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10 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Bottled Smoothies

Smoothie and juice section of grocery store
Smoothie and juice section of grocery store - Hitra/Getty Images

On the surface, smoothies might seem pretty healthy. After all, what could be so wrong with sucking down a drink made with fruit and yogurt? Despite their labels boasting chunks of fresh fruit, many store-bought smoothies are actually made with fruit concentrates and purees. In many cases, the sugar content in these purees and concentrates is shockingly high. On top of that, many smoothie companies add even more sugar to the recipe. For this reason, it's a good habit to always take a closer look at the nutritional labels and ingredients on everything that you're buying. You might be surprised to see how exactly many grams of sugar are contained in some of your favorite drinks, including your breakfast smoothies.

I judged these store-bought smoothies by selecting brands that contained exceptionally high sugar along with low nutritional content. The bottom line is that if you're trying to follow a healthier diet, rather than resorting to store-bought smoothies, you're probably better off eating fresh fruit along with some plain Greek yogurt. A diet rich in fresh fruit and fiber can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and Greek yogurt is full of protein and other essential vitamins and minerals — all while typically being low in sugar. Still, there's a good chance that some of these popular smoothies might make their way into your fridge. Read on to see 10 of the unhealthiest store-bought smoothies.

Read more: The Best Grocery Store In Every State

1. Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Parfait

Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Parfait
Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Parfait - Bolthouse Farms/Walmart

Bolthouse Farms sells a variety of fruit juices, smoothies, salad dressings, and fresh produce.  The company also features seasonal beverages such as bottles of Pumpkin Spice Latte and Watermelon Mint Lemonade. Bolthouse offers smoothie-like parfait beverages and one of its most popular flavors is its Strawberry Parfait flavor.

Let's start with the good news. Bolthouse's Strawberry Parfait is easily one of the most nutritious beverages featured in this list. Packed with high doses of zinc, calcium, biotin, magnesium, and plenty of other vitamins, there's no doubt that when it comes to nutritional value, many other store-bought smoothies pale in comparison to this. And now, buckle up for the bad news: this single 15-ounce serving contains an astounding 45 grams of sugar. To put this amount of sugar into perspective, consider the fact that drinking this smoothie is basically the equivalent (sugar-wise) of drinking a can of Coca-Cola. Sure, this smoothie tastes pretty good and you're getting a solid amount of vitamins and minerals, but there's no denying all of that comes with almost 60% of your recommended dose of sugar for the entire day. Eating some fresh strawberries with oatmeal or plain yogurt would be a much healthier alternative. Or if you want to treat yourself to a little something special, try out our recipe for Strawberry Ricotta Toast.

2. Chobani Strawberry Banana

Chobani Strawberry Banana
Chobani Strawberry Banana - Chobani/Walmart

Chobani is another popular brand that sells several flavors of yogurt, oat milk, smoothies, and creamers. The company has a line of Greek yogurt fruit smoothie drinks that are available in an assortment of flavors. Some of these flavors include Pina Colada, Peach, Mango, and Mixed Berry. Another flavor is Chobani's Strawberry Banana, which is mostly made with low-fat milk, fruit purees, and cane sugar. Although this smoothie contains some calcium and protein, it also contains 15 grams of sugar. If you'd like sugar-free options from Chobani, the company does offer some sugar-free drinks that are with alternative sweeteners like allulose.

As usual, your best bet would probably be just eating some fresh strawberries along with a fresh banana. You can make your fruit spreads more filling and nutritious by mixing in some cashews. Cashews are rich in fiber, protein, and antioxidants. Beyond the nutritious, crunchy cashews can add some nice textural contrast to pieces of fresh fruit.

3. Dannon Strawberry

Dannon Strawberry
Dannon Strawberry - Dannon/Walmart

Dannon has been in the business of making yogurt products since 1942. As a company well-known for its yogurt for generations, it makes perfect sense for Dannon to throw its hat in the ring when it comes to pre-made smoothies. Dannon makes a handful of different smoothie flavors, including Mango, Pina Colada, Strawberry, and Strawberry Banana.

Dannon's Strawberry smoothie is made with reduced-fat milk, fructose, sugar, water, cornstarch, and strawberry puree, among other ingredients. Keeping in mind that ingredients are listed in order of their predominance by weight, it's easy to see that this smoothie has more sugar than fruit. That said, Dannon's Strawberry Smoothie drink has 18 grams of sugar per serving, which is almost 30% of the amount of sugar that's recommended for an entire day. All of Dannon's smoothie flavors contain the same amount of sugar, even if they're made with different fruits. It would be nice if Dannon offered sugar-free options or at least reduced sugar options for its smoothie line.

4. Welch's

Welch's Strawberry Banana
Welch's Strawberry Banana - Welch's/Publix

Welch's is owned by a network of 700 farms, some of which have been in operation since 1879. Welch's is primarily known for its fruit juices, including its grape juice. The company also makes beverages that combine different fruit blends, such as black cherry and concord grape, white grape peach, and mango pineapple.

Welch's also offers a line of snacks that includes chewy fruit snacks, slush pouches, and protein smoothies, among other options. Each of Welch's Protein Smoothies contains 8 grams of protein and there are a handful of different smoothie recipes to choose from. Some of those flavors include Strawberry Banana, Mixed Berry Concord Grape, Peach Mango, Acai Coconut, and Passion Fruit. Welch's Strawberry Banana smoothie pouch is only six ounces, yet it contains 16 grams of sugar — which is a lot of sugar for such a small portion of smoothie. The pouch has a tearable slit near the top so that it can be quickly poured into a separate container (or possibly a blender) instead of just sipping from the spout, so that's pretty cool. But that doesn't detract from the fact that this smoothie is quite sugary.

5. Alpina Oatmeal Cinnamon

Alpina Oatmeal Cinnamon
Alpina Oatmeal Cinnamon - Alpina

Alpina was founded by cheesemakers from Switzerland who decided to open up their business in Colombia. The company specializes in a variety of dairy products, including drinks made with oat milk, dulce de leche caramel spread, and snacks that come with sweet toppings like cereal. Alpina's beverages come in only a few flavors, including strawberry and cinnamon.

Alpina's Cinnamon smoothie is made with milk, water, sugar, oat flour, natural flavors, xanthan gum, salt, and sodium tripolyphosphate. Interestingly, you may notice that cinnamon doesn't appear to be listed in the ingredients, despite this smoothie being marketed as having a cinnamon flavor. Does the taste of cinnamon somehow come from the ambiguous "natural flavors" listed in the ingredients? A simple ingredient like cinnamon shouldn't prompt so much mystery — yet here we are.

Cinnamon mysteries aside, the main issue here — once again — comes down to the sugar content. There are 17 grams of sugar in this beverage and it's only a little over six-and-a-half ounces. In other words, this stuff is quite sugary. It also doesn't really offer much in terms of vitamins and minerals. Between its lack of nutrition and the puzzling absence of cinnamon in the ingredients, we think it's safe to say that it's probably best to steer clear of this one.

6. Lala Strawberry

Lala Strawberry Smoothie
Lala Strawberry Smoothie - Lala/Walmart

A lot of different brands fall under the umbrella of Lala's ownership, such as Promised Land Dairy and Skim Plus. Lala's products include everything from whole milk queso and rice pudding to chocolate milk and Mexican-style sour cream. Lala also makes a variety of smoothies made with fruit and yogurt.

Some of Lala's smoothie flavors include Strawberry, Strawberry Banana Cereal, Pina Colada, and Pecan Cereal. Lala's Strawberry smoothie is low in fiber and vitamins yet high in sugar, containing 18 grams per serving. The ingredients include low-fat milk, water, sugar, strawberry puree, corn fiber, cornstarch, and more. On the plus side, at least this smoothie actually contains the ingredients of the flavors that it's advertising on the label (we're looking in your direction, Alpina). Truth be told, there are better options if you're in the mood for a healthy strawberry smoothie. Pro-tip: try blending a handful of fresh strawberries with a little drizzle of honey, coconut milk, and Greek yogurt instead.

7. Yogurico

Yogurico Guava
Yogurico Guava - Yogurico/Instacart

Yogurico is a drinkable yogurt that's owned by Pura Vida Dairy. The company offers a range of flavors including mango, strawberry, coconut, and guava. Yogurico is typically sold in half-gallon jugs. The half-gallon jugs contain 240 ml, which breaks down into eight servings per container (with each serving being eight ounces). According to the label of Yogurico's Guava flavor, a single eight-ounce serving of this drink contains 20 grams of sugar.

In exchange for all of that sugar, the only significant nutrition that consumers will get is some calcium, Vitamin D, and a little Vitamin A. This drink contains no fiber and no Vitamin C. There's nothing necessarily wrong with enjoying the flavor of this drink — just don't convince yourself that this is a healthy choice or a suitable replacement for fresh fruit. To boost the nutritional profile of this, we'd recommend blending this with a healthy yogurt along with some bananas and chia seeds for some extra protein and fiber.

8. Naked

Naked Blue Machine
Naked Blue Machine - Naked/Walmart

Because this is blended with banana, this drink from Naked is more smoothie-like than most of its other juice blends. Owned by Tropicana, Naked presents itself as a healthy product on its label by showing how many fruits are used to produce the juice in its products. On its Blue Machine label, the company says that each 15.2-ounce bottle was juiced from over three apples, one banana, 27 blueberries, and three blackberries. It's easy to fall under the illusion that with stats like that, this drink must certainly be healthy, right? As usual, the problem here is the mound of sugar in the mix. And with 55 grams of sugar per serving, this stuff has enough to send you off to Candyland on a ferry boat made of snickerdoodles. Okay, maybe not quite that much — but this beverage is definitely on the higher end of the sugary spectrum.

To be fair, this drink from Naked still manages to deliver some impressive vitamins and minerals. A single serving of Naked's Blue Machine contains massive amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, niacin, and Vitamin B. So unlike many other beverages on this list, many drinks from Naked are bolstered with a significant amount of vitamins.

9. GoGo Berry

GoGo Blueberry and Berry pouch
GoGo Blueberry and Berry pouch - GoGo/Walmart

GoGo specializes in making snacks aimed at children. The company is known for selling pouches of pureed fruits, vegetables, and various drinks. The lids have an oversized propeller-like twist on top to simplify the opening process for kids. GoGo makes a line of yogurt-based fruity drinks that basically smoothies for kids.

The good news is that the recipe is pretty simple. The Berry flavor is made with less than ten ingredients, most of which is just milk, sugar, and various fruit puree concentrates. The bad news is that a single meager 3-ounce pouch still manages to pack 12 grams of sugar. That's a considerable amount of sugar for such a small drinkable snack. There's also not very much here in the way of vitamins and minerals; just a little calcium and a little Vitamin D. How long does it really take to run a blender and make a smoothie? A few minutes tops, right? We'd advise making some easy smoothies with fresh fruit for your kiddos, rather than subjecting them to a lot of sugar with practically no nutritional payoff.

10. Noka

Noka strawberry pineapple smoothie
Noka strawberry pineapple smoothie - Noka

Noka makes fruit smoothies that feature some unique ingredients that many other brands don't offer, like flax seeds and brown rice protein. The company refers to many of its beverages as superfood smoothies since they contain ingredients like prebiotic fiber and other ingredients that can potentially benefit health. Some of Noka's smoothie flavors include Mango Coconut, Blackberry Vanilla, Blueberry Beet, and Cherry Acai. Noka also makes Strawberry Pineapple smoothies.

Noka also differentiates itself from many of its other competitors by using certified organic fruit. The company's Strawberry Pineapple smoothie is made with organic bananas, strawberries, apples, and pineapple juice, among other ingredients. While it's great that Noka uses organic fruit and includes healthy ingredients like chia seeds in this smoothie, it still has 13 grams of sugar with very little nutritional value on offer. There are small amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Iron, Potassium, and some fiber, but their numbers aren't impressive or significant. By comparison, eating just a single fresh orange can deliver 100% of your daily Vitamin C with less sugar and carbohydrates.

Methodology

Smoothie in glass jar at store
Smoothie in glass jar at store - Dragos Condrea/Getty Images

The selection process for this list involved analyzing the nutritional labels of different store-bought smoothie brands that are widely available at popular grocery stores. Generally, the smoothies that were considered unhealthiest are the ones that contain a lot of sugar and also lack meaningful nutritional content.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.