You'll Never Believe What Consumer Reports Found in 45 Different Fruit Juices | 22 Words

Science just keeps coming for the things I love. Their latest victim? Delicious, perfect, sugary fruit juices. That's right, there's a new study that's found some concerning things in leading fruit juice brands, and it's enough to stop even a sugar fiend like your author from slurping down those fruity beverages like there's no tomorrow.

No, we're not talking about the sugar content, which already has many parents limiting their kids' access to fruit juice. And we're not talking about GMOs or non-organic fruits or any of the other usual health food buzzwords. Instead, we're talking about something that you really don't ever want to be associated with your food: heavy metals.

Of course, it's not as simple as "fruit juice is bad and contains heavy metals." There's still a lot of debate about how much is safe to ingest, and how much we should limit fruit juices. So scared moms: keep reading and find out if your kids are safe drinking the juice.

If there is one truth about kids and juice it's this:

Kids love juice, it's as simple as that.

Parents do not love kids with juice.

But any parent can tell you that most fruit juices are chock full of sugar and handing that blast of energy to your kiddo can be a dangerous move indeed.

New juicy details.

But whether you're pro juice or anti-juice, there's some new info that just came from Consumer Reports that you should probably be aware of.

Just testing for arsenic.


In 2011, Consumer Reports found elevated levels of arsenic and lead in some juices, so they decided it was time to check back in and see if juice had made any improvements.

The Research

For this research, Consumer Reports bought 3 samples each of 45 different types of fruit juices. They even employed secret shoppers to purchase the samples, just in case.

What kind of juice?

Ok, you might not think this is important but I'm very interested in what fruit juices I can still drink. What did they test? A variety of flavors: apple (22 juices), fruit juice blends (13 juices), grape (7 juices), and pear (3 juices).

Ok, ok, now we know the juices.

So we've acquired the product, but where do we go from here? Consumer Reports wanted to check out heavy metals, including cadmium, mercury, inorganic arsenic, and lead.

Sorry, run those numbers past me again...

The results? Every single brand had heavy metals. Twenty-one of them had what Consumer Reports called "concerning" levels of heavy metals.

That's that's a lot of heavy metals.

If you're running to the fridge to dump all your juice down the drain, we wouldn't blame you. Those numbers sound pretty terrifying.

Hold your horses.

But there's a lot more happening in these results. Don't go nixing all juice just yet. We'll take a deep dive into what these findings mean.

First, the good news!

None of the juices tested contained concerning amounts of mercury. Throw that one in the win column.

Just how bad are heavy metals?

Heavy metals naturally occur in air, soil, and water. Some heavy metals are actually important for the human body in small quantities.

On the other hand...

Heavy metals are linked with increased risk of bladder, lung, and skin cancer; cognitive and reproductive problems, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, fertility problems, cardiovascular disease, bone damage, and kidney disease. Sol, that's fine.

The question is in amounts.

Here's where it gets a little confusing: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has certain guidelines for heavy metal levels in juices. Consumer Reports researchers think those guidelines should be lower. Depending on who you believe, the juice could be incredibly dangerous or 100% safe.

Let's take an example.

One of the heavy metals they tested was inorganic arsenic. Five years ago the FDA proposed that inorganic arsenic in apple juice shouldn't go above 10 parts per billion (ppb). Only one juice tested above those levels. Consumer Reports suggests a guideline of 3 ppb, a cutoff that leaves 58 percent of the juices in the "dangerous" territory. You can see how things get tricky.

Let's let the companies have their say.

Consumer Reports did speak to some of the juice manufacturers and Welch's said “All Welch’s juice is safe and strictly complies with all applicable legal requirements. Naturally occurring elements such as lead and arsenic are present in the soil, air, and water. Therefore, they are also found in very low, harmless levels in many fruits and vegetables." Of course, they would though.

So what do we do now?

Is it time to start ditching all juices? Or should juice turn into a "sometimes food" like all the other delicious things on the planet?

Here's what Consumer Reports says.

It depends on the juice. One-third of the juices with concerning levels of heavy metal could pose a risk to kids who drink four ounces or more in a day. Nine more of the juices are only risky at eight ounces or more a day. But generally? Less juice means less heavy metal.

You'll have to pry my Capri Sun from my cold, dead hands.

Of course, Consumer Reports specifically had to call out that some of the juices come in boxes or pouches, and that kids who drink more than one a day are at risk. Why not just call me out by name Consumer Reports?

It can't be that bad though, can it?

“Exposure to these metals early on can affect their whole life trajectory," says Jennifer Lowry, chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health. “There is so much development happening in their first years of life." Ok, I guess it is that bad.

Just don't give kids juice then right?

Hahaha, that's a cute idea. Over 80 percent of kids three years old and under get juice sometimes according to Consumer Reports. That's a lot of juice to just stop drinking.

Why not try an alternative?

Everyone thinks soda is super healthy right?

Ok, ok soda's a bad idea.

Dr. Leo Trasande, professor in pediatrics, environmental medicine, and population health, recommends that parents instead give their children a piece of fruit and a glass of water. That's basically juice, right?

Yeah, that one's realistic.

I can hear the parents out there cracking up as they imagine trying to convince their 5-year-old that fruit and water are equivalent to the sugary goodness of fruit juice.

Create a non-juice bubble.

The best option as far as we can tell is to just never allow your children to learn of the existence of juice. Sorry kids, the only beverage we know of is water.

Or be prepared for a fight.

If your kids already know of the mythical powers of juice? Just get ready for them to come at you when you try to take it away.

Or you could go the bargaining route.

"I swear I'll give you some juice once you clean your room. I swear!"

While you consider your options...

Let's take a moment to appreciate all the good times we had with juice before it became a deadly glass of obesity epidemic.

To all you parents out there...

We say good luck and pour one out. The juice battles are just beginning.

And for the rest of us...

Let's all have one last swig of juice together.