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Why can't cranberry juice be simple?

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Old 12-03-2009, 08:42 AM   #1
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Default Why can't cranberry juice be simple?

Since I'm prone to bladder issues I believe that consuming cranberries is beneficial to me. Yet at the same time I know to be wary of other ingredients (and sugar content!) when it comes to juice and would rather not take my cranberries whole or in a pill. I do my best to avoid HFCS, would rather not have the added sugar, can't have aspartame used in "diet" low sugar versions, and can't have apple juice (which I'll explain in a minute). I have picked up pure cranberry juice in the past, but it's extremely tart, very expensive, and can be difficult to find.

After carefully checking labels a while back, I started buying "Ocean Spray no sugar added 100% juice Cranberry." Although it's technically still a lot of sugar, I specifically liked how it was sweetened with grape juice instead of sugar, HFCS, or aspartame. Although I used to drink it avidly, I eventually cut down due to concerns about the amount of sugar I was ingesting. I've mostly used it for my morning smoothies for several months now, having maybe 4 oz. a day. I'd still occasionally drink it by itself as well, sometimes watering it down to make it go further without so many calories.

But when I had some by itself the other day, I noticed it tasted strange and couldn't put my finger on why until I looked over the label. It now contains apple juice in addition to the grape and cranberry. Eesh, when did this happen?

Oddly enough, I can eat apples just fine, but learned to avoid apple juice a while back as it tends to irritate the skin around my lips and messes with my digestive tract. I've been under the weather for about a month now, and am wondering how long I've been drinking apple juice without realizing it. I wonder if it explains the sores I've been getting elsewhere and if it's at least part of the reason behind how crappy I've been feeling lately.

So it looks like I'll be scouring labels until I find something that will work for me, although if my memory serves me correctly I imagine I'll be stuck back with pure cranberry juice. Maybe it won't be so tart if I stick solely with mixing it into my smoothies?

In the meantime I'll be paying attention to see if my body reacts to taking the apple juice back out of my diet. Has anyone else had similar issues?
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:07 AM   #2
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I don't buy juice very often, but I can relate to your post, because I also have to read the labels carefully to make sure what I'm buying is what I want for several reasons (including digestive and allergy issues).

I never drink juice as a full-strength beverage. I always dilute it in some way. My favorite is to mix juice with tea, carbonated water (selzer or sparkling mineral water), or diet lemonade or soda (I don't have a problem with artificial sweeteners, but prefer Splenda to aspartame).


I try to buy the best juice for the money (Personally, I like cranberry blends - like cranberry pomegranate. I also buy some tropical juices from the asian grocery store). Often blends contain apple or pear juice (because they're cheaper and neutral tasting), which I don't mind so long as it's not the first ingredient listed. I hate when a juice is advertised as 100% juice but isn't primarily the juice that's advertised on the label - Pomegranate juice drink - 100% juice - you would hope would be mostly pomegranate juice, but it usually isn't - it's pear or apple).

Reading labels has become second-nature to me. Even brands I always buy, more often than not, I still check the label to make sure it hasn't changed.

Since I've discovered that wheat is a big problem for me, I'm even having to read the labels even in my home (because hubby can and does eat wheat). I try to remember to double check the labels - the other day I almost ate some cereal that hubby had bought. The box identified it as an "oat cereal," but the ingredient lable revealed that it contained wheat flour also.

You almost can't take anything for granted. Companies change formulas and recipes all of the time, so even a brand that is ok today might not be ok tomorrow.
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Old 12-03-2009, 09:44 AM   #3
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Drink the 100% cranberry juice (nothing else added and preferably organic), just drink it really fast! That's the best way to go. I have the same problem and I can drink a glass of cranberry juice in a few large gulps and then rinse it down with some water and go on with my day. Think of it as medicine. It gets much easier after a few glasses and after a while it doesn't taste so bad. Forget the cranberry juice cocktails and go for the good stuff! Your bladder and blood sugar will thank you.

You can also buy the AZO cranberry pills to supplement your juice drinking. It's an OTC pill that contains the cranberry compounds that are beneficial for UT health.

Good luck!
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
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A lot of products change formulations over time, and I agree, it can be frustrating! But I don't think there's anything that can be done about it.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:28 PM   #5
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I agree w/the 100% cranberry juice suggestion. I used to do a 50/50 mix w/diet sprite. Pure cranberry juice is quite an acquired taste (one which I never grew to like). Or, what about finding a good recipe for cranberry jam or sauce? I made fresh cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year and it turned out great. Good luck, I hope you find something you like. It totally sucks when companies change a product when there wasn't anything wrong with it
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:34 PM   #6
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It may or may not be the solution for you, but I do believe they have cranberry supplements too. Higher dose with no/little sugar.
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:11 PM   #7
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I've done the 100% cranberry juice before and it is good mixed in water or even club soda.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:09 PM   #8
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i find cranberry juice to be very harsh. i usually mix it with water or sometimes ill brew a little green tea and mix it in .. its delish =)
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Old 12-07-2009, 03:26 PM   #9
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If you don't like the taste of pure cranberry juice, the supplements might be the best way to go. Another option is blending the pure cranberry juice with a little juice of another type (like grape) - it'll taste different, but may take the tart edge off.
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Old 12-21-2009, 05:53 PM   #10
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what about dried cranberries...do they have a lot of sugar too....I think it would be less...right?
I usually drink orange juice with a splash of cranberry juice to hide the orange taste (not a big fan of OJ) or mimossas..hahaha
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:03 PM   #11
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Dried cranberries usually have as much or more sugar than a comparable serving (calorie-wise) of juice.

You can buy unsweetened dried cranberries, but they're hard to find and expensive (and I've never seen them sweetened with nonsugar sweeteners). At least with the juice (if you can tolerate artificial sweeteners) there are Light versions.

I prefer to buy unsweetened cranberry juice (when I can find it) and add my own sweetener if I choose.

For us, dried unsweetened cranberries are just too expensive, and sweetened they're too much like candy.
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:57 AM   #12
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The AZO Cranberry is a decent product.

I would caution against using the AZO products with phenazopyridine regularly (note the cranberry product does -not- have this in it). They act as an analgesic and can mask a current UTI.

Sorry to go on a pharmacist tirade, we've just had a few patients come through with severe kidney infections (one with permanent kidney damage) because they'd been taking products like AZO for so long and didn't realize how bad the infection had gotten.

People don't read product labels with instructions and it makes me sad.

I love unsweetened cranberry juice. Tart is apparently my thing ;>
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:50 AM   #13
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That's interesting, I've tried to use phenazopyridine in the past, and it never really helped with the pain. I guess it's more effective for some than others.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
Dried cranberries usually have as much or more sugar than a comparable serving (calorie-wise) of juice.

You can buy unsweetened dried cranberries, but they're hard to find and expensive (and I've never seen them sweetened with nonsugar sweeteners). At least with the juice (if you can tolerate artificial sweeteners) there are Light versions.

I prefer to buy unsweetened cranberry juice (when I can find it) and add my own sweetener if I choose.

For us, dried unsweetened cranberries are just too expensive, and sweetened they're too much like candy.
I can find fruit sweetened cranberries (sweetened with juice) at Whole Foods and the local Co-op. You'd have to ask what kind of juice they use, but I don't find them too much more then the sugar sweetened variety. I find them in the bulk section.

In regards to the OP, I'd buy the 100% cranberry juice and dilute it with either sparkling water or another fruit juice. If you are putting it in smoothies, you could even use a tiny bit of honey to off set the tartness. If that works with your plan, that is.
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Old 02-07-2010, 08:10 AM   #15
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I cured my uti by juicing cranberries and apples together. Tasted great, and did the trick perfectly.
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