Everybody knows fruits and veggies are healthy. But we can get in trouble if we assume that means everything made from them are healthy. Vegetable oil, for example, is much less healthy than whole veggies… So, what about a fruit-based drink like Jumex?
Jumex nectars are not very healthy. They have around 36 to 41 grams of sugar per can (11.3 fl oz or 335 mL), most of which is from refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Although Jumex is about 21% real juice, it does not have any significant amount of vitamin C.
Below, I’ll analyze three popular flavors of Jumex nectars. I’ll compare their sugar content to other drinks like Pepsi, Red Bull, and grape juice. I’ll also cover whether Jumex is safe to drink at all, since there were past news stories about lead contamination.
Is Jumex Good for You?
Here are the eight specific questions I’ll be answering on Jumex nutrition. Click any of them to skip ahead to that section—or keep scrolling to read them all:
- What Is Jumex Nectar Made Of?
- How Much Sugar Does Jumex Have?
- Is Jumex Contaminated With Lead?
- Is Jumex Good For Weight Loss?
- Does Jumex Have Vitamin C?
- Does Jumex Have Caffeine?
- Does Jumex Have Alcohol?
- Is Jumex Vegan?
1. What Is Jumex Nectar Made Of?
Let’s start by looking at some ingredients for some popular Jumex nectars. In this case, it seems that “Nectar” is not just a fancy marketing term for “juice.” These Jumex drinks do contain other ingredients, too:
|Strawberry and Banana Nectar||Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Strawberry Puree from Concentrate, Banana Puree from Concentrate, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Sodium Carboxymethylcellulose, Ascorbic Acid (Preservative), Sucralose, Carmine Color.|
|Mango Nectar||Water, Mango Puree from Concentrate, Sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Erythorbic Acid (Preservative), Beta Carotene (Color) and Sucralose.|
|Peach Nectar||Water, Peach Puree from Concentrate, Sugar and/or High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Beta Carotene (Color) and Sucralose.|
Here’s what I notice about these ingredients:
- Jumex nectars do contain real fruit juice. Jumex nectar is about 21% fruit juice (depending on the flavor). Fruit juice “from concentrate” is just as healthy as any other fruit juice. It has all the vitamins and minerals of real fruit. Unfortunately, Jumex adds other ingredients that aren’t so good…
- Jumex nectars have added sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). These refined sweeteners add empty calories and more high-glycemic carbs. The Strawberry and Banana Flavor has high fructose corn syrup as its main ingredient after water. We’ll cover more on sugar and HFCS below.
- Jumex nectars contain sucralose. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is controversial for its potential long-term health impact. Sucralose may increase insulin resistance through multiple mechanisms. It also seems to be a migraine trigger for some people.
- Jumex Strawberry and Banana Nectar contains carmine. This is not a health concern, but carmine is a natural red food coloring made from crushed beetles. So I wanted to mention this for my fellow vegans (or anyone who’s grossed out by beetle ingredients)!
Overall, Jumex ingredients look more like soda than pure fruit juice. The added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is probably the worst aspect. HFCS is especially considered unhealthy.
But how much does the sugar and HFCS really add up to? Let’s check the sugar content of Jumex next.
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2. How Much Sugar Does Jumex Have?
Jumex nectars have about 36 to 41 grams of sugar per can (11.3 fl oz). This is about the same sugar content as Pepsi or Red Bull. The sugar in Jumex nectars are typically a mix of real fruit sugar, refined sugar, and high fructose corn syrup.
Again, let’s look at three of the most popular Jumex nectar flavors. Here is the total sugar content for each:
|Jumex Flavor||Total Sugar in a 11.3 oz Can (335 mL)|
|Strawberry and Banana Nectar||39g|
Now, how do these numbers compare to other juices and soft drinks? Let’s look at how much sugar is found in 11.3 fl oz of some other drinks, for comparison:
- Jumex nectars have more sugar than Tropicana Pure Red Grapefruit Juice (24g).
- Jumex nectars have more sugar than Simply Orange Juice (32g).
- Jumex nectars have about the same sugar as Red Bull (36g)
- Jumex nectars have about the same sugar as Dole Orange Peach Mango Juice (38g).
- Jumex nectars have about the same sugar as Pepsi (39g).
- Jumex nectars have less sugar than Mountain Dew (43g).
- Jumex nectars have less sugar than Welch’s 100% Grape Juice (49g).
But how much of the sugar in Jumex nectars is from real fruit?
One nutrition label I found for the Strawberry and Banana Nectar flavor lists 29g of Added Sugar. That leaves 10g of sugar from real fruit. That would mean ~25% of the sugar is from real fruit—the rest is from refined sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
Keep in mind: All sugary drinks can potentially spike your blood sugar—even if it’s real fruit sugar. Fruit juice typically has the sugar of multiple fruits, without the fiber. This means you get more sugar than when eating whole fruits, and it’s digested more quickly.
Personally, I mostly avoid all these sugary drinks. All sugar seems to worsen my acne, so I don’t drink fruit juice or soda much anymore. I just have small servings of whole fruits, focusing on low-sugar fruits like berries, pears, or grapefruit.
If you’re going to drink Jumex nectars or other juices, I would recommend limiting your portions per day. You could also try diluting them with water—try half Jumex, half water.
3. Is Jumex Contaminated With Lead?
There was a big news story in 1992 about lead contamination in Jumex products. Here’s how it all happened:
“The condition of a child in San Diego, Calif., who developed lead poisoning after drinking several cans of Jumex juice a day over a period of time prompted the recall. FDA and the California Department of Health Services analyzed cans taken from the child’s home and from several California stores and found many with potentially harmful lead levels.” (source)
Many varieties of Jumex nectars were recalled at the time, along with their pineapple juice. The suspected problem was that the company was still using lead solder to seal the sides of the cans. (source)
Thankfully, Jumex had already switched to welded seals on their cans (no longer using lead). The new Jumex cans were tested and found to be acceptable, so only the old cans were recalled. (source)
Since Jumex switched to welding their cans in the early 1990s, there is no specific reason to be concerned about lead contamination with Jumex today. Jumex should be safe to drink.
That said, a shocking 2019 report found that many popular juice products sold in the USA have elevated levels of arsenic, cadmium, or lead. Out of 45 products tested, nearly half had elevated levels of these heavy metals.
Unfortunately, Jumex was not included in the study. But the study shows that even in recent years, fruit juice may often be problematic when it comes to heavy metals.
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4. Is Jumex Good For Weight Loss?
Jumex nectars are not ideal for weight loss, as they have around 150 to 170 calories per can (11.3 fl oz). This is a substantial amount of liquid calories, which do not fill you up much. The ideal beverage for weight loss is water.
Even 100% fruit juice is not the ideal beverage for weight loss. Despite the fact that whole fruit is generally good for weight loss, fruit juice can still be a problem. Why is that?
Well, fruit juice is a much more concentrated source of sugar than whole fruit. Whole fruit has fiber that helps fill you up, as well as slow down the absorption of the sugar into your blood.
Whole fruit is also naturally slower to eat. Think of how long it takes to eat an orange. You have to peel it, then chew each slice. That naturally limits how much sugar and calories you’ll get from it. You’ll probably just eat one orange—around 12 grams of sugar.
But when you drink orange juice, you can drink a whole glass—or multiple glasses—very quickly. You can get 30+ grams of sugar very quickly.
Because of the lack of fiber in juice, the sugar is also absorbed more quickly into your bloodstream. These blood sugar spikes can cause various issues, none of which are great.
In general, liquid calories are not good for weight loss. That’s because most liquids will simply not fill you up as much as whole foods.
With fruit juice—and with Jumex nectars, too—you’re consuming calories, but they’re not filling you up very much. This means it’s more likely that you’ll end up in a calorie surplus, and you’ll gain weight.
One of the simplest tricks for weight loss is to just avoid liquid calories. Just drink water for most of your beverages. (Sparkling water also counts.) Then you’ll only get calories from whole foods that fill you up more.
Of course, you can try diet beverages with zero-calories sweeteners, too. But some research shows artificial sweeteners like sucralose result in less weight loss than expected based on calories. So, water is likely a better choice.
But I always give this caveat when it comes to weight loss: You can drink and eat just about anything and still lose weight. What matters most is your overall calorie balance. One bite (or one sip) of high-calorie food will not ruin everything! So, you can still lose weight while drinking Jumex.
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5. Does Jumex Have Vitamin C?
Jumex nectars appear to have no significant vitamin C content. All the flavors I checked showed “0% Daily Value” for vitamin C on the nutrition label.
This was quite interesting, as Jumex nectars do contain real fruit juice (from concentrate). So you’d think there would be some natural vitamin C present. But apparently not!
This makes Jumex even less of healthy choice compared to “100% juice” beverages, which often have added vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
6. Does Jumex Have Caffeine?
Jumex products do not appear to contain any caffeine. None of the Jumex ingredients lists I checked had “caffeine” or any other food ingredient known to naturally contain caffeine.
Jumex is not an energy drink. The sugar may give you a temporary rush of energy, but it does not contain caffeine.
7. Does Jumex Have Alcohol?
Jumex nectars are non-alcoholic beverages. However, they may be mixed with alcohol at events. In fact, here are 10 recipes showing how can you use Mango Nectar for alcoholic drinks.
8. Is Jumex Vegan?
Most Jumex products are vegan. However, Jumex Strawberry and Banana Nectar contains carmine color, which is a red dye made from crushed beetles. Therefore, this Jumex flavor is not strictly vegan.
Another side note: Some vegans may be opposed to the sugar in Jumex nectars, too. This is because a lot of sugar these days is refined using animal bone char. It helps to make the sugar more white.
However, most vegans don’t worry about this bone char issue. That’s because it’s usually impossible to know from a food label how the sugar was processed. And also, it’s kind of a minor issue in the scheme of things.
Many vegans just try to avoid the main animal ingredients like meat, dairy, and eggs. Personally, I think that is practical and sensible. That said, some vegans may avoid Jumex nectars due to the sugar.
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