There weren’t too many surprises when I started researching the difference between orange juice and Sunny Delight, or as it’s sometimes marketed, SunnyD. But what I didn’t expect was what a horrific reputation Sunny Delight has.
Some History on SunnyD
You might be asking yourself, is SunnyD still around? Yes it is. They actually came out with SunnyD flavored gummies not too long ago, and Twitter got into an argument with itself last year regarding the orange juice-like beverage.
The SunnyD brand peaked during the 1990s, when kids in the US and UK went nuts for it. Most people probably realized it was sugar dressed up as a fruit and didn’t care that much.
Then, in 1999 the company took a dive. A young girl in Wales turned an orange color after drinking too much of the drink and SunnyD sales decreased by half. What’s really unfair about this is, she actually overdosed on the beta-carotene in the drink, which could also happen if you ate too many carrots. But the damage had been done.
Then in 2002, the Center for Science in the Public Interest published an article that essentially ripped SunnyD to shreds: “There is nothing either sunny or delightful about a junk food that’s dressed up as real fruit juice. But Sunny Delight is not much more than sugar water with negligible amounts of juice and a bit of vitamins added.”
Since then, SunnyD has rebranded itself and even played around with the recipe, but it never came back into the sunny spotlight it once occupied.
Definitions & Ingredients
Orange juice is literally defined as the juice of an orange. Of course, supermarket orange juice has a few other things in it as well like water, sugar, and vitamins.
I buy Simply Orange with Calcium and Vitamin D, and the ingredients label says it “contains orange juice, less than 1% of: calcium phosphate and calcium lactate (calcium sources), Vitamin D3.” (Not as much Calcium and Vitamin D as one might think…)
According to Fooducate, SunnyD ingredients include “water, corn syrup, and 2% or less of concentrated orange juices (orange, tangerine, apple, lime, grapefruit, pear), citric acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Thiamin Hydrocloride (Vitamin B1), natural flavores, modified cornstarch, canola oil, sodium citrate, cellulose gum, sucralose,” and there’s more to it but you get the jist.
Orange juice is…orange juice, with water and sugar. SunnyD is largely water and corn syrup, and a small smorgasbord of other stuff.
We all probably kind of it saw it coming: orange juice is healthier. And frankly, I never liked the taste of SunnyD. It was too tangy, and tasted like it should be orange juice, and I expected it to be so, but it just wasn’t.
That being said, I think the sugary drink got a bad rap. It is what it is. It’s probably fine in moderation, like a whole bunch of other stuff.
- Center for Science in the Public Interest: Sunny Delight is Designed to Deceive
- Fooducate: Sunny D Tangy Original
- Merriam-Webster: orange juice
- The Tab: What ever happened to Sunny Delight?