Is Jamba Juice Actually Healthy?

Jamba Juice sells fruit smoothies blended with some real fruit, which, in theory, should make them healthy — right? After all, you're drinking multiple servings of fruit. Unfortunately, that's not enough. The method used to prepare fruit has an effect on the amount of sugar processed by your body, and blending fruit into a smoothie actually increases the sugar level substantially.

Fiber is a key component of fresh fruit, but a smoothie contains less fiber than actual fruit. Without the actual fruit, you are essentially drinking sugar, the same way you would be if you drank soda. Smoothies do contain more fiber than fruit juices, but not by a significant amount, and worse yet, not all the smoothies are even made from whole fruits (via Good Housekeeping).

An example of this is the watermelon smoothie, which Jamba Juice lists as having a "watermelon juice blend" as the main ingredient. That means the watermelon smoothies have juice, not fruit, as the main ingredient. As a result, you are drinking more sugar and less fiber than you would if you ate actual pieces of watermelon.

To put this in perspective, two cups of watermelon have 18 grams of sugar, while two cups of the Jamba Juice Watermelon Breeze Smoothie, equivalent to their size small, contains 58 grams of sugar.

Is Jamba Juice bad for you?

The popular smoothie chain has actually faced a lawsuit because of their health claims. A class-action suit in 2018 alleged that Jamba Juice tricks consumers by advertising "whole fruit and vegetable" smoothies even though they actually frequently use juice blends made from juice concentrates (via Center for Science In the Public Interest).

This doesn't necessarily mean that Jamba Juice is bad for you. The smoothies are made with some whole fruit and don't contain a lot of added sugar. Instead, they concentrate the natural sugar in the fruit while removing the other parts (the healthy parts) like fiber, and the vitamins and minerals. The remaining part is used to sweeten the smoothie. Basically, Jamba Juice is removing the nutritional value from the fruit. There's nothing in the smoothie that is super bad for you, but that is not the same as being healthy.

Another area where Jamba Juice can be misleading is when it comes to green juice. Many people just assume it has green leafy vegetables, so it must be healthy. However, many green juices have another fruit (such as apples or strawberries) added to sweeten them and make them more palatable. This means that green juice often has the same problem as any fruit smoothie — it contains large amounts of sugar.

Jamba Juice tastes good and should be enjoyed as a treat once in a while. It probably shouldn't be consumed every day as health food, though.