Smoothie survey’s sugar findings hard to swallow

Simon Price with a Wendy's watermelon fruit smoothie.
Simon Price with a Wendy's watermelon fruit smoothie. Sharyn O'Neill

WHEN the sun is glaring and the weather is sweltering, there is nothing better than a cold, refreshing fruit smoothie.

According to Simon Price, the owner of Wendy's in the East St Mall, the majority of customers go bananas for bananas.

"Personally my favourite is watermelon, but banana is always a well-liked choice," he said.

"Recently the fruit smoothies have become a lot healthier. We've taken out a huge percentage of sugar, use real fruit pieces and use 99% fat free yoghurt and ice cream."

But consumer advocate Choice has warned some smoothie outlets around Australia have more than 30 teaspoons of sugar in a serve of the beverage.

Baskin and Robbins yoghurt smoothies are among the worst offenders according to Choice's study of 95 drinks from outlets including Muffin Break, Boost Juice, Donut King, Wendy's, Gloria Jean's and New Zealand Natural.

Among those drinks, Choice found 81 were high in sugar, 13 had more than 1900kJ and five had high levels of saturated fat.

Choice spokeswoman Ingrid Just said while smoothies might have a healthy image, some were packed with hidden sugars like high-fructose syrup and fruit juice concentrates.

"This makes smoothies more like a sugary meal than a snack," she said.

The review found Baskin and Robbins yoghurt smoothies had between 29 and 31 teaspoons of sugar, including concentrated fruit puree, high-fructose syrup and added sugar, as well as artificial flavours and colours.

Five of the Muffin Break smoothies reviewed were high in saturated fat, with each drink having more than 11g of saturated fat a serving.

Boost Juice's super smoothies were made with real juice but were energy dense, with almost 2000kJ for a regular serve, about the same as a meal.

The review found Boost Juice's skinny minnie smoothies were the best Boost Juice option, as they were made with fresh fruit and had fewer kilojoules.

Tips for healthier smoothies

  • Go for smaller serving sizes
  • Look for smoothies made from real fruit rather than juice concentrate
  • Avoid smoothies with added sugars
  • Ask for yoghurt instead of ice-cream
  • Swap a smoothie for a piece of fruit and a tub of yoghurt

Topics:  choice sugar survey

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