If you're thinking this post is going to be about the amount of sugar in those fancy juices at the grocery store, you'd be wrong.

If you're thinking I'm going to tell you about the benefits of juicing, you are mistaken.

If you're thinking I'm going to tell you not to drink juice...nope, not this time.

But I am going to tell you a little story about juice that includes some itching and a hefty dose of intrigue.

Recently, I've started taking a small swig of juice to break up my incessant water intake. We're talking literally one mouthful.

And the juice in question was boyfriend approved (he basically taught me to read labels). We're not talking about your powdered sugar packets or your fruit juice cocktail.

We're talking about the no added sugar, no artificial flavors or ingredients kind of juice. Just a good, clean 100 percent juice.

But right around the time I'd started sipping on the juicy juice, I had several itching episodes.

Not like an annoying bug bite itch or those phantom itches that make you just have to scratch your nose.

No, like a wake up in the middle of the night itch. A painful, deep-seated kind of itch. The kind that accompanies a food sensitivity or allergy (totally a legit symptom, by the way).

I was pretty skeptical that the healthy juice had any questionable ingredients, but I dutifully checked the label. 

And what did I find? Vitamin A palmitate!

Vitamin A palmitate is a pretty common vitamin isolate (i.e., synthetic…Vitamin A in its natural form is totally safe, but overconsumption of the synthetic variety is where we get into trouble). 

It’s also pretty controversial.

Studies have shown high dosages can affect digestion and liver health, and it’s been linked to cancer and reproductive issues.

Oh, and it can make you itch. 

(Correlation doesn't necessarily equal causation...just throwin' that out there...)

I didn't tell you all this just to tell a story. Although I can be long winded, there is a point: Always check your labels. Just because a product was once clean don't assume it's always going to be clean.

Formulas change all the time.  

Like that time Coca-Cola rolled out New Coke. 

Or when Hershey’s removed cocoa butter from its products in favor of cheaper ingredients like vegetable oil. 

Or when we all thought Twinkies had finally expired, but the snack cake was just reinvented with a longer list of ingredients. 

(It’s not all bad news. Some companies actually change their products for the better, like Nestle, Kraft, and Panera, who are removing artificial flavors and colorings, preservatives, and sweeteners from their food, while others like Shake Shack and Chipotle are sourcing non-GMO ingredients.) 

If you’re still on the lookout for a clean juice to quench your thirst every once in a while, here are a few tips:

  • 100% juice: Beware of non-vegetable or non-fruit ingredients, and anything with preservatives.
  • Sugar: Avoid added sugars and anything with high fructose corn syrup, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweeteners, and fruit juice concentrate. 
  • Clouds: You shouldn’t be able to see through your juice. If you can, it’s watered down and lacking much nutrition.
  • Flavors: No-go on the artificial flavors or fruit-flavored bevvies.
  • Fiber: A couple grams of fiber will help your body digest the juice and keep you fuller for a bit longer.
  • Good words: Organic, raw, cold-pressed, fresh, not from concentrate.
  • Not-so-good words: Drink, punch, cocktail (this isn’t happy hour), concentrate.

Remember, don’t guzzle your juice. While it’s a better option than that New Coke, it is still a source of calories and sugar, so sip slowly.

Pssst. Want a cute little checklist you can check off next time you’re checking out the juice at the store? Slap your email in that box down there and click the link - ta-da!