Most juices are about as good for you as a supersized soda. That's because unless they're "100% pure," they're pretty much just sugar water, minus the important fiber and nutrients you'd find in actual fruit. But that got us wondering: How do some of the newer, more exotic juices or juice blends on the market stack up against those we drank as kids?
What's good about it: Rich in anti-oxidants that may prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and may even reverse the disease's progression, according to new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Tasty? If you're a fan of cranberry juice's tart taste, you'll dig this, though even a Palm Beach retiree might find the prune-juice-like aftertaste too off-putting.
The bottom line: Add it to smoothies or drink it plain. Just don't go overboard-there are 140 calories in eight ounces. You can even use it as a mixer in cocktails. Check out our Pomegranate Martini.
Sambazon Acai Juice
What's good about it: The acai berry is packed with the same blood-clot and atherosclerosis-fighting anti-oxidants found in red wine. Its essential fatty acids can also control cholesterol levels.
Tasty? Very-the strawberry-banana smoothie flavor we tried was rich, creamy, and refreshing.
The bottom line: The high calorie content (185 or more per eight ounces) makes this more of a treat than a staple of your diet. If you're looking for anti-oxidants, get them from whole fruits and vegetables rather than juices (if you want to stay lean).
Zico Coconut Water
What's good about it: Coconut water has more potassium than a banana and 15 times more than sports drinks. It's also less acidic than sports drinks-perfect for guys who are heartburn-prone or have a sensitive stomach.
Tasty? It's not radically different from regular water-the coconut taste is slight. And there's no added sugar, so it isn't sickeningly sweet.
The bottom line: Reach for it after intense workouts to replenish electrolytes. With only 60 calories, 15 grams of carbs, and no fat, it can help you rehydrate without putting on pounds.
Silk Live! Live-Cultured Smoothie
What's good about it: This nutrient powerhouse is loaded with 19 vitamins and minerals and seven grams of heart-healthy soy protein. It also contains NutraFlora, a type of fiber that assists your body with the absorption of calcium.
Tasty? It's just like drinking yogurt-and you'd never know it was dairy-free. Haters of watery soy milk will find this much more palatable.
The bottom line: At 230 calories and four grams of fat, it shouldn't replace plain ol' water at mealtimes. Plus, while it does have less sugar than many smoothies, it still contains 34 grams per 10-ounce serving...not much less than soda.