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Slurp city

(article, Melanie Mesaros)

The drink fad that emerged more than a decade ago isn't showing any signs of slowing. The country's appetite for concoctions like Peach Perfection or Strawberry Whirl has kept smoothie chains like Jamba Juice growing since 1990. 

“The reason we feel it's so powerful and so strong, it's an intersection of two trends. There are the concerns about fitness and nutrition, plus the increasing time pressure of people trying to do it all,” says Catherine Salloux, Jamba Juice's senior product marketing manager. The chain plans to open 90 more stores this year. 

Whether smoothies are health food or just a sweet treat, however, is debatable. Valerie Edwards, a clinical dietitian with Providence Portland Medical Center in Oregon, says many store-bought smoothies are packed with sugar and leave you hungry a short time later.  

“If somebody is overweight, smoothies often end up as extra calories,” Edwards says. “Liquid calories aren't very filling.”

A small smoothie sold at Baskin-Robbins averages 480 calories, while some of the drinks at Orange Julius ring up more than 600. Jamba Juice recently introduced a line of all-fruit smoothies, made of nothing more than fruit and ice, for those demanding more nutrition. The drinks average 206 calories each, which Edwards says is acceptable. But she warns that it's not just about the calories; fiber and protein are also things to watch. 


h1. Taste treats

For more tips on making your own healthy smoothies at home, check out this article on Yahoo!.

'When you purée berries, you are keeping the fiber in there,” she says. “But with some fruits, like an apple or orange, you lose the fiber when you put it in liquid form.”

Vitamin “boosts,” as they are known to Jamba Juice devotees, can be beneficial, but shouldn't replace the real vitamins gained from eating solid food. 

“I think the trend of supplementing foods with all these vitamins is not good,” Edwards says. “The stuff is getting out of control. You have the water, there's a Coke with vitamins, bars. It's hit or miss.”

So the best smoothie bet may be to make your own. Edwards' own recipe for a nutrient-packed drink includes approximately 160 to 200 calories and 8 to 10 grams of protein:

1 cup high-quality plain yogurt
1 cup frozen fruit, such as mixed berries or strawberries and bananas
Milk as needed
Splenda or other sweetener to taste

Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend away.