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Top rated smoothie drinks in taste, nutrition

April 20, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Smoothies are getting increasingly popular, racking up more than $150 million in sales a year, but are they really good for you and which ones taste best? Food Coach Lori Corbin has the report card from a Consumer Reports test on the top selling brands. Tommy and James O'Brien have a fun job. They're among the 34 kids who helped Consumer Reports test smoothies, the kind you can have with lunch or for a snack.

"I like the taste," Tommy concluded about one smoothie he tasted.

Consumer Reports also had other taste testers sample the smoothies and had food experts evaluate nutrition. Some smoothies are fruit based while others are dairy based.

"Ounce per ounce, the fruit based smoothies had slightly fewer calories than the dairy based," said Amy Keating of Consumer Reports.

But not all were nutritional winners.

"One of the benefits of eating whole fruit is dietary fiber, but Naked Berry Blast says it has zero grams of fiber. You want to choose a smoothie with at least three grams of fiber per serving," said Keating.

Also, SunnyD Smoothie Strawberry Swirl says that it has "as much calcium and vitamin D as milk."

"But it has 30 grams of sugar in an eight-ounce glass. So it's not a good substitute for milk," said Keating.

When it comes to taste, Consumer Reports recommends the dairy-based Lifeway Lowfat Kefir Strawberry. It's a good source of calcium and protein.

Among fruit-based smoothies, top scores went to Bolthouse Farms Berry Boost Blend, which is 100 percent juice. It has four grams of fiber and lots of vitamin C.

With any of these smoothies, check the serving size. Often they contain more than one serving, so if you drink the whole bottle, you're getting a lot more calories than you think.