June 12, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: V8

Does a glass of V8 truly count as a serving of vegetables?

-- Greg M.
Los Angeles, CA

An 8-ounce glass of V8 -- a blend of tomatoes, carrots, celery, beets, pasley, lettuce, watercress, and spinach -- actually counts as two vegetable servings.

Well, at least technically it does.

If it comes down to having a V8 versus no vegetables at all, I would definitely suggest the V8.

However, I have a few issues with replacing actual vegetables with this beverage.

Firstly, the sodium content in standard V8 is moderately high -- 480 milligrams (approximately 25% of a day's worth) per 8 ounce glass.

The accompanying 480 milligrams of potassium -- one of two key nutrients in regulating blood pressure -- serves as some consolation, though.

My real concern with this drink comes from the absence of fat, which impairs the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and some antioxidants (i.e.: lycopene).

This can easily be remedied by accompanying your V8 with some fat, like a handful of nuts or a salad with avocado slices.

V8 also does not provide as much fiber -- or as many phytonutrients -- as actual vegetables.

It's a very middle of the road product, in my opinion. Nothing fantastic, but also not a heinous creation.

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