Skinnygirl Margarita: Not So Natural?

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Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel’s SkinnyGirl Margarita has become a favorite cocktail for many for its low-calorie content (100 calories per serving) and its reportedly “all natural” contents. But as you may have heard, the bottled drink was reportedly pulled off the shelves at Whole Foods Markets.

According to reports, the “all-natural” drink, as it is labeled, appears to have an artificial preservative despite the claims on the packaging. Frankel was quick to react, offering this statement on her website: “We would not sell anything that I don’t personally drink. I’m a natural foods chef and health is a top priority for me and my family. The Skinnygirl Margarita is made with natural ingredients and its label is consistent with U.S. federal regulations, which is why it is carried in stores nationwide and continues to fly off the shelves.”

Since we’ve enjoyed a few SkinnyGirl Margaritas ourselves, we wanted to get all the facts on what’s causing all the buzz. The unnatural substance is thought to be sodium benzoate, a common preservative that appears in many popular foods and sodas and sometimes even medicines and cosmetics. It works to increase the shelf life of products and in small amounts does not pose any health risks. It actually can appear naturally in some foods like cranberries, but it is often the manmade version that is included in packaged food and drink.

Although small amounts are safe and it is a Food and Drug Administration-approved food preservative, when combined with vitamin C it may become benzene, an unhealthier chemical. The addition of lime juice (which is rich in vitamin C) in SkinnyGirl Margarita may make this case a little tricky. Time will tell if it will be the SkinnyGirl Maragrita recipe or the “all natural” label that changes, but we are certainly expecting one or the other.

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