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Disadvantages of Drinking Tang Instead of Juice

The sugar in Tang is detrimental to your health.

Tang, Kraft Foods’ citrus-flavored breakfast drink, has been a part of many Americans’ breakfast since its release in 1959. According to the NASA Spinoff website, Tang flew with the Gemini astronauts into space in 1965. Immediately after Gemini’s launch, Kraft launched the marketing campaign that revolutionized Tang’s image. They marketed Tang as the breakfast beverage astronauts drink. Space-age charisma aside, Tang is probably not your best choice as a nutritious breakfast beverage.

Why Is Tang Bad for You?

It’s all about the sugar. The first ingredient in Tang is sugar. The second ingredient in Tang is fructose, in other words, sugar. Farther down the ingredient list are Maltodextrin, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, and Neotame, which are all artificial sweeteners. Tang contains 24 grams of sugar in an 8 oz serving. That’s almost six teaspoons of sugar. Though six teaspoons might not seem like much, it counts up if you drink Tang each morning for breakfast. At 15 calories per teaspoon, you are drinking an extra 85 “empty” calories each morning, or 31,025 extra calories in a year. That’s enough to put eight extra pounds on you each year.

What Are Tang’s Ingredients?

Only the color is orange. Tang may be orange in color, but it is definitely not orange juice. Tang contains less than 2% orange juice solids. If a serving of Tang is 8 ounces, 2% of a glass of Tang is .16 ounce, or less than a teaspoon. Most of Tang’s flavor comes from “natural and artificial flavor.” Tang is unhealthy because of all of the unnatural ingredients used to make it.

Tang contains the following ingredients:

  • Sugar
  • Fructose
  • Citric Acid
  • Calcium Phosphate
  • Contains Less than 2% of Orange Juice Solids
  • Natural Flavor
  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)
  • Vitamin E Acetate
  • Niacinamide
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin A Palmitate
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Beta Carotene
  • Maltodextrin
  • Sucralose
  • Acesulfame Potassium
  • and Neotame (Sweeteners)
  • Guar and Xanthan Gums (Provides Body)
  • Artificial Color
  • Yellow 5
  • Yellow 6
  • BHA (to Help Protect Flavor)

What’s Wrong With Artificial Flavors?

Eric Schlosser, in his book Fast Food Nation, points out something that may not be obvious: “Natural and artificial flavors are now manufactured at the same chemical plants, places that few people would associate with Mother Nature. Calling any of these flavors “natural” requires a flexible attitude toward the English language and a fair amount of irony.”

In other words, Tang is not orange juice with all the health benefits of natural citrus. Tang is a drink that is engineered to taste like orange. These artificial flavors may taste fantastic, but they do not contain any of the vitamins and minerals you need on a daily basis.

What If You Drank Tang Everyday?

Servings
Calories Per Serving
Calories Per Year
Amount of Sugar Per Serving
Amount of Sugar Per Year
1
85
31,025
24g
8,760g
2
170
62,050
48g
17,520g
3
255
93,075
72g
26,280g
4
340
124,100
96g
35,040g

By contrast, a medium glass of orange juice contains about 62 calories, a third fewer than a small glass of Tang, and with it you get vitamins and minerals that Tang lacks. Below you can see another table that shows just how many calories you’d avoid if you were to drink juice instead of Tang.

What If You Drank Orange Juice Instead?

Servings
Total Calories in OJ
Total Calories in Tang
Calories Avoided
Calories Avoided Per Year
1
62
85
24
8,760
2
124
170
46
16,790
3
186
255
69
25,185
4
248
340
96
35,040

Engineered to Be Orange

Tang contains two artificial colors, yellow #5 and yellow #6. Yellow #5, also called Tartrazine, has been associated with both breathing problems and hyperactivity. Yellow #6, sometimes called “sunset yellow,” also has a link to hyperactivity. In short, the yellow dye in Tang may make it look like orange juice, but its effects can be very different from orange juice.

In fact, despite the full-color pictures of fruit on the label, Tang is not fruit juice. It is a largely artificial product. Having an orange with your breakfast instead would serve your body better.

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