Are Jamba Juice Smoothies Glorified Junk Food?

Inspired by the recent revelation that McDonald's has managed to make oatmeal unhealthy, Mother Jones is going after the Jamba Juice smoothie. Ashley Bates complains that the chain has ruined the blended concoction, which she makes at home with fruit, ice, and skim milk. She writes:

The Jamba Juice website highlights its "natural energy from nutritious ingredients." Yet it's actually impossible to get a smoothie made with a base of plain old real milk: Only soy milk can be substituted for the frozen yogurt and sherbet in the "classic" smoothies, and the light smoothies are all made with a mysterious "dairy base" that contains the artificial sweetener Splenda.

We'll agree that the manager's explanation, "Milk and fruit doesn't taste good together," is ridiculous (tell that to Ben & Jerry's Peach Cobbler ice cream). However, the lack of cow's milk on the menu doesn't necessarily mean the smoothie isn't nutritious. Bates also points out that people drink the smoothies, which are about 400 calories on average, in addition to a meal rather than as a meal. Much like food nibbled on while standing next to the refrigerator, customers seem to have a hard time processing that beverages can contain major calories, but Jamba Juice isn't hiding it's nutritional information. It's true that the company may be portraying itself as healthier than it actually is. However, if you're in the market for semi-healthy fast food, you're probably better off with a fruit and sherbet-based beverage than oatmeal that's the nutritional equivalent of an Egg McMuffin.

Jamba Juice's Mysterious "Dairy Base"

Earlier: In Which McDonalds Manages To Fuck Up Oatmeal