More water

It has been a while since Mr. Tidbit shared his wisdom on the subject of "light" juices, so here's a chance for newbies to catch up. Consider new Amazing Prune Light from Sunsweet, described as having "only 100 calories per [8-ounce] serving and all the fiber of Sunsweet's regular prune juice." An 8-ounce serving of Sunsweet's regular prune juice contains 180 calories.

How does Amazing Prune Light cut 180 calories to 100? By diluting regular prune juice with water! That's right, whereas the ingredients list for Sunsweet's regular prune juice is "prune juice" (it is 100 percent juice), the second ingredient of Amazing Prune Light, after prune juice, is water.

The product is only 49 percent juice. But at the store where Mr. Tidbit found it, the 64-ounce bottle of Amazing Prune Light is $4.59; that's almost 85 percent of the price of the same size bottle of Sunsweet's regular prune juice, $5.44.

To be fair, some watered juice drinks cost fully as much as undiluted juice. And there's more added than water. To make watery prune juice resemble regular prune juice, Amazing Prune Light is sweetened (with Sucralose), fibered up (with dextrin) and flavored up with citric acid and natural flavor.

To keep himself from giggling at continued mention of "regular prune juice," Mr. Tidbit will henceforth call that product original prune juice, but not before he mentions Amazing Prune Light's other added ingredient of note, sorbitol, a sugar alcohol. Remember sugar alcohols from the low-carb craze? They are sugar substitutes (sorbitol has about 65 percent of the calories of sugar), that also have a laxative effect. So Amazing Prune Light is just as regular as original prune juice.

Less air

New in the freezer case, what Mr. Tidbit believes to be the first major-brand gelato. Häagen-Dazs gelato comes in seven flavors, including the now-ubiquitous sea-salt caramel.

So how is gelato different from ice cream? It is made with more milk and less cream than ice cream, so it is lower in fat, but it seems richer than ice cream because much less air is churned into gelato.

Al Sicherman