Are Capri Sun sugar free?

Capri Sun is a popular fruit juice drink marketed towards children and teens. With its fun, cool packaging and variety of fruity flavors, it has long been a staple in school lunches and a go-to drink for kids’ parties and sports events.

But as rates of obesity and diabetes continue to rise, especially among young people, there has been an increased focus on reducing sugar consumption from beverages. This has led many parents to question whether seemingly healthy fruit drinks like Capri Sun are actually sugar-free options suitable for their children.

Capri Sun Nutrition Facts

To determine if Capri Sun contains sugar, we need to examine the drink’s nutrition label and ingredients list:

Serving Size: 200mL pouch (6.76 fl oz)
Calories: 70
Total Fat: 0g

Sodium: 15mg
Total Carbohydrate: 16g
Sugars: 16g

Ingredients: Filtered water, grape juice concentrate, pear juice concentrate, citric acid, natural flavors, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C).

Looking at these nutrition facts and ingredients, it is clear that Capri Sun does contain a significant amount of sugar, 16 grams per 6.76 oz pouch to be exact.

The source of this sugar is the grape and pear juice concentrates used to flavor and sweeten the drink. While juices like grape and pear contain naturally-occurring sugars, the process of concentrating them into juice concentrates heightens their sweetness exponentially.

So despite being marketed as a fun, fruit-flavored drink, Capri Sun cannot be considered a sugar-free or low-sugar beverage choice.

How Much Sugar is in Capri Sun?

To better understand just how much sugar is in a Capri Sun pouch, let’s break it down:

– There are 16 grams of sugar in one 6.76 oz Capri Sun pouch
– The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day for children
– So one Capri Sun pouch contains nearly two-thirds (64%) of the recommended daily added sugar intake for kids

For perspective, here are some other examples of foods containing roughly 16 grams of sugar:

– 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
– 1 tablespoon of honey
– 1 small chocolate chip cookie
– 12 jelly beans

As you can see, the amount of sugar in a single pouch is quite high, especially for a child-sized beverage.

Drinking just one 6.76 oz Capri Sun would exceed half of the recommended daily sugar limit for a child, leaving little room for any other treats or sweets in a balanced diet.

How Does Capri Sun Sugar Content Compare to Other Fruit Drinks?

Capri Sun is far from the only fruity juice drink that packs a large sugar punch. Here’s how its sugar content stacks up against some other popular juice drinks:

– Fruit Punch Juicy Juice – 15g sugar per 6.75oz
– Apple Juice Box – 15g sugar per 6.75oz
– Fruit Punch Kool Aid Jammers – 13g sugar per 6oz
– Apple Juice Bottle (Minute Maid) – 26g sugar per 8oz

Capri Sun falls right in line with other leading juice brands, with 15-16 grams of sugar per comparable kid-sized serving.

The main exception is that some juice box brands offer low-sugar or sugar-free versions, typically with 1-2 grams of sugar at most. Examples include Honest Kids Sugar Free organic juice pouches and Capri Sun’s Roarin Waters flavored water pouches.

So while regular Capri Sun has as much sugar as other full-sugar fruit juices, parents looking for truly low-sugar options should look for beverages explicitly labeled “low sugar”, “no sugar added”, or “sugar free”.

Are There Any Capri Sun Products That Are Sugar Free?

Capri Sun does offer some product lines that are either sugar-free or very low in sugar:

Roarin’ Waters – These flavored water pouches contain no juice, but are instead sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium. Each pouch has 0g sugar. Flavors include Berry Breeze, Strawberry Splash, and Tropical Tide.

Capri Sun Organic – The organic juice drink has only 8g sugar per 6.76oz pouch, half the amount of regular Capri Sun. It achieves this by being sweetened with organic cane sugar instead of juice concentrates.

Capri Sun +100% Juice – This line is blended with purified water to dilute the juice content. The result is just 11g sugar per 6.76oz pouch.

So while the classic Capri Sun contains 16g sugar, parents looking for lower sugar options can choose from their Roarin’ Waters, Organic, or +100% Juice product lines – all labeled as “low sugar” compared to regular Capri Sun.

Should You Let Your Kids Drink Capri Sun?

Given that Capri Sun does contain a significant amount of added sugar, is it a drink parents should avoid giving their children altogether?

Here are some things for parents to consider when deciding if Capri Sun should be part of a child’s diet:

Frequency of consumption – Drinking Capri Sun occasionally as a treat is less concerning than drinking multiple pouches daily. Moderation is key.

Overall diet – If your child otherwise consumes minimal sweets and sugars, a pouch here and there is likely fine. But for kids who already get a lot of sugar, Capri Sun may push them over recommended limits.

Low sugar alternatives – Opting for Capri Sun’s lower sugar product lines is a simple way to provide a similar fruity flavor profile with less impact on daily sugar intake.

Watch portion sizes – Even if you do allow regular Capri Sun, pay attention to pouch sizes. Many are now 9-10oz instead of the original 6.75oz “kid size”.

Water it down – Pouring a bit of water into the pouch cuts sugar concentration. Adding some seltzer can provide a bubbly fruit soda flavor.

Fruit & veggie balance – Make sure your child’s diet provides plenty of whole fruits and vegetables as well, instead of just fruit juice.

Overall, an occasional standard Capri Sun is unlikely to cause harm, as long as parents monitor frequency and portion sizes. But making lower sugar alternatives the everyday easy option is a healthier choice.

Healthier Alternatives to Capri Sun

For parents looking to limit sugar but still provide flavorful hydration options, here are some healthier beverage swaps to replace Capri Sun:

Diluted 100% fruit juice – Mix equal parts water and real juice. Look for “no sugar added” varieties.

Sparkling water with fresh squeezed juice – Make your own bubbly spritzer by adding a splash of real juice to plain or flavored sparkling water.

Flavored seltzer waters – Wide variety of unsweetened carbonated waters for a fizzy sensation without sugar or artificial sweeteners. Popular brands include LaCroix, Spindrift, Bubly.

Homemade fruit smoothies – Blend juice and whole fruits like berries and bananas into a creamy, thick smoothie. Add milk, yogurt or nut butters to make it more filling.

Infused water – Upgrade plain water by infusing it with fruits like berries, citrus, melon, and cucumber to add light, refreshing flavor.

Milk and milk alternatives – While not as hydrating as water, cow’s milk, nut milks and soy milk provide nutrients along with flavors like chocolate and strawberry.

Herbal iced teas – Make a pitcher of fruity iced tea using herbal tea bags, fresh fruit slices, herbs like mint, and a touch of honey or agave syrup if desired.

Providing flavorful drinks for kids without relying solely on sugary fruit juices takes a bit more effort, but is better for developing healthy lifelong hydration habits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Capri Sun 100% juice?

No, regular Capri Sun is not 100% juice. It is made with added water and sugar in the form of juice concentrates. Only the Capri Sun +100% Juice line contains 100% juice with no added sweeteners.

Is there any real fruit in Capri Sun?

There is no actual fruit flesh or pulp in regular Capri Sun. The fruit flavor comes from pear and grape juice concentrates added during processing. So while it tastes tangy and fruity, the fruit content is minimal.

Does Capri Sun need refrigeration?

Refrigeration extends the shelf life after opening, but is not needed for an unopened Capri Sun pouch. The shelf-stable packaging allows storage at room temperature until opened. Refrigerate after opening to preserve freshness.

Is it bad if Capri Sun changes color?

Yes, a change in Capri Sun’s usual translucent appearance could indicate spoilage. Discoloration, cloudiness, or opaque spots mean the product may have been damaged or expired and should not be consumed. Always inspect juice pouches before drinking.

Does Capri Sun expire?

All Capri Sun products have a printed expiration date. Unopened pouches can be safely consumed up to 7-10 days past the “best by” date before noticeable changes in taste or appearance occur. Consume opened pouches within 2-3 days and discard any expired product.

The Bottom Line

While Capri Sun is marketed as a fun, convenient fruit drink for active children, its high added sugar content should give parents pause. One 6.76oz pouch delivers nearly 2/3 of the recommended daily sugar maximum for kids.

On occasion or in moderation, standard Capri Sun is unlikely to be harmful, but parents should provide close supervision. Better yet, switching to Capri Sun’s lower sugar product lines, diluting with water, or opting for healthier homemade alternatives can reduce reliance on sugary fruit juices.

Keeping young consumers hydrated, fueled and healthy doesn’t require resorting to sugar-laden juice pouches. With a bit of planning and imagination, you can offer beverages that quench thirst without an extra dose of sugar.

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