Evaluating Health Claims of Sobe Beverages: A Case Study

In one of my journal entries, I griped about the presence of caffeine in Sobe Power, a fruit drink billed as being "healthy refreshment" and "all natural". In fact, for individuals with a history of heart fibrillation -- my dad ended up in the emergency room and almost died several years ago from the physiological effects of being served caffeinated coffee instead of the decaf he requested -- calling caffeinated fruit juice a "health beverage" can be like calling a shotgun to the head an "assisted living plan" for retirees. But this got me thinking. On the whole, is Sobe actually healthier or more natural than the average fruit drink?

For my study, I grabbed the following comparison cases: a can of "Fruit Integration" Fruitopia from the cafeteria refrigerator; a can of Minute Maid "100% juice with added natural flavors ORANGE BLEND from concentrate" (henceforth referred to as "Orange Juice"); a long-unopened bottle of Gatorade brand "TORQ Energy Juice Drink" from the back recesses of the fridge; and 12 ounces of slightly fruity-tasting tap water. Will Sobe emerge the winner from this pack of competitors?

Sobe Power Fruitopia "Torq" "Orange Juice" Water SOBE'S RANK:
Taste Almost tolerable Wretched Motor oil * Fruity Pleasant 3
Weirdest Additive "Taurine" Sodium benzoate "Cochineal extract" Lemon juice None 4
Is It Natural? Questionable No No Yes Yes 3
(number of items on ingedients list before reaching a fruit juice product)
3 2 4 1 N/A 3
Sodium (mg) 8 120 200 40 trace 2
Sugars (g) 47 43 32 40 trace 5
(because stress is a health issue too)
Definitely unsettling ** Kinda worrisome Too scary to open Only vaguely Not at all 4
Presence of caffeine Yes No No No No 5
Slogan "Specially formulated to uplift the mind, body and spirit" "Fruit with the urge to merge" "Energy with staying power" "From concentrate" "Water" 1
OVERALL 3rd (tie): Spotty all-around performance. 3rd (tie): Not bad for "red cola." 4th: Would you open this bottle? 2nd: Well-bodied, good bouquet, subtle aftertaste. 1st: The perfect health drink.


Healthy? Bah. Sobe ended up in a dead heat for 3rd place with a drink consisting mostly of processed sugar. I should take some consolation in the fact that Sobe outscored "Torq" despite its caffeine and dubious nutritional statistics.


* I was too timid to open the bottle. This is just a guess.
** The little blurb on the underside of the cap said "The Other White Meat." I rest my case.

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