If you’re like me, when I think about putting lemon juice into my smoothie or on a tilapia fillet, I certainly don’t think about ingredients like sodium benzoate or sodium metabisulfite on my fish or in my smoothie. ReaLemon juice is about as much real juice as those little hugs drinks in that plastic barrel container from my youth. So what is in ReaLemon® lemon juice from concentrate anyway? and why are they there? Let’s take a look.
#1 Lemon juice from concentrate
(made from water & concentrated lemon juice) – So the first ingredient in this “Real” lemon juice is not even real lemons.
#2 Sodium Benzoate (preservative)
Commercial source: mineral-synthetic.
Used in: margarine, bottled soft drinks, maraschino cherries, mincemeat, fruit juices, pickles, confections, fruit jelly preserves, jams. Also used in the ice for cooling fish.
Definition: A very common preservative used mostly in acidic foods.
#3 Sodium Metabisulfite (preservative)
Not much is written about this preservative as far as health implications but here is a list of what it is typically used for:
- Bleaching Agent in foods
- Antiseptic and germicide
- Inhibitor and freshening agent
#4 Sodium Sulfite (preservative)
It is a soluble sodium salt of sulfurous acid. Used routinely in the paper and pulp industry as well as a common additive to reduce the chlorine in swimming pools. It is also use to purify TNT for the military.
#5 Lemon Oil
This is most likely just oil extracted from lemons
So What to Buy?
So think about these ingredients the next time you want to add some lemon juice to your food. Obviously the best way to get lemon juice is from fresh squeezed lemons, but sometimes that is just not practical so we have found a couple of brands that have only the juice from lemons as its ingredients.
1. Lakewood Juices Lemon Juice – I’ve seen this at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s (i think) and other similar health food stores before…probably the more expensive option – Click here for more on this
2. Italian Volcano Lemon Juice (see image to right) - We buy ours at Costco (yes, Costco) and it comes in dark green glass bottles with the instruction to store it in the refrigerator and keep it in darker areas like wine. Click here for more on this