TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - Sun-soaked Floridians learn early how to quickly deal with a skin burn using aloe vera. But now aloe vera juice is big business as a health drink.
Registered dietitian Sarah Krieger says consumers should read labels before buying.
There are two main groups of aloe vera juice: Those with sugar added and those that are 100 percent aloe juice.
Some aloe vera juice drinks have as much as 18 grams of added sugar per serving and contain as little as 15 percent actual aloe juice.
Theresa Broughton drinks pure 100 percent aloe vera every day.
"Aloe is very soothing to the GI tract. I feel like if you can be proactive in your health, your GI tract is really in charge of your body," she explains.
Scientific evidence is weak on aloe vera's health claims, but some doctors, like Dr. Taz Bhatia report positive results for digestive health.
"Taking an ounce or two ounces of aloe vera juice has a coating effect on the esophagus, helping prevent heartburn and reflux," she says.
The FDA doesn't regulate expensive supplements, so experts like Krieger warn: Be cautious.
"I always recommend people to discuss with their physician and a registered dietitian to see what the pros and cons are, and to see if it’s something healthy for you," Krieger said.