The practice of “juicing” has gained recent popularity amongst many health-conscious consumers who use fresh-pressed juices as meal replacements or as part of cleansing diets. The recent trend has not gone unnoticed by big business. Recently, Starbucks has jumped aboard the bandwagon by absorbing Evolution Fresh, Inc. and opening up its very first juice bar in Bellevue, Washington. You might’ve noticed their bottled juices on the shelves of your local Starbucks.
The move was aimed at launching Starbucks into the $50 billion health food market. Starbucks is surely one of the more savvy and well-marketed companies in terms of cafes, but is there any merit to their new claims of healthiness and freshness? Usually when big businesses jump on a new health trend, the resulting products are not very healthy. Remember when fiber became all the rage? We are still dealing with the aftermath at our local grocery stores where so many products are indiscriminately labeled with things like “high fiber” and “whole grain”. Don’t make the mistake of falling for gimmicky nutritional claims. Learn to evaluate the list of ingredients for yourself to determine if something is healthy or not.
The new juices that Starbucks is offering seem to be minimally processed and contain whole ingredients for the most part. However, this varies from juice to juice. For example, the Essential Greens contains nothing but celery, cucumber, spinach, romaine, wheat grass, lime, and clover sprouts while the Protein Power contains things like soy lecithin and soy protein isolates, and weighs in at a whopping 56g sugar per 15.2oz bottle. Other juice blends have added sugars like agave nectar and cane syrup.
Even the minimally refined juices have huge downsides. A 16oz “hand-crafted” drink will cost you $7.99 at the new stores. Also, while whole ingredients are always better, they can still make for an unhealthy product. The Organic Orange Juice contains 52g of sugar per 15.2oz bottle. That much sugar in a drink is bad for you, regardless of where the sugar comes from. Eating one or two REAL oranges will have you spending a fraction of the price while feeling more full and nourished.
While Evolution Fresh juices aren’t as bad as, let’s say Jamba Juice, there are much better alternatives. Do not fall for the marketing ploys that trick so many consumers today. Take the time to really look at what goes into the products you buy and how they are made. Or better yet, get the “full experience” out of all your food by cooking for yourself more often and eating real fruits and vegetables (not bottled ones!).
My Top 10 Organic Vegetable List
- Romaine Lettuce
- Dandelion Greens
- Brussels Sprouts