Drazil – which is lizard spelled backwards – is a young company trying to differentiate itself in a very competitive beverage market. It sells iced tea targeted at kids: unlike other brands, Drazil does not use sugar as a sweetener. Instead, natural fruit juice is employed.
This is the ingredient list for Punch Passion flavor:
Naturally Caffeine-Free, Brewed Organic Herbal Tea (Filtered Water Infused with Rose Hips, Rooibos, Hibiscus, Poemgranate Bits, Strawberry Pieces), White Grape Juice, Apple Juice, Passion Fruit Juice (Filtered Water, Juice Concentrates), Natural Flavors, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C).
We’ll make it short and snappy for you: Water, fruit juice, bits of herbals, and “natural flavor”. Basically we’ve got a watered down fruit juice here.
A serving of Drazil is 6.75 fl oz (less than a standard 8 fl oz cup) and has 50 calories. The sugars content is 14 grams – equivalent to 3 and a half teaspoons.
It’s true that the sugars in this drink do not originate in sugar-cane or beets, but for all practical purposes, the sugars from apple juice or grape juice are not any healthier.
There is a false aura of health that fruit juices exude. Unlike a whole fruit, that comes with fiber and many antioxidants, the juice is almost nutrient-void. In addition, eating a real fruit takes effort and time – chewing and swallowing. This automatically limits calorie intake. When it comes to juice, juice drinks, and kiddie teas – basically any liquid – the calorie toll quickly adds up.
Sure, this beverage can be an occasional treat for kids. But don’t sell it to parents as a healthy drink.
We’ll take this opportunity to remind parents – start your toddlers off with water and keep them away from juice and soda for as long as possible. It’s almost impossible to convert a 10-year old used to 2-3 cups of sweetened drinks per day into drinking plain water.
(H/T to Marion Nestle)