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What’s In My Food: Hawaiian Punch Ingredients Explained

Reading the ingredient list on your food label and knowing what they are, are two different things. For example: Do you know what the ingredients BHT, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, blue 1, and phosphoric acid are? Well you should, since you are consuming them on a daily basis. One's use is banned in restaurants. Another is mined from the earth. And the Other two are made from petroleum.

Can you imagine what these ingredients are doing to your body? Well don't imagine. Know. Educate yourself. Read on to learn exactly what your food is made of, and what it’s doing to your health.

In all products, ingredients must be listed according to their relative weight. The listing of each ingredient is in a descending order of predominance.

Hawaiian Punch’s ingredients are: Water, high fructose corn syrup and 2% or less of each of the following: Concentrated juices (apple, pineapple, passionfruit, orange), fruit purees (apricot, papaya, guava), citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, pectin, acacia gum, ester gum, sodium hexametaphosphate, red 40, blue 1, caramel color, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (preservatives), asorbic acid (vitamin c), sucralose.


1. High fructose corn syrup: Corn derived sweetener. Corn starch is processed to corn syrup and then treated with enzymes to convert glucose in fructose.

Health Effects:  Excess may increase risk of tooth decay, abnormal weight gain, kidney stones, gout, kidney stones, colon cancer, and diabetes. Large amounts have caused tumors in mice. In 2005, some U.S. manufactured high fructose corn syrup was found to contain trace amounts of mercury.

2. Concentrated juices (apple, pineapple, passionfruit, orange), fruit purees (apricot, papaya, guava)

3. Citric acid: A weak organic acid used as a flavoring agent and a preservative. Extracted from citrus fruits or made by fermentation of yeast or mold. May contain MSG. May be genetically modified.

Health effects: If MSG sensitive, may provoke symptoms.

4. Natural flavors: Any flavor not chemically derived. Obtained by physical processes from plants or animals. Made to provide flavor to a food rather than nutritional value. May contain MSG.

Health effects:  Unknown.Different foods use different natural flavors and processes. Naturally derived ingredients may be altered, rendered unsafe. It should be noted that the use of the word “natural flavors” is often used to mask the use of harmful, naturally derived flavors.

5. Artificial flavors: A synthetic mixture not found in nature, designed to mimic a natural flavor. May contain MSG. Over 1,700 artificial flavors are approved by the FDA.

Health effects: Unknown. Companies are not required to identify the various synthetic mixtures (1,700 to date) used in foods, requiring only that they be listed under the umbrella of the “artificial flavors” listing. Some individuals are sensitive to artificial flavors, experiencing headaches, nausea, and drowsiness, among other symptoms.

Artificial flavors sample list: benzyl isobutyrate, ethyl acetate, ethyl methylphenylglycidate (petroleum derivative), methyl benzoate (petroleum derivative), hydroxyphenyl-2-butanone. An artificial flavor may be made up of any number of synthetic chemicals.

6. Pectin: Extracted mainly from citrus fruits. Used as a stabilizer, gelling agent, thickener, and bodying additive.

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Health effects: When produced commercially, it may be prepared and treated with ammonia, and ethanol or isopropanol. It is reasonable to assume that said chemical’s health risks may be passed on to the treated pectin.

7. Acacia gum: (Know also as gum Arabic, gum acacia) Made from the trunk of the acacia tree. Used as a stabilizer in beverages, a thickener, to retard sugar crystallization, flavoring additive and to prevent chemical breakdown in food mixtures.

Health effects: May cause allergic reactions such as asthmatic attacks and skin rashes, hives, and hay fever.

8.Ester gum: (Known also as Glycerol ester of wood rosin,)Refined from wood rosin (a solid resin) that is harvested from the stumps of long-leaf pines. Used as a stabilizer and emulsifier.

Health effects: No evidence of negative health effects. Water soluble excreted through urine.

9. Sodium hexametaphosphate: Sodium salt with a high phosphate content. Used as an emulsifier, sequestrant, and texturizer.

Health effects: Excessive phosphorus consumption can lead to a mineral imbalance and may affect bones, kidneys, and heart. May cause allergic reactions.

10. Red 40: (Known also as Allura Red AC, E129) Coal tar derived food coloring.

Health effects: A suspected carcinogen. Has been linked to hyperactivity, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and lower IQs in children. Some scientists question its safety since all tests were conducted by the manufacturer instead of the regulator, the FDA.

11. Blue 1: (Known also as Brilliant Blue FCF, E133)Coal tar derived food coloring.

Health effects: Produces malignant tumors at the site of injection and by ingestion in rats. Possible effects include asthma, hives, hay fever, low blood pressure, allergic reactions. Caution is advised if aspirin sensitive.

12. Caramel Color: Brown food coloring and flavoring made by heating a sugar, usually corn syrup. May be processed with ammonia and sulfur to intensify color.

Health effects: May contain ammonium compounds. May affect stomach (gastrointestinal problems), liver, and cause hyperactivity. Caramel color produced with ammonia has been associated with blood toxicity in animals. Associated with reduced white cells and lymphocyte counts.

13. Sodium benzoate: Used as a preservative. It is the sodium salt of Benzoic acid. Benzoic acid is synthesized commercially from toluene. Toluene is produced in the gasoline making process and the making of coke (carbon fuel produced by distillation of coal) from coal. Therefore, sodium benzoate is a petroleum or coal tar derivative.

Health effects: Asthma, hives, hay fever, mouth irritation, and other allergic reactions. Neurotoxicity and brain damage; Linked to hyperactivity and decreased intellect in children. May cause DNA damage, leading to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Benzene, a known cancer-causing agent, can form in soft drinks when sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin c, commonly added to fortify soft drinks) are mixed.

14. Potassium sorbate: A Naturally occurring preservative.

Health effects: May irritate skin.

15. Ascorbic acid: Vitamin C. A water soluble preservative and antioxidant. May be chemically synthesized.

Health effects: Considered safe.

16. Sucralose: (Also known as Splenda)Chlorinated artificial sweetener.

Health effects: May cause migraines. Kidney and thymus shrinkage occurred in animal tests. A Japanese university research showed DNA damage in the gut of mice. A reduction in beneficial gut bacteria has also been shown.


The Smiling Man (author) from USA on February 27, 2013:

wow. that's rough.

ngeddings on February 26, 2013:

I got major migraines with projectile vomiting when i consumed Hawaiin punch. Figured that out after drinking it three times one week about 15 years ago.. don't touch the stuff. Made my tongue feel "furry" too.. if anything gives me that affect I stop with it.

The Smiling Man (author) from USA on June 19, 2012:

Calories aren't a big concern for me, I tend to focus more on the individual ingredients.

Nana on May 23, 2012:

I have almost raised my grandchildren on Hawaiian Punch drink mix. Why not? Only 5 calories for a 16 oz drink. Now I find out that the dye in this drink mix may not only be making them sick but could end up killing them. Shame on you. I will try my best to make sure every Mom, Dad and grandparent knows what is really in their childrens drink mix. I hope you have trouble sleeping at night knowing what you are doing to the health of children. I'm also mad at the FDA for letting you get by with it. What? Did they say go ahead, if you make our children sick then the doctors ect. can also profit from your company?

meaner on May 07, 2012:

that's ratcal dude thanks for the help

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