Upon googling the low down on bottled smoothies, I have found that a large amount of articles are talking about how it’s bad for you because of the sugars and comparing fruits and it’s juices to sodas and candy bars, and how all that sugar is unhealthy and contributes to obesity. But after my own research, I have a very different opinion on this…
So the question I see asked a lot is, are store bought smoothies healthy for you? I’m talking about those bottled smoothies you see in the juice isle of the supermarket. Long answer short I feel that more so than not, yes it is pretty healthy for you, compared to milk shakes, sodas, and what not. But their nutritional profiles are very far behind compared to freshly blended fruit smoothies.
Store bought smoothies have one very big negative, it is 99.9% of the time pasteurized, a process which involves heating the smoothie to high temperatures, this is done to kill off anything that might make us sick, but in the process also kills off all the good stuff too. Let’s go over the cons of store bought smoothies (bottled smoothies)
Cons of Store Bought Smoothies
- Pasteurization kills a lot of vitamins and minerals – A big part of the reason why I drink bottle smoothies only sparingly is the fact that most bottle smoothies in the stores are pasteurized. This is done by heating up the smoothie to a very high temperature to prevent any harmful bacterial to be growing inside. Unfortunately a lot of vitamins and minerals are also lost in this heating process, and without those things, the main benefits of the smoothies are now obsolete. The bottled smoothies could also have been sitting on the shelves for months, this contributes further to the degradation of nutrients. This same idea extends to bottled fruit juice as well which are also always pasteurized.
- Lots of added sugar and “fillers” instead of real fruit – When I had my first bottle of fruit smoothie, I was surprised at how juice-like and thin it was. I looked at the labelled ingredients and it said there were some fruits in there, as well as concentrated fruit juice, but they didn’t state the quantity of exactly how much real fruit is in there. It felt like there were way more juice in there than fruit. It was also much sweeter than any of the fresh smoothies I’ve ever made myself, this tells me there’s a lot of added sugars and juice in there and not so much fresh fruit. Not sure I wanna be paying a premium for a bottle with 90% concentrated apple juice that I could have gotten for a dollar.
- Much more expensive – On my way to work I often purchase a smoothie as breakfast or for later at lunch. Over the years I have probably spent thousands of dollars on smoothies. I keep doing it because they’re so convenient – no needed to peel fruits, blend them, and cleaning up.. uggh. But I can’t stand having to pay $4.99 for a 900ml of smoothie.
Pros of Store Bought Smoothies
- Convenience, available everywhere – Bottle smoothies along with protein shakes, green juice, and other healthy drinks are available nearly everywhere these days. You’ll find them at around the same aisle where they sell juice. Most supermarkets in my area have them here in Canada, 24-hr convenience stores such as 7-Eleven has them, even McDonald’s and some coffee shops like Starbucks are selling smoothies, albeit full of added sugars.
- Increase fruit intake, anything is better – We’re all supposed to have something like 6-10 servings of fruits per day, but realistically who even averages close to that? Especially with many people having busy schedules, it’s all about the grab and go. Bottle smoothies are great for on-the-go, for example during busy mornings when you don’t got time to make a healthy breakfast, you can grab a smoothie quickly in the convenience store while filling up gas for your car, or grab that smoothie from Starbucks instead of that cappuccino. The nutritional profiles of store-bought smoothies may fall way behind compared to eating fresh fruits or freshly blended smoothies, but it’s all about doing your best. Just because fresh fruit is not available or too much hassle, doesn’t mean you should just give up and not care at all, it’s better to just choose the next best thing, which are fruits in the form of bottle smoothies.
- Not all sugar is bad – I’ve heard people comparing fruit smoothies to fast food milkshakes saying it’s just as bad and fattening because of the sugars, this cannot be more untrue. Fruit doesn’t have unhealthy fats, doesn’t contain cholesterol, has no dairy (what’s wrong with dairy? click here to find out) and it comes with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Although pasteurization kills a lot of the vitamins and minerals, it doesn’t kill all of it. For example, a cup of pasteurized orange juice has 33% less vitamin C than freshly squeezed, but still, the pasteurized juice still has about 85mg of vitamin C, which adequately provides you the amount you need daily. So with bottled smoothies, it’s not just a bottle of liquid sugar and nothing else! There are still a lot of healthy stuff in there.
- Some brands are pretty good – I love the brands that list the quantities of fruit that goes into each bottle, this way I’ll know if I’m getting my money’s worth. Arthur’s Smoothies and Bolthouse Farms both does this and are great brands of smoothies that I regularly get. Strawberry banana is my favorite flavor and Arthur’s 900ml bottles offer the juice or puree of about 22 strawberries, 2 1/2 bananas, and 4 1/2 apples, the smoothies are quite thick and creamy and I can tell there’s a lot of fruit in there. I’d stay away from smoothies that are really watery, you’re probably getting mostly concentrated juice which is a very cheap ingredient and not worth the money at all.
What About Freshly Made From Juice Bars?
If you can find a juice bar like Jugo Juice or Booster Juice where they make your smoothies fresh right in front of you, then they’re the better bet compared to bottled ones. As long as they’re the kind of juice bar where you can see the fresh fruit behind the counter and they’re using that to make your smoothies. I’d stay away from any smoothie bar that uses syrup bottles and things like that which are usually synthetic flavorings and are not very healthy.
Why Blending Your Own Smoothies is The Best Way
- No pasteurization – It’s so much healthier when you are drinking it freshly blended yourself. All the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and live enzymes are still there, these nutrients will help your body heal and prevent diseases such as cancer and heart attacks.
- Knowing exactly what goes into it – I sometimes get very picky with my smoothies, I do not like bananas mixed with anything other than strawberries, and I also like my smoothies very thick blended with little juice. When you make your own smoothies, you can have 100% control over what goes into them. You can even include some leafy greens in your banana smoothies, with the sweetness of the fruit you wouldn’t even know you’re eating greens! You can also customize your smoothie the any other way you like. Want some more fats? Add a handful of walnuts or almond butter. More protein? A scoop of plant-based protein powder.
- Cheaper than store bought – Making your own smoothie can be 10x cheaper than buying the bottled ones, depending on the ingredients you’re using. I do a lot of banana smoothies and bananas are dirt cheap, especially if you can find ones that are already ripe and the store is trying to get rid of them. I can easily do a 5-banana smoothie with water for less than $1. I would not be able to find smoothie of any kind in stores for that little money.
Looking For a Good Blender?
If you are looking for a good quality blender to make smoothies, protein shakes, and other healthy drinks, take a look at the NutriBullet series which includes 3 models in total.
They are these little bullet-shaped blenders and are designed for easy cleaning and convenience. The original NutriBullet 600 and NutriBullet Pro 900 have a power base of 600 watts and 900 watts respectively, they can blend, mix, whip, and crush most ingredients and have your fruits and vegetables liquefied within seconds.
The little blending cups also come with lip rings which you twist onto the top, now you can drink out of the cup as well with one less thing to wash! If you’re looking for something like this, please check out my full product review here:
The 3rd and final model in the NutriBullet series is the NutriBullet RX. It is the latest and most powerful blender at 1700 watts and 2.3 horsepower, this can be compared to expensive full-sized blenders such as the Vitamix 7500 which has 1440 watts and 2.2 horsepower.
Two main features that set the NutriBullet RX apart from other blenders is the inclusion of SMART technology that allows timed automatic blending without supervision which turns off on it’s own when finished, and a heating element that operates at a 7-minute heating cycle that allows you to make soups. These 2 extra features make it a lot more expensive than it’s 2 previous models.
For a comparison of all 3 models, check out this post:
These are the blenders I would recommend to anyone who plans on regularly making their own smoothies, protein shakes, or even make healthy soups. Remember, a blender can do a variety of different things besides blending smoothies, it can also chop onions and garlic, mix muffin batter…etc which can aid in healthy eating outside of smoothies.
Making your own smoothies is by far the most superior option in terms of getting the most nutrition. But if you need something to grab and go, then hopefully my article have convinced you that even though bottled smoothies aren’t the best in terms of nutrition profile, they are still miles ahead of options like chocolate milk and sodas!
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