The One Beverage You Should Never Buy From Stores Because It Has So Much Added Sugar

When browsing the grocery store, there are some things we should all steer clear of when taking care of your overall health: salty potato chips, sugary pastries, processed frozen meals… But not all products that are bad for us are so easy to eat differentiate. In fact, there’s one deceptively unhealthy drink in particular that experts are warning you should think twice about putting in your shopping cart: smoothies.

To learn more about this surprisingly sugary drink and the health risks it poses, we spoke to experts Julie Cunningham, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE, IBCLC and Dr. Amy Lee, board certified in internal medicine, medical nutrition and obesity medicine, and partner of Nucific. They shed some light on the astronomical sugar content and lack of nutritional benefits. Find all of her insights below!

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Naked juice smoothies on store shelves


Processed smoothies like Naked Juice

On the surface, every smoothie may seem healthy. After all, they’re packed with fruit—and fruit is always good for you, right? But unfortunately, many smoothies and juices sold in grocery stores are also packaged with added sugar, which generally negates the low nutritional value the drinks offer.

For example, Lee tells us that Naked’s Green Machine contains 53 grams of sugar. Oops! “It’s as bad as taking a can of Coke,” she warns. And this green drink isn’t the only one that’s high in sugar. “There’s a whopping 44 grams of sugar in a 15-ounce Naked Strawberry Banana Smoothie,” Cunningham points out.

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According to Cunningham, the contents of this smoothie are “equivalent to eating a large banana and about 15 strawberries.” While that might sound like this smoothie is a great source of nutrients and fruit, one of the main issues (besides all the sugar) is a lack of fiber. While whole fruits are typically packed with fiber, which Cunningham notes “helps you feel full, slows digestion, and keeps your blood sugar from spiking too quickly,” all of that is lost when making these smoothies.

Naked juice smoothies at the grocery store


Lee agrees, noting that for a drink labeled “green,” the Green Machine strain offers “absolutely no fiber” and is actually loaded with unhealthy ingredients like apple juice from concentrate.

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So how might drinking these beverages to excess affect your health? “Over time, too many calories from juice (or any other food/drink) leads to weight gain, and that can lead to other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes,” explains Cunningham. “That’s why I recommend limiting juice servings to about 4 ounces per day or not drinking juice at all.”

A healthy alternative that Dr. Lee suggests is to reach for fresh, cold-pressed juices instead. If you’re really up for the challenge, you can even make your own at home – your body will thank you!