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IELTS READING LEVEL 6.5 – Be a Juice Sleuth!

Be a Juice Sleuth!

by Tracey Middlekauff

It takes about 18 oranges to make a 64-ounce carton of orange juice. Girl Ray/Getty Images. 

Everything you always wanted to know about juice … but didn’t know you needed to ask

When you’re thirsty or just craving a little afternoon pick-me-up, juice is probably one of the drinks you reach for. And why not? Not only is it tasty, it’s nutritious, right?

Well … that depends. To make sure you’re getting the full benefits of juice, you have to act like a detective. You need to ask the right questions and understand how to read labels. Read on to learn more than you ever thought there was to know about your favorite beverage!


Are juice drinks, juice cocktails, and juice beverages all the same as plain old juice?

No! Those are clever disguises. Only beverages that are 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice may actually be called juice. A drink with anything less than 100 percent juice has been diluted. That means something else has been added, usually water and sugar. “The label ‘100 percent juice’ is the key,” says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association (ADA) spokesperson Marilyn

Tanner-Blasiar. “Beverages labeled ‘fruit drink,’ ‘fruit cocktail,’ or ‘fruit ade’ may contain added sugars which replace that nutrition.”In other words, you don’t need to get out a calculator. If it’s not 100 percent juice, the nutrition experts say, it’s not really juice.


What does it mean when a label says juice is from ‘concentrate’?

At some point in the juice-making process, all the water has been removed from the fruit. What’s left behind is frozen. That new substance-the concentrate-takes up a lot less space and is easy to move from one place to another. The concentrate still has all the vitamins and minerals from the original fruit. So if you buy a carton of orange juice from concentrate, that means that water has been added back to the concentrate to make your juice.


If a juice product is organic, it’s good for you, right?

A food must have been produced without chemicals and chemical pesticides to truly be called organic. Organic products are generally better for the environment. But there is some debate as to whether they’re actually better for you. The most important thing is to choose 100 percent juice, whether it’s organic or not.


Are added vitamins and minerals clues that the juice is healthier for you?

Not really-100 percent juice already packs a nutritional wallop. Orange juice, for example, is loaded with vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium. Sometimes, a company will add vitamin C to a sugary fruit punch in order to make it seem healthier, Tanner-Blasiar points out. But it’s a much better idea to get your vitamins and minerals from foods that contain them naturally. In other words, get your calcium from low-fat milk or yogurt instead of relying on calcium-fortified juice. And don’t be too impressed with juices that claim to have ingredients to help boost your immune system. “A proper diet, lots of activity, and plenty of sleep is what really helps keep a child’s immune system strong,” says registered dietitian and nutritional consultant Keri Gans.


Cranberry juice was first made by American settlers in 1683. Ewa Brozek/Istockphoto


Why would a juice such as cranberry juice mysteriously list other juices, such as grape or apple, as a main ingredient?

Some fruits-such as cranberries-can be a little tart or have an overpowering flavor. So sometimes, instead of adding extra sugar, a company may add a sweeter or more mild-tasting juice to create a juice blend. Grape and apple juices are popular sweetening picks, Tanner-Blasiar says. That’s OK! There’s nothing wrong with juice blends as long as you’re drinking 100 percent juice.


Is honey a better sweetener than cane sugar?

Nope. “Sugar is sugar,” says Suzanne Farrell, a registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson. “When you add sugar, you add calories.” A good label detective knows the clues on a juice label that mean there are added sugars. Those include syrup, glucose, sucrose, raw sugar, honey, agave nectar, cane juice, and high-fructose corn syrup. As always, go with 100 percent juice, which contains naturally-occurring fructose, or fruit sugars.

Many juices contain about the same amount of sugar as colas do. Leonid Nyshko/Istockphoto


Is there any nutritional difference between eating fruit and drinking fruit juice?

Yes. It may surprise you to learn that there are some important differences. For one thing, the calorie count in juice can add up fast. One orange has about 60 calories, while 1 cup of orange juice-just 8 ounces-has more than 100. Fruit also contains fiber, an important part of your diet that gets eliminated in juice. Fiber helps you feel full, so you don’t eat too much. It also helps balance your blood sugar levels. That way, you don’t get a sugar high followed by a crash that can leave you feeling groggy.

“You should get 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit a day, and it shouldn’t all come from juice,” says Farrell.


What’s better for you-water or juice?

They’re both good for different reasons. “Water is calorie-free and also vitamin-and mineral-free … it quenches your thirst well,” Tanner-Blasiar explains. “Juice, on the other hand, doesn’t quench your thirst. The naturally high sugar content can actually make you more thirsty. So drink water first to quench your thirst, and then enjoy a half a cup of juice for the nutrients.”

Did you know that drinks labeled “fruit punch” don’t have to contain any fruit juice at all? John Block/Jupiter Images


So, is fruit juice really part of a juice sleuth’s nutritious diet?

Yes, it can be, as long as you watch your portions and make sure to drink only 100 percent juice. Tanner-Blasiar recommends that you drink no more than 4 ounces of juice a day, though some dietitians say up to 8 ounces is acceptable. Remember that a bottle of juice from the vending machine can be up to 20 ounces-and that’s way too much! Tanner-Blasiar says orange juice, grape juice, and cranberry juice are great choices-in moderation.


Fruit Versus Veggies

Both fruit and vegetable juices can be part of your healthy diet-but they aren’t interchangeable. See how they compare:

John Klein/Current Health (Sources: Marilyn Tanner-Blasiar and the USDA National Nutrient Database)




calorie       cal ·o ·rie



  1. a unit for measuring the amount of energy that a food makes in the body. The more calories something has, the more energy it gives.

Lettuce is low in calories, and doughnuts are high in calories.

Advanced Definition


  1. a unit of heat equal to the amount necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius; gram calorie; small calorie. (abbr.: cal.)
  2. (sometimes cap.) a unit of heat equal to the amount necessary to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius; large calorie; great calorie; kilocalorie. (abbr.: Cal.)
  3. a unit of energy equal to a large calorie, used for measuring energy value of food oxidized in the body, or the amount of food capable of producing such a unit. (abbr.: Cal.)

Vegetables provide fewer calories in general than fruits and high protein foods.

Spanish cognate

caloría: The Spanish word caloría means calorie.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. A calorie is a unit of energy.
  2. Pay attention to calorie counts posted on menus.
  3. For one thing, the calorie count in juice can add up fast.
  4. A calorie is a measure of the amount of energy from food.
  5. A calorie is a measure of the amount of energy a food can provide.
  6. Simply cutting your calorie intake may help you lose weight, but it also slows your metabolism.
  7. Fad diets work by cutting your total calorie intake, but once you stop following them, you are likely to gain your weight right back.


organic       or ·gan ·ic

Advanced Definition


  1. of, affecting, or relating to an organ of a plant or animal.

Epilepsy is an organic disease, but it was misunderstood in past centuries and sometimes seen as a form of demonic possession.

  1. of or pertaining to compounds that contain carbon. (Cf. inorganic.)

Methane is an organic compound.

Water is an organic molecule.

  1. producing or produced naturally, as food, without the use of chemical pesticides, growth enhancers, additives, and the like.

Some of the smaller farms in the area have taken up organic farming.

You can get all kinds of organic produce at the farmers market.

  1. pertaining to or coming from living sources.

Scientists analyzed the material to see if it contained any organic matter.

Oil from the ground is an organic substance, but there is synthetically produced oil as well.

  1. developing in a manner akin to living things.

The professor pointed to the organic growth of the poem.

  1. being an integral or fundamental part of a whole.

The theme of repentance is organic to the novel.

Spanish cognate

orgánico : The Spanish word orgánico means organic.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. Organic compounds contain one or more carbon atoms.
  2. Wash fruits and veggies well before eating them, or buy organic
  3. The cows eat organic grass under the sunshine for most of their lives.
  4. The most interesting organic compounds that Hazen found were simple sugars, amino acids, and lipids.
  5. Robert Hazen’s pressure-bomb experiments created a number oforganic molecules, including simple sugars, amino acids, and lipids – the main building blocks of life.
  6. Other organic molecules like to cling to the surface of certain minerals. Life’s earliest molecules might have been attracted to rocks and minerals on the ocean floor.
  7. After a few hours, he cracked open his back-in-time capsule. Inside he found thousands of newly made compounds, including many organic Organic compounds contain one or more carbon atoms.
  8. “Soup’s on! I try to feed her onlyorganic stuff, so I make all this stuff at home.” Matt spoons some sweet potatoes into Elsie’s mouth and then takes a bite of his own meal.
  9. For now, Hazen is concentrating his efforts here on Earth, trying to work out how young, organic molecules might have found one another in the big, lonely ocean. In other labs across the country, scientists are looking at how those molecules might have joined together and started copying themselves.

Name: ___________________________________ Date: _______________

Comprehension Questions

1. According to the passage, what percentage of a drink must be made of fruit or vegetable juice to be considered juice?
A. 95%
B. 75%
C. 100%
D. 25%
2. According to the passage, which of the following things is NOT found naturally in orange juice?
A. folic acid
B. vitamin C
C. calcium
D. potassium
3. Based on the passage, which of the following drinks would be the healthiest choice?
A. fruit punch with vitamin C
B. fruit ade
C. 100 percent juice
D. fruit cocktail
4. Read this sentence from the passage:
“A drink with anything less than 100 percent juice has been diluted.”
As used in the passage, the word diluted means
A. mixed with 100% juice
B. mixed with water and sugar
C. mixed with vitamins
D. nutritious
5. What was probably the author’s main reason for writing this passage?
A. to talk about the author’s favorite type of juice
B. to explain how organic juice is made
C. to explain how vitamins are added to juice
D. to inform readers how to choose the most nutritious juice
6. What can help keep a child’s immune system strong?
7. Do juices that claim to help boost the immune system work? Why or why not?
8. The question below is an incomplete sentence. Choose the word that best completes the sentence.
________ of quenching your thirst, juice can actually make you thirstier.
A. After
B. However
C. Because
D. Instead
9. Which meal is more nutritious?
10. According to the passage, which is a more nutritious snack – drinking fruit juice or eating fruit? Why?

Copyright © 2009 Weekly Reader Corporation. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Weekly Reader is a registered trademark of Weekly Reader Corporation.

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