On Friday, I revealed some of my smoothie secrets. After I wrote the post, I saw an ad for McDonalds New Real Fruit smoothies. My initial thought was that one shouldn’t need to use the word “real” before fruit unless you are McDonalds. My next thought was that all smoothies aren’t created equal and the cup full of nutrition I had blogged about was many, many golden arches away from these suspiciously pink “real fruit” drinks. Before jumping to conclusions or rather to support the conclusions I had already made I did a little digging.

One multiple McDonalds franchise owner reported he was “selling the dickens out of the new smoothies.” And sales were so brisk in certain parts of the country that McDonalds cancelled a free giveaway of the beverages. After all, why give away what you can get good money for, right? Hearing that the beverages were selling well only secured my suspicions. As we know, in this country sweet sells. So just how sweet are these smoothies? A small, Wild Berry Smoothie has 44 grams of sugar. A cup of blackberries or strawberries has 7 to 8 grams which makes the 44 grams seem very “wild” indeed. If 44 grams doesn’t mean anything to you that’s 11 teaspoons of sugar, over ¼ cup, equivalent to 6 popsicles, 10 grams more than the same size frappaccino, it’s a ton. Hmn, how come there’s more sugar in a 16oz smoothie than in 7 cups of fruit? Well, because there’s sugar added to the “real” fruit purees and “real” fruit juices and a lot of it.

Is there anything good about these smoothies, any nutrition with that sugar? To be honest, there are 3 grams of fiber in the small smoothies. A cup of blackberries has 7 grams of fiber but 3 is something. And if this fiber came from the fruit I would be happy but there’s cellulose powder and xanthan gum listed in the ingredients both of which could comprise these 3 grams.

There is some confusion over these smoothies. Message boards alluded to the fact that Innocent Drinks (another name I’m not thrilled with) provided the ingredients to McDonalds. Innocent drinks advertise that there is nothing artificial about their beverages and make a lot of healthy claims. It seems, I could be wrong, that in the U.S. Innocent Drinks are not the source of McDonalds smoothies. In any case, sugar is “natural” as is fruit juice and I just don’t think it needs to be present in diabetic-coma inducing amounts. So I dug, I researched, I even entered the “fruitiverse” on McDonalds website and I’m not convinced. I like the universe and homemade smoothies better.
Have you tried these? I’d love to hear from someone who has. What do you think is the most disturbing part of this? The language in the ad suggesting “real fruit”? The amount of sugar in a seemingly healthy menu item? The cancellation of the free give away?

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