Product Review: Golden Circle Probiotic Juice

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 31 August 2012.
Tagged: drinks, fluids, food trends, foodie, juice, portion size, review, sugary drinks

Product Review: Golden Circle Probiotic Juice

This post has been sponsored by Golden Circle 

clipboardWhen I think of 'probiotics' and 'friendly bacteria', I immediately think of yoghurt. Maybe dairy or those acidophilus capsules in health food stores. But not juice. So it was with great interest that I tasted and researched my first Golden Circle Healthy Life juice™ with probiotic cultures. Here's how we rated it.

Nutrition 8/10

Probi Defendum™ probiotic - a unique selling feature

The single biggest selling feature of this juice is its probiotic content. Golden Circle Healthy Life juice contains Probi Defendum™ a term to classify its two strains of bacteria:

1. The first bacteria is Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2 which is found naturally in cheese during the ripening process.

2. The second is Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 which was originally isolated from the digestive tract of a healthy human. HEAL stands for 'Human Eatable Abdominal Lactobacillus'. It is now grown in a special medium specially for this product. According to the manufacturer, two human intervention trials have been completed using Probi Defendum™ which have shown that:

  • The number of episodes of common cold symptoms was significantly reduced
  • The severity of cold symptoms was reduced
  • The length of time the symptoms persisted was significantly reduced

 

What are probiotics anyway?
Probiotics are live bacteria which when consumed in adequate amounts confer a health benefit to the body. There are many different strains of bacteria that target a range of health conditions such as overcoming diarrhea, boosting immunity or fighting constipation. But not all probiotics do everything, just as vitamins don't either. This is an area of emerging research and I predict we'll see great new strides made over the next ten years.

 

Who is this product aimed at?

This is useful for those who:

  • are lactose intolerant
  • do not eat dairy
  • don't like yoghurt or dairy-based probiotic drinks e.g. Vaalia, Yakult
  • are prone to coughs and colds
  • working women with a young family who can't take time off if they get sick so want to boost their immunity.

Note: Most probiotics are aimed at bowel health i.e. stopping diarrhea or keeping your bowel healthy and regular. This is not one of those. The two bacteria are targeting respiratory symptoms associated with the common cold. The claims on pack state the juice 'supports your natural immune defences' – nothing to do with your bowel! Different strains of bacteria perform different functions within the body, so drinking this juice isn't a substitute for your daily bowel-helpful yoghurt.

How much?

GC Probiotic Apple Mango autocorrected resizedFor it to work, you have to drink one glass (200ml) each and every day. You can't just drink it when you feel a cold coming and expect to get results.

The trials were done on people who drank the juice each day for 12 weeks. I imagine this would be a minimum period. So if you're serious commit to buying it over three months of winter and see if you get a benefit.

Every 200mL glass provides at least 1 billion bacteria (1billion colony forming units or cfu), as this is the minimum you need to be effective.

This is the recommended daily amount to support your body's 'natural immune defenses' according to the tests. Don't worry – it tastes so nice, you'll have no trouble throwing it down!

 

Sugar content

The sugar content ranges from 9.8 to 11 percent which is the same as other juices and soft drink. Remember that at an average of 430 kilojoules per glass, juice is liquid kilojoules so is easy to over consume as I've pointed out before.

One glass has around 400 kJ (100 calories) which equivalent to eating 2 small apples. This is all natural sugar from the fruits; there is no added sugar which is great.

Pluses

  • It has virtually no fat, or protein and very little sodium (salt).
  • Like all juices, it has little fibre, despite the pulpy mouth-feel, which is something to be aware of. Juice is not equal to whole fruit.
  • It is high in potassium, a mineral that is involved with fluid balance and muscle function. Note: Golden Circle makes no reference to potassium – this is something that applies to all juices and fruit.
  • The juice is high in added vitamin C, which may also help fight off cold and coughs. A 200mL glass gives you 80mg, which is 200 per cent of the recommended day's intake for an adult.
  • It has no artificial colours or flavours.

GC Probiotic Juices front resizedGC Probiotic Juice back shot resized

 

Nutrition figures

Apple Mango Juice 1L

Servings per package: 5     Serving size: 200mL

Quantity per Serving

Quantity per 100mL

Energy

430kJ

215kJ

Protein

0.4g

0.2g

Fat, total

0.2g

0.1g

- saturated

0g

0g

Carbohydrate

24.0g

12.0g

- sugars

21.9g

11.0g

Dietary Fibre

0.4g

0.2g

Sodium

8mg

4mg

Vitamin C

80mg (200% RDI*)

40mg

L. paracasei 8700:2, L. plantarum HEAL9

1 billion cfu#(min)

500 million cfu#(min)

*  Recommended dietary intake   # colony forming units

Ingredients: Cloudy Apple Juice (84.9%), Mango Puree (15%), Vitamin C, Natural Flavour, Probiotic Cultures (Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9).

Breakfast Juice 1L

Servings per package: 5      Serving size: 200mL

Quantity per Serving

Quantity per 100mL

Energy

385kJ

195kJ

Protein

0.4g

0.2g

Fat, total

0.2g

0.1g

- saturated

0g

0g

Carbohydrate

21.4g

10.7g

- sugars

19.6g

9.8g

Dietary Fibre

0.2g

0.1g

Sodium

2mg

1mg

Vitamin C

80mg (200% RDI*)

40mg

L. paracasei 8700:2, L. plantarum HEAL9

1 billion cfu#(min)

500 million cfu#(min)

* Recommended dietary intake    # colony forming units

Ingredients: Reconstituted Juices (Orange (35%), Cloudy Apple (35%), Pineapple (26%)), Passionfruit Juice (2.5%), Banana Puree (1.4%), Natural flavours, Food Acid (Citric Acid), Vitamin C, Probiotic Cultures (Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2, Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9).

Taste

Apple Mango 9.5/10

This was our clear favourite. It was very smooth and "creamy" to drink with a delicious flavour. This is no watery juice, it has a thick, rich mouth-feel like a nectar with a vibrant colour – you get a real mouth-full of juice which is refreshing.

The combination of 85 per cent apple juice with 15 per cent mango puree is superb and really creates a delicious flavour that we haven't tried elsewhere. You'll soon appreciate that taste of a quality expensive brand. We could imagine sipping a glass filled with ice on a hot summers day and really enjoying it.

Breakfast Juice 8/10

The Breakfast variant is not as thick as the Apple Mango (although we noticed it did have a few pulpy bits in each mouthful). You could taste the banana, the tartness of the pineapple and orange together with the distinctive sweetness of passionfruit. Again, it had a quality taste to it. We had to shake the bottle to mix up the pulp which had settled on the bottom.

With both juices we couldn't taste anything unusual or out of the ordinary that would signal the presence of the friendly bacteria. If you didn't know, both were just top quality, pleasurable juices to drink.

Convenience 10/10

Size does matter

The bottles come in two sizes, a family size 1 litre plastic bottle as well as a small 300mL on-the-go bottle. We found 300mL a strange size as all the recommendations are based on a 200mL serve of the juice. Who is going to leave 100mL undrunk in the bottle? This could encourage over-consumption especially with kids and hungry teens. Wouldn't it have been better to market a 200mL daily serve size or a 400mL to provide two serves?

GC Probiotic Juices single serve resized

Store correctly

How you store the juice is very important. The bottle warns you to keep the juice stored below 4 degrees at all times (which is your refrigerator temperature) and consume it within 5 days of opening. This is essential to ensure the bacteria remain alive to have an effect. We also think it's wise to purchase from a busy supermarket with a high turnover so you know its fresh, as with all probiotic products.

Cost - not cheap

GC Probiotic Juice vs Regular resizedThis juice is not cheap. The 1L bottle cost A$4.99, about twice the price of a normal juice. The 300mL bottle cost A$2.99. At this high-end, these would not be products for a family with hungry teen boys but would appeal to empty nesters or single professional health-conscious women.

The manufacturer told us that it's a comparable cost to a serve of other probiotic products.

We compared it to Golden Circle's regular Breakfast Juice (which was long-life, not chilled). This was less than half the price but wasn't a patch on the taste nor the probiotic benefit. Nutritionally however it was almost identical with the Healthy Life juice.

The bottom line

Golden Circle Healthy Life Juice™ is an innovative new product - the first dairy-free drink with probiotic cultures in Australia. If you can't or don't like dairy, this could be a valuable alternative to yoghurt and dairy drinks. If you want to keep healthy over those cold winter months, give Probi Defendum™ a try along with a healthy lifestyle including adequate sleep, exercise and a balanced diet. It tastes divine and believe me, you'll WANT to drink this juice.

Further info
For more info, visit Golden Circle's website.

         Thanks to Airlie Lacy student dietitian for help with tasting and compiling the first draft.

This is a sponsored review. At Foodwatch we take product reviewing very seriously. Our readers rely on the fact that we review honestly without fear or favour. Catherine reviews many products as they come to her attention. That is, she chooses to review them. However, sometimes companies request a review as they believe they have a good product. As reviewing products is time intensive Foodwatch charges a fee for this service. Please note this fee does not guarantee a favourable review. We tell you when it's a sponsored review like this one but be assured that all the usual criteria have been adhered to and we still "tell it like it is".