Disadvantages of Drinking Tang Instead of Juice

Updated on May 17, 2018
Sue_in_garden profile image

Susan Peterson is an award-winning writer and author of "Western Herbs for Martial Artists and Contacts Athletes."

The sugar in Tang is detrimental to your health.
The sugar in Tang is detrimental to your health. | Source

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.

Drink real orange juice and receive vitamins and avoid unwanted calories.
Drink real orange juice and receive vitamins and avoid unwanted calories. | Source

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.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        fartpooper420 

        2 years ago

        This article is over 4 years old now

      • profile image

        fartpooper420 

        2 years ago

        yeah, what startrooper228 said!

        ME LIKE TANG!

      • profile image

        startrooper228 

        2 years ago

        Why are you lying to people, or at least twisting the truth? an 8oz. glass of OJ and 8 oz. glass of tang have virtually the same amount of sugar. Telling people to eat an orange instead is just plain stupid - we're talking drinks here - not fruit. Other than Vitamin C, a glass of orange juice has about 10% of Vitamin A requirements, and not much more. Tang has over 20% Vitamin A. Both have ample Vitamin C that 1 glass would fill your daily need. The dyes - surely you are kidding right - have been known to, geez..... Why don't you just admit it - Tang is not so bad for a drink (I dilute mine by 50%) and a hell of a lot cheaper than OJ. Much better than soda, and most other drinks you find in the 7-11. And come on, everyone knows it isn't orange juice - why are you making such a big deal out of that? It never claims to be OJ. It's also not ice cream. And what the hell - "all the benefits of natural citrus"? You mean vitamin C. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM - Vitamin C is Vitamin C! ugh. Please tell me you don't have a degree in science.

      • profile image

        sid 

        2 years ago

        can't they make healthy drinks - they'll get 2 fold benifits public will be healthy n they will become rich.

      • profile image

        Rosa U.Uy 

        2 years ago

        Tang orange drink contains Neotame, a sweetener which is several times toxic than Aspartame , also a toxic sweetener. The cosumers don't know about this But the company knows it for sure.

      • profile image

        Jeffrey 

        2 years ago

        Its not as good as orange juice, but we used to take it camping where keeping orange juice was not necessarily practical. Readily available water and a container on Tang was good for us kids

      • profile image

        dharani venkat 

        3 years ago

        Good

      • profile image

        Itanay 

        3 years ago

        You compared oranges, a whole fruit, to an artificial beverage----at least compare orange juice to Tang so we can really see how much sugar each has.

      • profile image

        longdistanceruner 

        4 years ago

        Do you really need this website to tell you that Tang isn't OJ? This is like those may contain nuts warnings on packets of nuts

      • profile image

        val 

        5 years ago

        can anyone te;; me why we cant find tang in the stores my son only likes tang an wont drink any thing else

      • Kris Heeter profile image

        Kris Heeter 

        6 years ago from Indiana

        Good hub - all these artificial additives are not good. Most go to market without ever being tested and some are still on the market even after research indicates they may be harmful!

      • SallyTX profile image

        Sally Branche 

        7 years ago from Only In Texas!

        We used to give this to sick guinea pigs to cure them from scurvy. It is good for that since they suck it up faster than they would orange juice, but V8 juice and honey works just as well. ;D

      • Sue_in_garden profile imageAUTHOR

        Sue_in_garden 

        7 years ago from Arizona

        Lately even "caramel coloring" is being manufactured from chemicals. I'm sticking with the orange.

      • Nancy B. profile image

        Nancy B. 

        7 years ago from Kansas City, MO

        Good sentence to quote "Natural and artificial flavors are now manufactured at the same chemical plants...."

        How can natural flavors be manufactured? The FDA (Food Destruction Agency) sold the consumer out to big business a long time ago and Tang is another example of this.

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