Is Capri Sun Healthy? 11 Things You Should Know

Is Capri Sun a healthy beverage option?

No, Capri Sun is not a healthy beverage option. It is high in sugar and lacks nutritional value.

Continue reading to find out more and check your knowledge!

Ingredients to be cautious about

  • Sugar
  • Citric acid

Possible short-term side effects

  • Spike in blood sugar

Possible long-term side effects

  • Cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Weight gain

Benefits

  • No artificial preservatives
  • No artificial sweeteners

Healthy alternatives

  • Real fruit juice
  • Water

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Is Capri Sun a healthy beverage option?

Does Capri Sun contain artificial sweeteners?

Does Capri Sun contain artificial preservatives?

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My mom didn’t let me drink Capri Sun as a kid. At the time, Capri Sun was sweetened with high fructose corn syrup, and it seemed just as bad as any soda. Today, it has been reformulated to be a bit healthier. But is Capri Sun still bad for you?

Capri Sun is not as bad as soda or Kool-Aid, as it is much lower in sugar. It is also free of artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and controversial preservatives. However, most Capri Sun products still have empty calories from added sugar, so they are not as healthy as drinking water.

Below, I’ll cover whether Capri Sun is fattening, how it compares to soda and Kool-Aid (in detail), and much more. I’ll also cover the reason behind the recent recall of Capri Sun Wild Cherry drinks.

Is Capri Sun Bad for You?

Here are the 11 specific questions I’ll be answering about Capri Sun nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or just keep scrolling to read them all:

  1. What Is Capri Sun Made Of?
  2. How Much Sugar Is in Capri Sun?
  3. Does Capri Sun Count as Water Intake?
  4. Does Capri Sun Have Caffeine?
  5. Is Capri Sun High in Sodium?
  6. Does Capri Sun Make You Gain Weight?
  7. Is Capri Sun Healthier Than Soda?
  8. Is Capri Sun Healthier Than Kool-Aid?
  9. Is It Bad to Drink Capri Sun Every Day?
  10. Why Was Capri Sun Recalled?
  11. Is Capri Sun Vegan?

1. What Is Capri Sun Made Of?

Let’s start by looking at some actual Capri Sun ingredients. There are many Capri Sun products and flavors. We’ll look at their 3 main product lines at the time of this publication.

I’ll share my takeaway points below the table:

Capri Sun DrinkIngredients
Capri Sun Juice Drink (Wild Cherry)Filtered Water, Sugar, Pear And Cherry Juice Concentrates, Monk Fruit Concentrate, Citric Acid, Grape And Apple Juice Concentrates, Natural Flavor, Mushroom Extract (To Protect Quality).
Capri Sun 100% Juice (Fruit Punch)Apple, Grape And Cherry Juices From Concentrate (Filtered Water, Apple, Grape And Cherry Juice Concentrates), Citric Acid (For Tartness), Natural Flavor, Mushroom Extract (To Protect Quality).
Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters (Fruit Punch Wave)Filtered Water, Sugar, Citric Acid, Stevia Leaf Extract, Natural Flavor.
Capri Sun Ingredients.

Here are my takeaway points on these ingredients:

  • Capri Sun is free of artificial sweeteners. Most artificial sweeteners have some possible connections to health risks. With Capri Sun, you don’t have to worry about those.
  • Capri Sun is free of artificial colors. Many “juice” drinks have artificial colors. Since such dyes seem to cause behavioral issues for some children, I’d consider it positive that Capri Sun doesn’t have any.
  • Capri Sun uses mushroom extract as a preservative. Many preservatives like sodium benzoate, BHA, and potassium sorbate are controversial for potential links to cancer or other issues. But Capri Sun uses a natural preservative from mushrooms instead.
  • Most Capri Sun products have added sugar. This doesn’t apply to the “100% Juice” product line. But the “Juice Drink” and “Roarin’ Waters” products have added sugar. How much sugar? We’ll cover that below.
  • Most Capri Sun products have real fruit juice (from concentrate). Most people would like to know they’re drinking real fruit juice rather than just flavored sugar water. Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters don’t have real fruit, but the other drinks do.
  • Some Capri Sun products have natural zero-calorie sweeteners. Starting in 2022, the “Fruit Drink” is partially sweetened with monk fruit. Similar, the Roarin’ Waters product line has stevia. These natural zero-calorie sweeteners seem better than sugar or artificial sweeteners, but they may not be totally harmless.

Surprisingly, Capri Sun’s ingredients are not that bad. Compared to Kool-Aid or most sodas, Capri Sun’s ingredients look much “cleaner.”

That said, many people will still be concerned about the sugar in Capri Sun. So let’s take a closer look at that next.

2. How Much Sugar Is in Capri Sun?

Capri Sun Fruit Drink and Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters are relatively low in sugar, with less than half of the sugar of Kool-Aid Jammers. Capri Sun 100% Fruit is significantly higher in total sugar—20g per pouch—but it is all natural fruit sugar.

The American Heart Association recommends a limit of 25g of sugar per day for women and 36g per day for men. To reach the women’s daily limit, it would take ~5 pouches of Capri Sun Fruit Drink or ~3.3 pouches of Roarin’ Waters.

Keep in mind: No added sugar is needed for human health. Really, the healthiest diet would likely just have natural sugar from whole foods. So in a sense, any “added sugar” is already a negative.

Here’s a table showing how the sugar content of Capri Sun compares to other sugary drinks:

DrinkTotal Sugar (in 12 fl oz)
V8 Tomato Juice10g
Capri Sun Fruit Drink10g
Capri Sun Roarin’ Waters15g
Vitamin Water15g
Gatorade20g
Sunny D21g
Kool-Aid Jammers32g
Simply Orange Juice34g
Sprite38g
Dr Pepper39g
Coca-Cola39g
Capri Sun 100% Juice40g
Monster Energy40g
Barq’s Root Beer45g
Mountain Dew46g
Welch’s Grape Juice52g
Sugar content of popular drinks.

As you can see, Capri Sun Fruit Drinks and Roarin’ Waters are actually pretty low in sugar compared to sodas and 100% juice. This is because they are partially sweetened with natural zero-calorie sweeteners, monk fruit or stevia.

3. Does Capri Sun Count as Water Intake?

Capri Sun is mostly water by volume, so for many purposes, it would count as water intake. Capri Sun can aid in hydration. However, Capri Sun also contains sugar and other ingredients that are not healthy when consumed in excess, so it should not be your only beverage.

It should also be noted that Capri Sun doesn’t really have electrolytes. The Capri Sun products I checked only had about 15mg to 25mg of sodium per pouch. Gatorade has more than twice as much sodium. So Capri Sun is not a sports drink, and it’s not specifically formulated to assist in rehydration.

That said, for many purposes, yes, when you drink Capri Sun, you are consuming water along with the other ingredients. So Capri Sun does generally count toward your total water/fluid intake.

4. Does Capri Sun Have Caffeine?

Capri Sun does not have caffeine. It is not an energy drink. It is not advertised as providing caffeine, and none of the ingredients have caffeine naturally. Capri Sun should not keep you awake.

Caffeine is an interesting ingredient because it has documented health benefits, but it can also be bad in many cases. Studies show it may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s… But it’s habit forming, and too much can disrupt sleep.

In any case, Capri Sun is caffeine free!

5. Is Capri Sun High in Sodium?

All the Capri Sun products I checked are very low in sodium, with between 15mg and 25mg per serving. Each pouch of Capri Sun only has about 1% of the daily recommended limit of 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Even with the American Heart Association’s lower “ideal limit” of 1,500 mg of sodium per day, one Capri Sun pouch still gives you less than 2% of your daily sodium intake. You’d have to drink over 50 Capri Sun pouches to reach that limit. So, Capri Sun is pretty low in sodium!

6. Does Capri Sun Make You Gain Weight?

Capri Sun is a source of liquid calories that are not very filling, so it could contribute to weight gain. However, changes in bodyweight depend on overall calorie balance. Drinking Capri Sun in moderation will not automatically cause weight gain.

Many people misunderstand what actually causes fat gain. It isn’t generally caused by eating a specific unhealthy food. Fat gain is a result of consuming more calories than you burn overall. The overall quantity of calories is what’s important.

For example, it’s possible to gain fat from healthy foods—if you eat large portions and don’t exercise. In the same way, it’s been proven that you can lose weight by eating McDonald’s, if you eat a small amount.

So, there’s a sense in which no specific food is “fattening.” Only overall diets can be fattening… However, there’s another sense in which Capri Sun could lead to weight gain: It simply has a decent amount of empty calories, which don’t really fill you up.

That is, when you drink Capri Sun, you’re getting calories without much satiation. And that can lead you to drinking more calories than you need. And in turn, that can cause weight gain.

So, yes, there is a sense in which Capri Sun could cause weight gain. But the actual key is your overall diet and calorie balance. One specific food doesn’t necessarily make or break your diet.

If your goal is weight loss, I would consider (A) tracking your calories, or (B) following some of these 18 tips for weight loss without counting calories. Whether you drink Capri Sun will not make or break your weight-loss journey by itself.

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7. Is Capri Sun Healthier Than Soda?

Let’s compare Capri Sun with the most popular soda in the world, Coca-Cola. First, let’s look at some basic nutrition facts:

DrinkCaloriesTotal SugarsSodium
Capri Sun Juice Drink (8 fl oz)477g20mg
Coca-Cola (8 fl oz)9326g30mg
Capri Sun vs Coke (per 8 fl oz)

In each 8 oz serving, Coca-Cola is much higher in sugar and calories. Coke is also slightly higher in sodium. So in terms of the nutrition facts, Capri Sun looks healthier than Coke.

Next, let’s compare the ingredients of Capri Sun and Coke. Unfortunately, Coca-Cola has caramel color and sodium benzoate, which have been linked to potential carcinogens, and phosphoric acid, which may lead to osteoporosis and tooth decay.

On the other hand, Capri Sun’s ingredients are relatively clean: No artificial colors, no artificial sweeteners, no controversial preservatives. The only really “bad” ingredient in Capri Sun is the sugar.

Now, if you want to be strict about it, Capri Sun still has empty calories from sugar—so, neither drink is totally healthy. That said, Capri Sun strikes me as significantly healthier compared to Coke.

8. Is Capri Sun Healthier Than Kool-Aid?

Now let’s look at Capri Sun vs Kool-Aid. We’re comparing the pouches, so Kool-Aid Jammers and Capri Sun, actually:

DrinkCaloriesTotal SugarsSodium
Kool-Aid Jammers (1 pouch)7016g30mg
Capri Sun Juice Drink (1 pouch)355g15mg
Kool-Aid vs Capri Sun (per 6 fl oz)

Here you can see, Capri Sun is lower in calories, sugar, and sodium. So Capri Sun looks like the winner in this regard—but what about when looking at the ingredients?

Honestly, Capri Sun ingredients look better than Kool-Aid, too. Capri Sun has sugar, but aside from that, it’s mostly just juice concentrates, natural flavors, and mushroom extract. But no artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or questionable preservatives like found in many Kool-Aid products.

Meanwhile, Kool-Aid Jammers have sucralose and artificial colors along with the high fructose corn syrup.

So, it seems that Capri Sun is a bit healthier than Kool-Aid. However, keep in mind: There are many product lines by Kool-Aid and Capri Sun. The comparison may look different depending on the specific products you compare.

9. Is It Bad to Drink Capri Sun Every Day?

It may not be the best to drink Capri Sun every day, as most Capri Sun products have empty calories from added sugar. Even if you drink Capri Sun 100% Juice without added sugar, the liquid calories could spike blood-sugar levels and lead to weight gain.

Especially if Capri Sun contributes to a high-sugar diet, it is not healthy. High-sugar diets lead to increased risk of obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, and more health problems.

That said, one pouch of Capri Sun only has about 5g to 8g of added sugar. So if you’re only drinking one pouch per day, along with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle, you will probably be just fine.

10. Why Was Capri Sun Recalled?

In August 2022, about 5,760 cases of Capri Sun Wild Cherry Flavored Juice Drink were recalled. A cleaning solution was suspected to have accidentally gotten into the product, and several consumers complained about the taste.

The “by used by” date on the affected products was July 25, 2023. Only the Wild Cherry flavor was affected. You can read more details here.

11. Is Capri Sun Vegan?

Capri Sun is generally considered vegan. It has no milk, egg, meat, honey, or other animal ingredients.

However, most Capri Sun products are mostly likely made with sugar that was filtered with animal bone char. Therefore, some of the most strict vegans would avoid it.

If you want 100% vegan Capri Sun, you can choose Capri Sun 100% Juice. It doesn’t have added sugar, so you don’t need to worry about bone char.

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