.

What Naked Is About

That’s when we started to “get” the concept of Naked Juice. Maybe we had been waylaid by the word “naked,” thinking it would bring us to the bare essence of the pomegranate or the blueberry. Instead, it carried us on a blanket of blends: as you can see in the photo of Mango Madness, it’s about the mango...and the orange...and the grape juice underneath that provides the brand’s sweet profile.

Of course, sweet isn’t necessarily a four-letter word: many people would be happy to have the sour of pomegranate or bitterness of açai mellowed by a bit of grape juice. And as much as we love straightforward fruit, we enjoyed drinking most of the juices in the “All Natural Antioxidant 100% Juice line.”

True, we were conscious of drinking something very sweet rather than something natural and healthy—if we hadn’t read the label, we would have thought something had been added and that it was more caloric than it actually is—but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Thus, the paradox is that something all-natural with no sugar added tastes a bit like a frozen tropical drink, waiting only for a little paper umbrella and a pineapple spear.  But again: it’s a style many people would embrace, and do, as Naked Juice is going gangbusters. It’s a quality product; we’d gladly have a glass if you offered it to us again.

For The Kids

Naked Juice was first sold to sun worshippers at the beach at Santa Monica: it has that California-healthy-youth-sun-and-surf appeal. It’s possible that the young, including kids, are the perfect audience for these drinks. In fact, the new Naked labels, with their primary colors, pictures of fruit piled high, and fun fonts, seem to be geared directly toward the younger set. The sugar count is a bit high (anywhere from 23 grams to a whopping 37 grams per 8-ounce serving), but it is of some comfort that this sugar comes from fruits rather than from high fructose corn syrup, like so many other drinks. Plus, Naked products are all-natural, preservative-free, and packed with nutrients (a single bottle of Red Machine includes 200 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamins B6 and B12 and folate, and 60 percent of your daily calcium).

So, try them for yourself, and keep them on hand for kids—and for when your sweet tooth strikes. While the sugar is high, the calories aren’t bad. The 15.2-ounce bottle of Antioxidant juices average 150 calories; and half a bottle of the sweet, viscous juice—almost a cup—is enough to the the edge off.

Update August 2006: In May 2006 Naked Juice launched Orange Mango Motion and Strawberry-Kiwi Kick energy drinks with no added sugar; in August the Energy Family line of smoothies was expanded with two new all-natural varieties: Black & Blueberry Rush and Cherry Pomegranate Power. Suggested retail price $2.99.
 

NAKED JUICES AND SMOOTHIES

Blue Machine, Gold Machine, Green
Machine, Red Machine, Mighty Mango, Chocolate Karma, Vanilla Chai and Others

Certified Kosher by Orthodox Union

  • “Antioxidant”
    100% Juice Varieties
    15.2-Ounce Bottle
    $2.59 Each
  • Fruit Juice Smoothies
    15.2-Ounce Bottle
    $3.19-$3.49 Depending On Variety
  • Soy Smoothies are also available

Naked Juice is available at grocery and natural food stores throughout the U.S., including Whole Food Market, Albertson’s and Safeway stores. There is no online store as of this writing, but visit NakedJuice.com to find a local retailer.

Naked Juice Blue Machine

Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication, but are subject to change.


All-Natural Treats

Smoothies Bible Slim Smoothies Low-Carb Smoothies
The Smoothies Bible, by Pat Crocker. The go-to book regarding all things smoothie. Includes benefits and recipes for all kinds of smoothies. Click here for more information or to purchase. Slim Smoothies: Over 130 Healthy and Energizing Recipes Without All the Calories, by Donna Pliner Rodnitzky. This book highlights a tasty collection of more than 130 ultra-nutritious and energizing low-cal smoothies is the perfect complement to your daily meal plan. Click here for more information or to purchase. Low-Carb Smoothies: More Than 135 Recipes to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Without Guilt, by Donna Pliner Rodnitzky. Learn how to transform a carb-and calorie-laden smoothie into a guiltless treat by replacing forbidden ingredients with intensely flavored sugar-free syrups, low-glycemic fruits, and protein powders. Click here for more information or to purchase.


Smooth And Flavorful

Blender Milk Shake Glasses Straw Dispenser
Double Smoothie-Bar Blender & Server. Powerful 700-watt motors keep the smoothies flowing in two flavors—a hit for summer entertaining. Click here for more information or to purchase. Milk Shake Glass Set. A malt-shop classic, perfect for serving smoothies. Click here for more information or to purchase. Straw Dispenser. Turn your counter into a soda fountain with an old-fashioned straw dispenser with stainless steel lid. Click here for more information or to purchase.

 

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