V8 vs whole veggies...are they really the same?

October 6, 2019

My good friend Joe Cannon recently wrote a great blog all about the health benefits of Campbell Soup Company's Low Sodium V8 Vegetable Juice (which, believe it or not, has been on the market for almost 100 years now!) Joe pointed out that in this world of over-hyped superfood juices perhaps V8 isn’t getting the attention it possibly deserves.

Now Joe's not only a friend mind you, he's also one of the best nutrition, sports, and physiology instructors I've ever encountered (and you can click here for more info on Joe and all the AMAZING People I Like) so whatever he has to say I generally pay attention to…his blog, therefore, really got me thinking. And since most of you know just one of the things I'm Certified to teach is whole-food nutrition I'm sure you can guess the question of the day: is drinking V8 juice really the same as eating whole veggies?

So let's take a closer look, shall we?

As Joe pointed out, like all the whole veggies in Low Sodium V8 (which are tomatoes, carrots, beets, celery, lettuce, parsley, spinach and watercress), this perennially popular drink is also:

  • Pretty high in vitamin A
  • Really high in Vitamin C
  • Somewhat high in potassium
  • Pretty darn low in sodium (and calories too!)

Plus it can lower blood pressure, improves the bacterial "flora and fauna" of the digestive tract, and the veggies in V8 are all American grown and non-GMO. Even more relevant to today's busy lifestyle, however, it's also inexpensive, very portable, and can be a neat & tidy addition to anybody's lunchbox.

Now I imagine you're all thinking "But that's all good, right?"

My short answer is "YES!" so I'm sure none of you will be surprised to hear that for all of the reasons listed above, the USDA considers a 1/2 cup of Low Sodium V8 equivalent to a single serving of veggies.

But before you all hop in the car and head straight for your local BJ's to buy a case or two, however, let's take a closer look (because from my perspective equating V8 to whole veggies may be a bit shortsighted.)

Here are a number of reasons why I simply don't agree that V8 to whole veggies is a simple apples-to-apples comparison (sorry I couldn't resist.)

  1. Low Sodium V8 is extremely low in fiber. At just 1 gram per serving there's really no way you can equate this juice to whole veggies. And why does that matter? For LOTS of reasons, actually! But probably the most important reason is because one of the best ways to keep your microbiome healthy is to eat lots of fiber. (And that’s a fancy way of saying keep your gut healthy and the rest of your body will simply come along for the ride…remember your digestive tract is the last barrier between what you eat and the rest of your body.)
  2. Even though it's pretty low in sodium, V8 is still WAAAAY higher in sodium than almost all veggies, but especially the veggies V8 is made from. So what's the big deal about that? Because in many ways salt really is the new sugar…have you ever noticed the more you eat salt the more you want? (Especially when mixed with sugary ingredients or ingredients that just turn to glucose quickly in your system…think "salted caramel" anything or potato chips, etc.) Plus salt dehydrates you…almost everybody's body is composed of at least 70% water which means water is the most important catalyst in millions of physiological responses throughout the day. Being even 1% dehydrated, therefore, will cause major disruption in the way the body makes, moves, or utilizes all kinds of resources and waste products.
  3. When it comes to veggies and fruits most of the nutritional values lies close to or actually in the skin and juicing, by definition, is a skin-discarding process. A single tomato, for instance has at least 25 large doses of vitamins and minerals but most likely almost innumerable vitamin and mineral co-factors as well (Mother Nature is SOOOOO intelligent…most whole veggies have microdoses of LOTS of vitamins and minerals built in to aid the absorption of the big doses...a single apple, for instance, contains over 10,000 total vitamins and minerals!) A single serving of V8 juice, on the other hand, only has 6 large doses of vitamins and minerals. Sure a bunch of co-factors are probably built in as well but let me just point out again we’re talking about 25 big vitamins and minerals versus 6…'nuff said, right? (And remember I was comparing V8 to just a single tomato…imagine how many vitamins and minerals you’re missing out on when drinking V8 instead of eating a few servings of whole tomatoes, carrots, beets, celery, lettuce, parsley, spinach and watercress!)
  4. And then there's what happens in your body when drinking certain types of juice. In his New York Times bestseller Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? Dr. Mark Hyman talks about how the brain and body experiences fruit juices versus juices made from veggies which behave almost exactly the same way in your body as fruit juices (carrots and beets – two of V8's ingredients – are a good example.) “When you drink fruit, it doesn’t create the sensation of fullness you get when eating it…because whole fruits contain fiber" (and remember we already decided V8's lack of fiber was a problem for other reasons…this is strike two!) "Also" Dr. Hyman continues "your brain doesn’t recognize [liquid] calories the same way it does those you eat" so you simply can't stay as satisfied as long when drinking juice than when eating whole veggies. And finally he concludes "the sweeter vegetables like carrots and beets…have the same effect on your body as fruit" which, of course, is why they're added to V8 in the first place (Americans LOVE sugar, folks…DUH!)

Sure, if someone is simply unwilling to eat their 9-13 servings of fresh whole produce every day (the amount EVERY major world health organization – including THE World Health Organization – recommends we consume EVERY DAY just to MAINTAIN our health) then V8 is certainly better than nothing. But I’m guessing you can all now easily see why I simply don't think a glass of V8 is exactly the same thing as eating whole veggies!

So let's say you're not a big fan of veggies but you'd like to try eating more of them and you simply don't know how to begin?

Then I have good news for you: my last Detox deliciously with SMOOTHIES workshop of the year is only a couple weeks away!

And not only is this good news in the great-way-to-really-enjoy-eating-a-lot-more-veggies department, drinking smoothies on a regular basis is a GREAT way to launch an advance strike on the holidays (which WREAK HAVOC on most people's healthy habits…lots of folks begin eating a little junk here and there at Halloween but by the time New Year's rolls around all hell has broken loose!) Frankly I think Smoothies should be considered a major component of any whole-food diet and offer more health benefits than I can probably list.

So click here for more info on this unique and TASTY event then sign up TODAY!

Oh and let's say you really like V8 but my blog has caused you to "get religion" (as my southern mother used to say) and now you're really sad because you think you'll have to give up your favorite healthy drink?

NEVER FEAR…I have another solution for you! A WHOLE VEGGIE smoothie that tastes just like V8 (the spicy version, that is!) so why don't you just give this recipe a try? I LOVE IT (it makes a heck of a Bloody Mary BTW!) and I bet you'll think it's so yummy you'll sign up for my class even faster (plus maybe even bring a friend or two because, as my mother also used to say, "there's no zeal like the convert" LOL!)

Vitamix V-8 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ¼ cup carrots, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon onion, peeled, diced
  • 1 sprig parsley
  • ¼ cup red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, diced
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase to the highest speed. Blend for 1 minute using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades, or until desired consistency is reached.

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