The Unhealthiest Smoothies in Canada
A smoothie can be a healthy snack, but some, like popular options at major chain restaurants, are packed with sugar—and can still leave you feeling hungry.
We went through five of the most common chain restaurants in Canada to find the worst smoothie and the best smoothie you can get. We based our picks not on one factor alone (like, the smoothie with the highest calories and the one with the lowest), but on their overall nutrition. The healthier ones have a higher amount of the good stuff (like fibre and protein) and a lower amount of the bad stuff (like sugar and more sugar)—while the culprits have the opposite.
Tim Hortons Real Fruit Smoothies
These smoothies (sold at select locations) are low in fat (which, reminder: isn’t necessarily a good thing) and count as a full serving of fruit—but they don’t contain any fibre because the fruit flavour is made up of fruit purée and juice concentrates, not whole fruits. Plus, both flavours contain three added sugars: glucose-fructose (high fructose corn syrup), glucose and molasses.
The culprit: Pineapple Orange Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt, large
This smoothie has 260 calories and 56 g of carbohydrates, mostly from 55 g of sugar. While the yogurt does contribute to 8 g of protein, the calories and sugar content are too high for a snack.
What to order instead: Strawberry Banana Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt, small
This pick contains just 170 calories and has a lower carbohydrate count of 37 g and contains 5 g of protein.
McDonald’s Real Fruit Smoothies
These are sold in two flavours, either with or without yogurt. The fruit is from purée and juice concentrate, with cellulose powder added for fibre.
The culprit: Mango Pineapple Smoothie, large
This smoothie has the highest calorie and carbohydrate counts, with 340 calories and 78 g of carbohydrates, mostly from 72 g of sugar. But it’s not all bad—at least it has 2 g of fibre and 4 g of protein.
What to order instead: Strawberry Banana with Yogurt, small
While the 44 g of carbohydrates this beverage contains is still high, it’s a better choice than the larger, more sugary smoothie above. It also has 3 g of fibre and 2 g of protein.
These smoothies are healthier than most because they’re made with fresh frozen fruit and pure juice. But even fruit-based drinks can pack an unhealthy punch when eaten in large quantities.
The culprit: Nuttin Better, regular
Funky Monkey has 650 calories, 27 g of fat, 68 g of carbohydrates and 39 g of protein, making it more like a meal than a snack—which certainly isn’t a bad thing. But it contains 52 g of sugar, which is more than double the daily recommended amount.
What to order instead: Wildberry Rush, snack
This is the smoothie with the lowest amount of sugar—16 g. It has 90 calories, 0.4 g of fat, 23 g of carbohydrates and 1 g of protein.
This chain offers smoothies made with real fruits and veggies that can be customized to be plant-based (for example, made with oat milk).
The culprit: Orange Dream Machine® Smoothie, large
While this smoothie doesn’t have more calories than other options at Jamba Juice (it has 530, while the PB + Banana Protein Whey Smoothie has 830), it doesn’t contain any fibre either, making it lack in nutrition. It also has more sugar than any other smoothie on the menu—a whopping 108 g.
What to order instead: PB + Banana Protein (Pea) Smoothie, small
This pick may not be for someone who’s watching their caloric intake—it has 480 calories. But it contains some fibre (5 g) and a lot of protein (33 g), so it’ll keep you fuller for longer. Plus, it has less sugar than any other smoothie on the menu (30 g).
Most of this chain’s smoothies contain natural frozen fruit with no added sugar.
The culprit: Cocoa Nut, large
This pick isn’t necessarily bad—it’s just more like a meal (but with a lot of sugar—37 g). It contains 400 calories, 71 g of carbohydrates, 13 g of fat, 8 g of protein and 3 g of fibre.
What to order instead: Green Glow, regular
This 240-calorie beverage doesn’t contain the fewest calories on Cultures’ menu (try Blue Spartan for that) but it has a low amount of the bad stuff (sugar, 22 g) and a high amount of the good stuff (fibre, 6 g, and protein, 8 g).
Next, check out our best smoothie recipes so you can make them at home.