Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Glorified Junk Food

I've written before that junk food is junk food, even if wrapped up in a pretty package and labeled "healthy," "organic" or "natural."

Yesterday, I wrote about McDonalds' oatmeal offering being about as healthy, and lo-cal as a cheeseburger.

Today's revelation is about Jamba Juice.

Yes, I said Jamba Juice, the smoothie dispenser that likes to position itself as the healthy alternative to fast food.

If you think that getting a smoothie from Jamba Juice as a snack is a good idea, well you should read this: http://motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/02/my-beef-jamba-juice

Here's what you should know:

Then there's the fact that a typical medium-sized Jamba Juice smoothie—the Mango-a-go-go Classic—contains 400 calories. Most smoothies from other chains, including Tropical Smoothie and Smoothie King, have similarly high calorie counts. (At all three venues, most drinks range from about 250 to 600 calories.)

For a fast-food meal, 400 calories isn't too bad. "You certainly get some nutrients from it, although you're getting a lot of sugars too," says Alison Field, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School whose research focuses on the epidemiology of weight gain. "If the question is: 'Are smoothies a better option than a Big Mac?' then the answer is definitely yes." (Big Macs contain 540 calories, gobs of saturated fat, and minimal nutritional value.)

The problem, Field says, is that most people aren't drinking smoothies as alternatives to meals. Instead, they're drinking them as snacks, or even with meals, as beverages. Gerry Chiaro is a marketing lecturer at Northwestern University and has worked as a marketing consultant for Tropical Smoothie, McDonalds, and Gatorade. He says getting consumers to regard smoothies as meals would be a tough sell. "Whether Jamba Juice intends to place [its smoothies] as a meal replacement or not, the consumer will perceive them as an on-the-go snack," Chiaro says.

Even more disturbing some of Jamba Juice's smoothies are made with a "dairy base" (what the hell is that) and artificial sweeteners.

Once again, the message is "let the buyer beware." Know before you go.

Nutritional information for Jamba Juice's concoctions are on it's website which you can check out here: http://www.jambajuice.com/component/nutfacts (and you want to take note that quite of few of the offerings come close to 600 calories).

No comments:

Post a Comment