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11 Unhealthiest Restaurant Smoothies in America

Many of the most readily available smoothies in America also contain the most calories. Steer clear of the picks below if weight loss is among your chief health goals.
11 Unhealthiest Restaurant Smoothies in AmericaCourtesy of Jamba Juice

If you think you’re making the smart choice by ordering a smoothie, think again. Even the healthiest smoothies at major chains contain a worrisome amount of sugar. Starbucks, for example, offers one of the healthiest options, but their offerings contain 41 grams of sugar. Most of that sugar comes from real fruit, but be aware: The World Health Organization recommends that we eat no more than 25 grams per day for optimal health, while The USDA recommends that we eat no more than 50 grams. Keep an eye out for the smooth criminals below and trade them in for the 150+ delicious drinks in Zero Belly Smoothies!

1

Dairy Queen Tripleberry Premium Fruit Smoothie

Dairy queen tripleberry smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Dairy Queen

Large, 24 oz: 460 calories, 1 g fat, 180 mg sodium, 110 g carbs (2 g fiber, 106 g sugar), 8 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 26.5 packets

Somehow the ice cream Queen managed to swell this smoothie with 106 grams of sugar, making it one of the sweetest sips on this list. And since there’s hardly any protein or sugar to counteract the effects, you’re bound to suffer a major crash soon after you finish slurping.

Although the Strawberry Banana Julius would be a relatively good swap as it has the least amount of sugar per serving, it also has the least amount of real food ingredients: It’s mostly “unflavored base water,” dextrose, citric acid, salt, and sodium carboxymethylcellulose.

To slash 50 grams of the sweet stuff from your order (the equivalent added sugar count of what the USDA recommends you have in an entire day) while still getting real fruit and some probiotics, opt for a smaller version of the Mango Pineapple Premium Fruit Smoothie. Curious how all of your other favorite DQ treats stack up? Check out our special report Every Dairy Queen Blizzard—Ranked!!

Drink This Instead:
Mango Pineapple Premium Fruit Smoothie
Small, 8 oz: 250 calories, 0 g fat, 95 mg sodium, 95 g carbs (1 g fiber, 56 g sugar), 4 g protein

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2

Jamba Juice Peanut Butter Moo’d Smoothie

Jamba juice peanut butter moo'd smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Jamba Juice

Large, 28 oz: 980 calories, 29 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 620 mg sodium, 152 g carbs (6 g fiber, 131 g sugar), 26 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 32.75 packets

Yes, we could have chosen to show the medium-size beverage that has a similar volume to all our other picks, but we chose to showcase the absurdity of this large. We’re shocked that Jamba Juice even allows people to buy a smoothie that’s nearly 1,000 calories and 131 grams of sugar. This sip gets such high levels of macros by tossing peanut butter, bananas, vanilla frozen yogurt, and chocolate milk into a blender. If you wouldn’t pound three-and-a-half cans of soda in one sitting, you should be skipping out on this waist-expanding smoothie. Sorry, but you can get more protein for significantly fewer calories and the exact same peanut buttery flavor profile with our Drink This! pick.

Drink This Instead:
PB & Banana Protein Smoothie with Whey Protein
Large, 28 oz: 740 calories, 33 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 390 mg sodium, 76 g carbs (6 g fiber, 64 g sugar), 39 g protein

3

Cold Stone Mango Pineapple

Cold stone creamery mango pineapple smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Cold Stone Creamery

20 oz: 600 calories, 8 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 270 mg sodium, 133 g carbs (1 g fiber, 112 g sugar), 1 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 25.75 packets

Made with “real pineapple,” mango juice, and their “Lifestyle smoothie mix,” which sounds suspiciously like sugar syrup, this is not the kind of lifestyle we’re aspiring to. With 112! grams of sugar, you’d be drinking the liquid equivalent of four Kit Kat bars.

Instead, order the Strawberry Banana flavor—or lose more weight with one of these low sugar fruits. To increase the staying power of your pineapple blueberry smoothie and slow down the absorption of the sugar, ask for a small side of peanuts. (They have them on hand as an ice cream topper.) With 4 grams of protein for just 90 calories per half-ounce, they’re just the addition this drink needs to keep you satiated for hours to come.

Drink This Instead:
Strawberry Banana
20 oz: 480 calories, 9 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 101 g carbs (6 g fiber, 66 g sugar), 2 g protein

4

Smoothie King ‘The Hulk’ Strawberry

Smoothie king hulk strawberry smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Smoothie King

Large, 40 oz: 1,680 calories, 47 g fat (32 g saturated fat), 810 mg sodium, 272 g carbs (67 g fiber, 230 g sugar), 54 g protein

The USDA recommends that we eat no more than 50 grams of sugar a day. Out of 230 grams of sugar in this smoothie, Smoothie King tells us 154 are added sugars, which means that this smoothie breaks through that barrier over three times! Plus, liquid calories are absorbed more quickly than solid calories, because the digestion process is quicker. That’s a sugar rush that will send you flying! Not only will switching to Lean1 Strawberry eliminate nearly 700 calories from your order, it also reels in the sugar count to a far more respectable amount. For even more ways to cut back on the white granular stuff, check out these easy ways to cut back on sugar!

Eat This Instead!
Greek Yogurt Strawberry Blueberry Lean1 Smoothie
20 oz: 320 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), <5 mg sodium, 70 g carbs (7 g fiber, 57 g sugar), 12 g protein

5

Red Mango Pomegranate Smoothie

Red mango pomegranate smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Red Mango

24 oz: 400 calories, 1 g fat (0 g trans fat), 320 mg sodium, 93 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 90 g sugar), 6 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 22.5 packets

Yes, this smoothie has probiotics, but that’s no reason to order it. This smoothie has the sugar equivalent of 10 Fudgsicle Pops. We just have one question: Why does Red Mango add stevia—an all-natural zero-calorie sweetener—to a smoothie with 90 grams of sugar? Do people want it to taste even sweeter? If that’s the case, cut back on the actual sugar count and increase the stevia. (Curious what other “healthy” noms will expand your waistline? We’ve got you covered in our report, 14 “Health” Foods Worse Than a Donut.)

If you simply must order a pomegranate flavor, you’re better off going with “The Pomegranate Protector” off the “Body Balance” menu, which has 400 calories, 76 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein in a 24-ounce cup. But our favorite pick comes from the “Fruit Harmony” menu, which comes with the lowest sugar count of all the smoothies on the menu.

Drink This Instead:
The Strawberry Sonata
24 oz: 230 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (5 g fiber, 28 g sugar), 3 g protein

6

Baskin Robbins Mango Banana Smoothie

Baskin robbins mango banana smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Baskin Robbins

16 oz: 450 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 107 g carbs (3 g fiber, 96 g sugar), 5 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 32 packets

The second ingredient in this healthy sounding sip is sugar, which explains why it contains more of the sweet stuff than five York Peppermint Patties. (Various forms of sugar are also listed as the ninth and tenth most used ingredients in this drink. ) While we typically like to make swap suggestions that have a more reasonable nutritional profile, in this case, we couldn’t swing it. The only other smoothie option at Baskin Robbins is our swap and takes the cake as healthiest smoothie at Baskin Robbins because it’s slightly better than the Mango Banana flavor. Get the Strawberry Banana Smoothie and size down to the 12-ounce cup to keep your love handles from tripling in size.

Drink This Instead:
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
16 oz: 350 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 86 g carbs (4 g fiber, 69 g sugar), 5 g protein

7

Planet Smoothie PBJ

Planet smoothie smoothie cup- unhealthiest, worst smoothies @PlanetSmoothie/Twitter

22 oz: 610 calories, 24 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 250 mg sodium, 89 g carbs (9 g fiber, 53 g sugar), 18 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 13.25 packets

The list of ingredients in this smoothie starts out well (peanut butter—we can get behind that for the protein) and turns sinister (frozen yogurt—what is this, a dessert?). The result is a caloric punch that’s 70 calories more than a Big Mac—and nearly as much sugar as you’d find in a snack size McFlurry with M&M’s candies. It gets even worse if you upgrade to the 44-ounce version. (Also, Planet Smoothie: Why do you offer a size this big?!) Doing so means you’ll consume 1,230 calories (that’s two whole Big Macs), 49 grams of fat (also almost the equivalent of two Big Macs), and 107 grams of sugar (that’s nearly seven McDonald’s Baked Apple Pies).

Ditch the froyo and go with the Chocolate Elvis. It might sound counterintuitive, but you’ll enjoy dessert flavors at a fraction of the calories and sugar if you choose this protein-packed smoothie instead. For more calorie-saving swaps, check out these 25 Ways to Cut 250 Calories.

Drink This Instead:
Planet Smoothie Chocolate Elvis
22 oz: 400 calories, 17 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 78 g carbs (6 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 15 g protein

8

Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine

Jamba Juice orange dream smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Jamba Juice

Medium, 21 oz: 470 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 103 g carbs (1 g fiber, 97 g sugar),10 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 24.25 packets

Perhaps the “dream” in the name is induced by the sugar crash you have shortly after riding this Machine. Built on a base of orange juice, orange sherbet, and nonfat frozen yogurt, this smoothie is a calamitous collision of sugars.

The somewhat similar, but very different, Orange Carrot Karma cuts the calories and sugars significantly, and adds 4 grams of fiber, by swapping whole bananas and mangoes into the mix and using carrot juice as a liquid rather than sugary sherbert. This is one of the lowest-sugar, healthiest smoothie options you can find on the Jamba Juice menu.

Drink This Instead:
Jamba Juice Orange Carrot Karma Smoothie
Medium, 21 oz: 270 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 120 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (4 g fiber, 57 g sugar), 4 g protein

9

Red Mango The Banana PB Protein

Red Mango banana peanut butter smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Red Mango

24 oz: 620 calories, 19 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 520 mg sodium, 94 g carbs (6 g fiber, 72 g sugar), 20 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 18 packets

Aside from the fro-yo, this smoothie sounds like it would be pretty healthy, as it calls for things like banana, peanut butter, flax seeds, granola, and protein powder to round out its flavor profile. But don’t get it twisted; this drink is a prime example of a fraud. A mere half-cup of Red Mango’s frozen yogurt has 12 grams of sugar, and far more than that goes into this drink. Not to mention, granola is one of the most sugary add-ins in smoothie land.

By ordering the Skinny Strawberry option instead, you’re cutting the calorie count over half and getting more naturally occurring sugars in your drink, and less of the added kind, making it the better pick. Plus, you’ll still get a hefty amount of protein. For even more healthy A.M. picks, check out these healthy overnight oats recipes.

Drink This Instead:
Skinny Strawberry
24 oz: 240 calories, 15 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 35 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (4 g fiber, 35 g sugar), 12 g protein

10

Planet Smoothie Grape Ape

Planet smoothie grape ape @PlanetSmoothie/Twitter

22 oz: 480 calories, 0 g fat, 55 mg sodium, 120 g carbs (3 g fiber, 94 g sugar), 0 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 23.5

Taking the cake for highest sugar count per fluid ounce at Planet Smoothie is the “energizing” Grape Ape. Although it has an “energy blast” ingredient, this smoothie will leave you nothing but sluggish after your blood sugar spikes and then crashes after digesting 94 grams of sugar in the 22-ounce cup or a whopping 187 grams of sugar in the 44-ounce version. If you’re looking for a drink to give you long-lasting energy, opt for one with a high fiber, healthy fat, and protein count, like the Nutty Brazilian. And speaking of snacking smart, be sure to stock up on some of these delicious best foods for energy.

Drink This Instead:
Nutty Brazilian
22 oz: 520 calories, 30 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 180 mg sodium, 82 g carbs (10 g fiber, 33 g sugar), 15 g protein

11

Red Mango Mango Melange

Red mango mango smoothie - unhealthiest, worst smoothies Courtesy of Red Mango

24 oz: 410 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 320 mg sodium, 97 g carbs (5 g fiber, 87 g sugar), 6 g protein

Sugar equivalent: 21.75 packets

Drinking this smoothie is the sugar equivalent (technically—it has 7 grams more) of taking down an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s Vanilla. That’s probably because Red Mango’s nonfat yogurt is ingredient number one. The fruit-based Citrus Mango Greens smoothie only uses mango, spinach, banana, and orange juice to create a slightly more balanced sip—plus it has a serving of leafy greens!

Drink This Instead:
Citrus Mango Greens
24 oz: 250 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 40 mg sodium, 60 g carbs (6 g fiber, 46 g sugar), 5 g protein

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published June 27, 2016, and has since been updated to reflect current nutritional values.

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Look, feel and live great while getting on the path to better health with the new Eat This, Not That! Magazine.