Is V8 good for you? What to know
Any 100 percent vegetable juice counts toward a person's daily recommended vegetable intake.
However, due to the importance of fiber, many nutritionists recommend eating whole vegetables and fruits. V8 may also contribute to a person's salt intake.
With these guidelines in mind, how healthful is V8?
Possible health benefits
Original V8 is about 90 percent tomato puree.
Image credit: James (wikicommons), 2008
The makers of V8 claim that it is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. Additionally, it contains no artificial colors or flavors, and no preservatives.
About 90 percent of "original" V8 juice is tomato puree. The product also contains:
- carrot juice
- celery juice
- beet juice
- parsley juice
- lettuce juice
- watercress juice
- spinach juice
- citric acid
- natural flavors
Also, V8 contains the following nutrients per 100 milliliters:
Below is more information about the purported health benefits of V8.
According to the Campbell's website, 8 ounces (oz) of original V8 can supply 40 percent of a person's daily vitamin A requirement.
An 8-oz glass of V8 provides 1,999 international units (IU) of vitamin A. Although the juice is a good source of the vitamin, many whole foods are better.
For example, half a cup of carrots provides 9,189 IU, or 184 percent of a person's daily vitamin A requirement.
Other foods rich in vitamin A include:
- sweet potatoes
An 8-oz glass of V8 has 150 percent of a person's daily vitamin C requirement, according to Campbell's website.
However, all juices go through a pasteurization process, which involves heat. This heat treatment destroys some of the vitamin C.
The following whole foods are good sources of vitamin C:
- red peppers
- oranges and orange juice
- cooked broccoli
Servings of vegetables
Experts recommend that adult men eat 3 cups and adult women eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day.
Technically, there are 2 servings of vegetables in 8 oz of original V8.
However, while a juice can be a good source of vitamins, it does not provide much dietary fiber.
The juicing process gets rid of most of the fiber as pulp. This is why it is more healthful to eat whole foods, rather than juices.
Fiber is integral for:
- feeling fuller for longer
- managing blood glucose
- lowering cholesterol
- preventing constipation and diverticulitis, which involves inflammation of the large intestine
Less sugar than orange juice
The V8 manufacturers state that original V8 contains only one-third of the sugar in orange juice.
They report that 8 oz of V8 has 6 grams (g) of sugar, while the same amount of orange juice contains 22 g of sugar.
Vegetables contain less sugar than fruits. However, the sugar contents of juices vary greatly, depending on the manufacturer, so it is essential to read nutrition labels.
Things to consider
While a moderate amount of V8 can be a healthful addition to a varied, nutritious diet, a person should keep in mind the following drawbacks:
Lack of fiber
There is less fiber in juice than in whole fruits and vegetables.
Fiber helps control a person's blood sugar, preventing it from spiking too quickly. This leads to slow and steady sugar absorption. Juices may not contain enough fiber to support this process.
Though V8 has less sugar than some fruit juices, it can still cause blood sugar levels to spike.
The amount of salt, or sodium, in processed foods is much higher than in any naturally salty food.
With 640 mg of salt in every 8 oz of V8, it is best to drink it in moderation.
Juicing at home
Making juices and smoothies at home is a cheaper option.
Juices can contribute many healthful nutrients to a balanced diet.
It is often cheaper to make juices and smoothies at home. These also tend to be more nutritious than store-bought varieties.
To make a vegetable juice, blend the following ingredients or put them in a juicer:
- 1 cup of romaine lettuce
- 2 large tomatoes
- 1 bell pepper of any color
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ cup of parsley
- 1 jalapeño chili (optional)
Blending the whole vegetable keeps all the fiber content.
If a person prefers a smoothie, they can add a piece of fruit, such as a banana, for extra sweetness, as well as a whole grain, such as oats, for extra fiber.
Try blending the following ingredients for a green breakfast smoothie:
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of spinach
- ½ cup of zucchini
- ½ cup of parsley
- ¼ cup of rolled oats
- ½ cup of low-fat milk or milk alternative
While V8 juice can be a healthful addition to a balanced diet, it is best to drink it in moderation.
It is generally cheaper to make juices and smoothies at home than to buy them in stores. Homemade varieties also tend to be more nutritious.
Juices do not contain as much fiber as whole foods, so it is best to eat whole, fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.