If you like trying out different store-bought healthy drinks then it’s quite likely that you have heard of the Odwalla company, as they are well known for their smoothies, juices, and protein drinks. Their relatively recent rise to fame is because of their product line consisting of “healthy bottled fruit smoothies”, as well as superfood fruit smoothies. But are these smoothies healthy yet alone super? We’ll explore this question in this article.
Analysis Of The Content Odwalla Healthy Smoothies
The best way for a consumer to know about the quality of the product is by scanning the label. So, that exactly where we start.
To summarize, Odwalla Healthy Smoothies contain:
- fruit concentrates (the main ingredient)
- no fat,
- contains sodium and potassium,
- a significant percentage of carbohydrates (63g),
- a small amount of protein (2g), and
- fibers (1g),
- vitamins like Vitamin A, C, E, and B, depending on the fruit concentrates used.
All well and good so far.
- Each bottle does contain some amount of vitamins, which is positive. But depending on these to fulfill your vitamin, protein, or fiber requirements will be misguided as they are present in low amounts.
- Most ingredients are natural, so it seems safe to be consumed for most people.
As with most of the store-bought drinks, the juice used in these is actually juice concentrates. Juice concentrates are basically the fruit substances that stays behind once the water is extracted from the fruit juice. Commercially there are a lot of benefits of using a fruit concentrate; most notable is the fact that it significantly increases the shelf life of the “fruit”.
However, there are some inherent downside to using concentrates Quite often sugar is used to give sweetness to the concentrate. It’s likely why we see such a huge amount of sugar (57g) in the drink. Additionally, in order to get this concentrate, different chemicals or processes may be used, destroying some of the essential vitamins and minerals that will have been present if eaten fresh. We can never know what these “chemicals” and “preservatives” are. There are all different kinds of preservatives that are approved by the FDA, but so far we know that not all preservatives are okay to our health. Some are, in fact, really damaging to our system. Without knowing which preservatives are used, we can never truly know how safe a product is especially for regular, heavy consumption.
Are Odwalla Healthy Smoothies Healthy?
So, is it healthy? We would say no considering the sugar content. Sure it is vegan, pasteurized, and gluten-free but consuming these smoothies frequently will most surely add inches to your waistline. As a drink, especially considering the quantity in the bottle, it contains a lot of calories. Coupled with the already high calories in the Standard American Diet, this all makes for a very bad relationship.
The ill-effects of a high-calorie diet cannot be understated and are not immediately visible. Thousands of studies have demonstrated that obesity is positively correlated with an increased risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases, and even cancer. Having a drink contain 57g of sugar even though are “no added sugars” in it utterly ludicrous. This is higher than almost any can of commercially bought soda on the market today. For perspective, the 260 calories contained in this drink is equal to the calorie content of a hamburger!
On average, an adult requires 2000 calories per day (can be lesser for women). If you drink 1 of these per day on top of your regular diet, you will be consuming an excess of 1820 calories a week. This will cause you to gain about half a pound every week! Not good at all and not healthy by any means
Are Odwalla Smoothies Healthy As a Meal Replacement
Replacing Odwalla Smoothies with an actual meal is out of the question.
They do contain some good vitamins and some essential minerals in some quantities, but that’s not enough. You also need other essential micronutrients to thrive.
They have negligible of other essential nutrients like fats and proteins. They have trace amounts of calcium and phosphorus which is extremely necessary for proper functioning. If you do this occasionally, this might not be a big deal. But if you choose to do this frequently, assuming that drinking these are akin to you having a smoothie for breakfast or dinner, then this where the problem lies.
If you want to have a smoothie for breakfast, make one fresh smoothie at home. This way you will get the actual vitamin and mineral content of that fruit, as well as a good amount of fiber that will keep you full for a long time. In addition, you will be able to add in healthy fats and protein options to make for a balanced meal.
Is Odwalla Zero Healthy?
If you examine the label of an Odwalla Zero drink, you’ll see there is zero added sugar. But that does not equate to zero calories. In Odwalla Zero drink, instead of regular sugar they have used sugar alcohol, approximately 12g depending on the flavor you get.
Sugar alcohols have gained popularity as a sweetening agent because they are good sweetening agents with much lesser calories when compared to normal sugar. They are a hybrid of sugars and alcohols (not ethanol). But unlike other artificial sweeteners, they do contain some amount of calories. Sorbitol, xylitol, and erythritol are some common examples of sugar alcohols.
Therefore, the total calorie content of Odwalla Zero drink is only 110 calories as opposed to 260 calories from Odwalla Smoothies.
So, in comparison to Odwalla Smoothies, they are healthier. It’s still not zero calories, but it’s relatively better. If you are monitoring your calorie intake, this might be a better option for you.
Healthy Alternatives to Odwalla Smoothies
1. Home-Made Smoothies, and Juices
Frankly, why not prepare a smoothie that you know is made fresh fruits with no (or little) sugar? All you need to do is pick up your favorite fruit and blend it with milk and/or water.
Making your drink at home allows you can control the sugar in the drink. Since you are using the whole fruit, you get a better quantity of fibers and the other vitamins and minerals present in the fruit.
Yet another healthy option is tea. It does contain caffeine, and you should be cautious of it. But it does have a lot of health benefits too, and you can prepare it yourself, blending your favorite herbs with your tea. The flavors can be endless, and they are quite affordable.
3. Fruit-Infused Water
If you are only looking forward to a little bit of flavor in your water, then this can be a great option for you. Chop up your favorite fruit and put in your water container, and let it sit for some time with water. The juices of the fruit will naturally diffuse in the water, leaving behind a nice flavor and natural sweetness.
If you are set on having a commercially produced drink, then Bai is a rather healthier option. It comes in a lot of flavors. It also contains a little bit of caffeine in it, so you need to be mindful of how much you are consuming it. But it doesn’t have any sugar in it, as they use stevia instead of sugar.
You can read about the analysis of Bai over here.
Is Odwalla Smoothies Healthy? Well, they are safe to drink, but they do not make a good health drink considering how much sugar they have. We can’t expect commercially produced drinks and foods to be 100% additives free, because they need to be preserved to allow for a reasonable shelf life. If you are craving a smoothie, it is most certainly healthier to get one that is made from fresh fruits.