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Disadvantages of Drinking Tang Orange Drink Instead of Juice

Updated on August 10, 2014

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" Web site, 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, however, Tang is probably not your best choice as a nutritious breakfast beverage.

Only the Color is Orange

Tang may be orange in color, but it is definitely not orange juice. According to its label, 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 (Provide Body) Artificial Color, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, BHA (to Help Protect Flavor)

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 not from orange juice but from "natural and artificial flavor." 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 health the benefits of natural citrus. Tang is an drink that is engineered to taste like orange.

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, 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.

By contrast, a medium orange contains 62 calories, a third fewer than a small glass of Tang, and with it you get vitamins and minerals Tang lacks.

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.


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      fartpooper420 24 months ago

      This article is over 4 years old now

    • profile image

      fartpooper420 24 months ago

      yeah, what startrooper228 said!


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      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.

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      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.

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      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.

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      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 2 years ago


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      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

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      val 4 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 6 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 image

      Sue_in_garden 6 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. 6 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.