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Would you pay extra for 'juiced up' OJ?

September 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
As any parent can tell you, getting kids off to school in the morning is no easy feat. Getting them off to school with a healthy breakfast is even harder. But orange juice makers are now offering up products that are "juiced up" with extras like antioxidants, calcium and vitamins. Are they worth it? Food Coach Lori Corbin teamed up with Consumer Reports, to find out.Picking out an orange juice used to be so simple. Now supermarket shelves are stocked full of choices. How do you choose?

To help you choose, Consumer Reports pitted Tropicana Original Pure Premium against other types of Tropicana with extras: Calcium plus Vitamin D, Antioxidant Advantage, Healthy Kids and Healthy Heart with Omega-3s.

All were pulp free. All give you the same amount of calories, sugars, potassium and at least 100 percent of your daily vitamin C per serving.

"We found all the juices tasted pretty much the same," said Erin Gudeux from Consumer Reports.

Most varieties of Tropicana juices cost about the same too. But do the extras make the juices any healthier?

The ones with calcium have as much as a glass of skim milk, and as much vitamin D. But what about the rest of the extras?

"Well, as far as the added vitamins, you're probably better off getting those from the foods you eat than from a fortified product," said Gudeux.

Consumer Reports also took a look at Trop 50 with 50 percent less sugar.

"Well, the testers said that it had a thinner consistency and a less intense orange juice flavor. And it also costs more," said Gudeux.

But if you want to cut calories and sugar just add seltzer or water to your regular orange juice and save your money.