Is the Juice Bar as healthy as it claims?

Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 2.30.19 PM.pngIf you’ve been at Evansdale Crossing, you may have heard of, seen, or were at a customer at the Juice Bar-also known as I Love Juice Bar. This cafe (located on the 5th floor) serves healthy juices, smoothies, and snacks to students that want an alternative to often less nutritional campus options.

For health conscious students, the Juice Bar has been well-received. However, have we been deceived into getting items that aren’t as healthy as we’d think? I sat down with WellWVU nutritionist Cami McMillen to get the facts on some menu options.

Let’s start with some smoothies, which can be a meal swipe for students with a dining plan.

Green Smoothie:  Spinach, Kale, Pineapple, Banana, Lemon, Organic Coconut Milk, Organic Apple Juice

SMALL=   Calories: 270      Protein: 8g           Sugar: 27g

LARGE  = Calories: 360       Protein: 10g         Sugar: 37g

The VERDICT: While this smoothie does have healthy items, it probably won’t fill you up for long.

“Nutritionally, that’s not bad but you would need something else to go with that. That alone would not be a substantial meal. Generally if you shoot for 400-500 calories per meal, that’s on the low end,” McMillen says.

She also says, you would need more protein.

“You typically want 20-30 grams of protein for a meal.”

However, this smoothie can be a good snack.

“You’re definitely getting your fruits and vegetables. You’re getting a little bit of dairy and some  protein from that coconut milk. It’s not a bad choice but I don’t think its going to keep someone full if thats all you’re doing with a meal.”

CoCo Banana: Raw Cacao Powder, Peanut Butter, Banana, Spinach, Coconut Milk

SMALL=  Calories:   470    Protein:  15g         Sugar: 28g

LARGE =   Calories:  670     Protein:   24g       Sugar: 39g

The VERDICT: Cacao powder is made from the bean where coco comes from and actually has a lot of health benefits.

“It’s got a lot of antioxidants and those sorts of things that will help with blood pressure and heart disease.”

The peanut butter also helps with the protein.

“It’s a higher calorie food but its very good nutrition. I eat peanut butter probably every day.”

Not to mention, the large may have just enough to get you through.

“That could be almost like a meal. Again, I think it it depends on the calories needs and how well its going to hold you until you’re next meal.”

Berry Good:   Blueberry, Banana, Cashews, Lemon, and Coconut Milk

SMALL=Calories: 320   Protein: 5g     Sugar: 26g

LARGE= Calories:  440    Protein=7g    Sugar=34g

McMillen says there are good ingredients in this one.

“You’re getting good servings of fruit, you’ve got  good source of protein there.”

However, you may notice greens are missing. Both calories and protein are on the small side.

“If you just had that, you’re probably going to need something else in just a few hours.”

Another thing to think about: With more fruit, there’s always going to be more sugar.

“Fruit is a healthy source of sugar and there not really adding any artificial sugars, but it is a lot…You need a little more protein here to balance it out.”

The Doc: Spinach, Kale, Juiced Apple, Ginger, Mint, Strawberries, Blueberries, Mixed Berries, Banana, Spirulina, Probiotics

SMALL=  Calories:  200       Protein: 6g          Sugar: 28g

LARGE=  Calories: 280         Protein: 8g           Sugar: 39g

The VERDICT: While this smoothie does have a lot of ingredients that can combat the symptoms of various illnesses and possibly reduce their length, McMillen is suspicious.

“I would want to know what probiotic they are using in them.”

Coffee Janet: Raw Cacao Powder, Coffee, Hemp Seeds, Plant Based Protein Powder, Almond Butter, Banana, Organic Almond Milk

SMALL=Calories:   470    Protein:        16g      Sugar: 29g

LARGE= Calories:   720     Protein:      26g        Sugar: 39g

The VERDICT: While McMillen says this one has good ingredients, the calories in the large isn’t worth it.

“That ones a little high. It’s got great protein but calorie wise it’s breaking the budget.”

However, the ingredients do make the smoothie appropriately named.

“You’re just getting a lot of caffeine.”

Acai Bowl: Acai Puree, Banana, Organic, Almond Milk – topped with granola, Almond Butter, Strawberries, Blueberries, Banana, Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Coconut Flakes, Cacao Nibs, Goji Berries, Bee Pollen, Local Honey

The VERDICT: Overall, a pretty well-rounded meal, but it’s important to know your body when it comes to things such as bee pollen.

“The bee pollen strikes me as a little off the wall. Some people who have allergies will do bee pollen to try to desensitize themselves from the allergies on the area. I think if you do have some allergies, you may not want the bee pollen in there.”

Smoothies are just one option the Juice Bar has to offer. True to their namesake, the bar offers a variety of different juices. However, McMillen says there are definite downfalls to these drinks.

“I’m not a fan of juicing. just because you are missing out on all the good things that that whole vegetable or fruit as to offer. You’re missing out on the fiber some of the vitamins minerals, not everything is going to get juiced into that mixture.”

Not to mention, they definitely don’t have the calories for a meal.

“You’re paying a lot of money for something that isn’t going to last.”

The Juice Bar also has “shots,” which can have a variety of ingredients (including essential oils) to improve health. McMillen says these aren’t bad, but it’s important to do your research.

“There’s definitely health benefits. Theres a lot of essential herbs and plants that have great benefits….You just need to do your homework. Know what you’re getting. Know what’s beneficial…Know what you’re putting in your body.”

McMillen also urges customers to keep in mind that some ingredients within the shots can be like a medication, and can interact with medications you may be on.

Overall, the Juice Bar is a good place to go (if you can afford it). McMillen says that ingredients at restaurants within WVU can be deceiving, and to eat healthy, it’s important to know you’re nutrition facts.

You can find all menu items, ingredients, and nutrition facts at the Juice Bar’s website.

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Is the Juice Bar as healthy as it claims?”

  1. Hey Rachel,

    Hats off to you for discovering all of this information. This is a very informative and well constructed post. I think this is definitely something that needs attention. The smoothie is definitely healthy in comparison to other things you can have around Morgantown especially when compared to dining halls. However, it seems it may not be as healthy as people assume. It would be interesting to see how the Juice Bar nutrition facts stack up to those of Smoothie King.

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  2. Rachel,

    I was so excited for this post because people think what they are drinking is actually healthy however, though it is to some extent, natural sugars or not- the sugar intake in one shake is over what we are supposed to consume in a day! I think it is also interesting that you sat down with a professional that helped you with this information and broke it down. I personally have not ordered a shake from there, but a lot of my friends rave about it and how it is “sooooooooooo” healthy for you. I can’t wait to show them your post and let them know that they are not right!

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  3. I thought it was interesting how you broke down what each smoothie is good for and that that there are differences between them. Some can be good for a meal while others can’t. I normally don’t think of people having a smoothie for a meal, but I guess there are some that do.

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  4. Thanks for sitting down with a nutritionist, it’s a great perspective. I had a feeling that those smoothies weren’t as healthy as everyone made them out to be. I like the way you broke everything down, but I think it’s missing a voice from the community. I’d like to know what people who frequent the Juice Bar would think of what the nutritionist said.

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  5. I was actually just thinking about starting to go to the Juice Bar! I’ve never been the best at eating fruits and vegetables and thought maybe juices or smoothies would make them easier, and since it’s just before class it would be convenient for breakfast. It was really informative and helpful to see all of this laid out with the input of a professional.

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  6. I love that you talked to a real nutritionist for this post! That was definitely a strong point. This is also a really great post for your audience – these are things that WVU students want to know. I personally was surprised to see just how much sugar was in some of these drinks, and I was even more surprised that the nutritionist didn’t really comment on it. From fruit or not, 30g of sugar isn’t a good amount to have in a single drink. I also would have been interested to see the nutrition information for some of the juices, as well!

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