Jamba Juice may not be so healthy, says Mother Jones

A Jamba Juice cup and a cupcake.

Mother Jones claims drinking Jamba Juice is not unlike eating a cupcake or two. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Kim Navarre/Flickr)

Fans of Jamba Juice may not find the Feb. 28 Mother Jones report on the fast-food smoothie chain to their taste. Writer Ashley Bates dared to look behind the curtain and see that “all natural” may not be the best way to describe the tantalizingly blended fruit smoothies. According to Mother Jones, Jamba Juice smoothies aren’t even low-calorie.

First McDonald’s oatmeal, now Jamba Juice smoothies

Oh, how the false nutrition idols have fallen before the ax of consumable convenience. First, McDonald’s oatmeal was analyzed and found to be less-nutritious-than-advertised; now Jamba Juice smoothies are in question. If the bulk of Jamba Juice’s creations were simply fruit, ice and skim milk, there would be no problem, but all is not as it seems, writes Bates. The “simple, honest ingredients” Jamba Juice is committed to serving its customers are optimized for high-speed service. According to Jillian Shamoon, a Jamba Juice store general manager, real milk can’t be used with fruit because they “don’t taste good together.” Thus, frozen yogurt and sherbert are the standards in classic smoothies. If a customer wants to go “light,”a “dairy base” containing the artificial sweetener Splenda is used.

Ramping up the calories

Bates says a typical, medium-sized Jamba Juice smoothie like the Mango-a-go-go Classic contains 400 calories. Most other smoothies at Jamba Juice range from 250 to 600 calories. Compare that with the 540 calories of a McDonald’s Big Mac and you quickly discover that you’re in a fast food danger zone. While a smoothie may be a better choice than a Big Mac, says Dr. Alison Field of Harvard Medical School, the fact that most people drink smoothies as snacks or with a meal translates into a high calorie load.

Jamba Juice website remains neutral

As a company, Jamba Juice doesn’t appear to take a stand on whether smoothies should be considered meals. However, there are enough questions about the artificial sweetener Splenda to give any health-conscious person pause. Fields pointed to numerous studies that show people who consume diet sodas with Splenda tend to gain weight anyway.

That’s not all, says Dr. Janet Hull, author of “Splenda Exposed.” Hull says that while more conclusive testing is still needed, there is reason to believe that Splenda and its variants may also lead to disruption of sleep, sexual dysfunction, increased instances of cancer, MS, Lupus, diabetes and other degenerative diseases.


Mother Jones

Splenda Exposed

When you must Jamba, which juice is on the loose?


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