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Are Starbucks’ smoothies healthy?


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Photo: Starbucks
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First Jamba Juice brought green juice to malls everywhere, and then in 2015, Starbucks, Evolution Fresh, and Dannon rolled out a line of three yogurt-and juice-based smoothies. The launch came on the heels of a pilot smoothie program, which Starbucks debuted the summer prior in a couple cities.

The collab set the tone for a whole new secret menu of healthy drinks (what, you didn’t know?), and while Evolution Fresh has become a mainstay in the coffee chain’s refrigerated section, the smoothies on the menu now are now solely crafted by Starbucks. So how do they measure up nutritionally? Keep reading to find out.

Are Starbucks smoothies healthy? Keep reading to find out.

Originally posted April 5, 2015. Updated February 13, 2017.

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Starbucks chocolate smoothie
Photo: Starbucls

How the chocolate smoothie measures up

Starbucks is known for its decadent drinks, so it’s no that surprise one of their two on-the-menu smoothies is chocolate flavored. As you might expect, that kind of sweetness comes with a big serving of sugar: 29 grams in a grande, to be exact. (And that’s when ordering an almond milk base. Going nonfat brings the sugar content up to 34 grams.)

But there’s good stuff packed inside, too. Made with banana, fiber powder, and whey protein, a grande chocolate smoothie also has 20 grams of protein and eight grams of fiber. (As a rule of thumb, you should aim for 50 grams of protein a day if you’re not very active, 75 grams if you’re moderately active, and 100 or more to put on muscle, according to nutritionist Lauren Slayton of Foodtrainers. Also in this smoothie: 20 percent of the recommended daily dose of calcium, 20 percent of iron, and 15 percent of the daily recommended requirement of vitamin C.

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Starbucks strawberry smoothie
Photo: Starbucls

How the strawberry smoothie stacks up nutritionally

Not a chocolate person? Starbucks also offers a strawberry smoothie option, made with banana, strawberries, and a whey, fiber, and protein powder blend. But this one has even more sugar than the chocolate one. Though much of the sugar is natural, not added, a grande with almond milk has 40 grams of it. (One with nonfat milk has 41 grams.) It’s also lower in protein (14 grams) and fiber (seven grams).

The verdict? If you’re trying to cut out sugar, going off the menu is your best bet, but if you’re trying to decide between the two, the chocolate smoothie comes out on top, nutritionally.

Speaking of strawberry smoothies, not all fruit is created equal in the sugar department: find out where your favorites stack up or opt for filling your blender with just veggies.

 

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