Smoothie Wars, Taste vs. Nutrition

FRESNO, Calif. Tommy and James O'Brien had 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.

Consumer Reports also had taste testers sample the smoothies, and its food experts evaluate nutrition. Some are fruit-based. Others are dairy-based.

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

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.

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.

With any of these smoothies, it's important to 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!

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.

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