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Jamba Juice: Healthy or Not So Healthy?

Are you among the people that consume Jamba Juice products, but wonder if their drinks are healthy and good for their body? If the answer is yes, read on for a detailed explanation of the healthful and not so healthful content in the Jamba Juices and a couple of additional tips.

Jamba Juice is a chain of restaurants that specialize in a selection of juices, smoothies and treats.

Their website says they produce healthy drinks and snacks.

Their smoothies are promoted as nutrient rich with a lot of minerals, vitamins, proteins, fiber, and other essential nutrients. That part is certainly true.

But, can we say that Jamba Juice is healthy? And the short answer is sure, but only if you are wise enough to choose the right ingredients for your refreshments.

In my opinion, there are two things you should be keeping your eyes on: calorie count and refined sugar.

In my opinion, the calorie count is less important. Everybody is counting calories instead of focusing on the right type of nutrient rich food they should eat. The sugar added in the juices is way more important. You should concentrate on that more.


The calorie count

No matter if the juice you are drinking is organic or one hundred percent natural, you have to be aware of the number of calories in it.

For example, let’s consider their Orange supreme™ juice. It is a mix of orange, apple, and carrot juice, bananas, ice, and chia seeds. This juice has 200 calories, but the calorie count is based on the 12-ounce serving size. The 24-ounce size has twice as many, a respectable 400 calories.

Or let’s take their Tropical Colada smoothie, which is a blend of coconut water, coconut cream, strawberries, passion-mango juice and pineapple sherbet. The 16-ounce serving has 320 calories, whereas the larger 28-ounce size has 510 calories.

If the recommended daily calorie intake is around 2000 calories, it is not so hard to see that, if you select the largest serving size, you are essentially taking one quarter of your daily calorie intake.

If that’s the case, your Jamba Juice is a whole meal in itself. Not just a snack. Even if it is super healthy, which may not be exactly true for all of their products.

Concerns related to added sugar

Sugar is good in moderation and only if unrefined, meaning that it has to come from the fruits that enter the composition of the smoothie. Even if coming from fruits, try to limit the amount of sugar as much as possible, because too much fructose can cause a lot of problems in your body. As a general rule a healthy person should limit the amount of fructose to less than 50 grams daily. Some experts even lower the limit to less than 25 grams per day.

If refined, sugar should be avoided at any cost. No discussion about it. And some Jamba Juices and especially smoothies contain this form of sugar. Some have more than 70 grams of sugar, a portion of which is added, refined sugar.jamba-smothie

This type of sugar comes either from frozen yogurt, regular yogurt, sherbet, or sorbet added to the drinks. Some fruit juices, especially those not freshly squeezed, may also contain refined sugar.

To avoid all this, go for the all-fruit drinks, the ones with freshly squeezed fruit juice. The sugar contained there is the healthier natural sugar variety. The Carrot Orange Fusion™ Smoothie is a good example of such smoothies. It contains fresh-squeezed orange juice, fresh carrots, banana, mango, soy milk, Greek yogurt and soy milk. Still, don’t go for the 22-ounce serving size, as having 64 grams of sugar (half of which is fructose) is really too much.

Keep in mind that too much sugar can cause health problems, such as diabetes, hormonal imbalance, cavities, and weight gain.

So, keep your eyes on the added sugar first, and then maybe consider the number of calories as an additional criterion.

The light version

The Light version of their smoothies has calorie count and sugar content reduced by one third compared to the other smoothies. To achieve that, Milk and Splenda are added to the mix. The light drinks include the following Jamba drinks: Strawberry Nirvana®, Berry Fulfilling® and Mango Mantra®. While having obvious advantages, the added Splenda may be a problem. Splenda is a sucralose-based artificial sweetener, and a questionable choice, given that recently it was related to higher risks of developing leukemia. As a result of that, it is hard to tell what brings more harm, the artificial sweeteners or refined sugar. So it is up to you whether you will go for this choice.


My recommendations

Here are some examples what I would order and absolutely recommend:

Wheatgrass shot (2-ounces) Only 15 calories, 2 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram sugar. Absolute healthy, packed with vitamin K. Due to its useful properties wheatgrass juice is my absolute favorite.


Great Greens™ – 22 ounce. Only 210 calories, no saturated fat, 4 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams proteins, and 33 grams sugar. Contains freshly squeezed cucumber juice, lemon juice, apple juice, ice, spinach, kale, and chia seeds.

Maybe I would order also something like the following, but not too often:

Peach Perfection™ 22-ounces. Contains 320 cal, no saturated fat, 0.5 g total fat, 30 mg sodium, 62 grams sugar (way too much sugar to be consumed, even if that’s the only sugar for the day), and 5 grams of fiber.

And definitely I would stay away from something like this:

Peanut Butter Moo’d® Smoothie (22 ounces) Contains 770 calories, 109 grams sugar, 4/5 grams saturated fat and 10 mg cholesterol.

The bottom line

A lot of people associate smoothies and juices with a healthy food. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be so. It all boils down to the type of ingredients you use in the them.

If you have never paid much attention to healthy eating, Jamba Juice may be a good alternative to make a transition to a healthy life style. In that case, your Jamba Juice should replace one whole meal, don’t eat anything else with it.

If  you are obese, have metabolic syndrome, or prediabetes condition, stay AWAY from all combinations of Jamba Juice that contain fructose, either in a form of added table sugar (table sugar is half fructose, half glucose), frozen yogurt, sherbet, sorbet or fruit juice. If  you have either of these conditions, you should be seriously considering limiting your daily fructose intake to 15 grams or less.

If you are someone who is very concerned about healthy eating, use the same ingredients listed on the Jamba Juice webiste and make your own home-made really 100% healthy juices or smoothies without the added sugar.

Photo credits: Photo 1: lgkiii, Photo 2: theimpulsivebuy, Photo 3: jordanfischer, Photo 4: duhdenise.

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