Just how healthy are Tim Hortons smoothies?

Tim Hortons markets its new ‘healthier’ beverages as having ‘real fruit.’ Does sugary juice count?

Smoothie operator

Photography by Andrew Tolson

Since March, Tim Hortons has adorned its coffee shops with gigantic pictures of bananas, strawberries and other berries for the launch of its “healthier” snack: Real Fruit Smoothies. Available as mixed berry or strawberry banana, they contain only 130 calories (for a small serving), and half a cup of fruit (equal to one of the seven to 10 servings doctors recommend adults consume every day). A closer look at nutritional values, though, reveals the drinks contain no fibre or protein, which means that there is no fresh fruit actually being thrown in the blender, says registered dietician Nicole Springle.

In fact, the “real” fruit comes from purees and juices, confirms a Tim Hortons spokeswoman. That doesn’t have the same health benefits of the fresh stuff, says Springle, because those purees and juices don’t come with the fibre and protein that help slow down the pace at which we assimilate the sugar that fruit naturally contains. Hortons’ Real Fruit Smoothies have 30 grams of sugar. That’s more than the sugar content of any Tim Hortons doughnut.

The marketing of healthy beverages has been a controversial issue. Unsubstantiated claims, from the wildly unlikely ones promising help with heart disease, erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer, to the simple “healthy” label placed on certain drinks, have attracted a slew of lawsuits against the food industry. In January, a British advertising watchdog banned Coca-Cola from using the word “nutritious” to market its sports drink, Vitaminwater. The company has landed in court in the U.S. and Canada as well over Vitaminwater’s marketing. The drink allegedly contains about 30 grams of sugar, as much as a Tim Hortons’ Smoothie.

Hortons’ Smoothies remain a healthier choice than one of its maple dip or sour cream glaze doughnuts, and certainly a good alternative to carbonated soft drinks, because at least the smoothies have some vitamin C, according to Springle. In sum, they are indeed “better for you”—if you consider all those sugary soft drinks and sports drinks on the market today.




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Just how healthy are Tim Hortons smoothies?

  1. Don't worry…they taste great.

    • Tried one. Tastes like sugar water! Conclusion: CRAP!

  2. Let us be really clear: to be healthy, no one should drink juice. Period. Rick Gallop's amazing "G.I. Diet" points out the common sense fact that when eating a piece of fruit your body expends energy to break down the cells and get to the sugar. In juice, the massive amount of sugar is directly ingested. Adult-onset diabetes is almost entirely preventable, and directly attributable to high-sugar drinks such as soda, and yes… juice.

    Skip Timmies, support our farms in Ontario, Quebec, and BC, and just EAT AN APPLE.

    • Don't forget the Maritimes

  3. Coffee is the only thing I would ever buy there.

  4. i rather have fresh squeezed juice…while watching the sun rise up and enjoying a nice hot breakfast…anyways yeah the smoothies are fine but like i said i rather have fresh juice

  5. I actually like their smoothies. What the article fails to mention is that you can add yogurt, which does contain beneficiary protein(s).

    Some 'registered' Dietician, Nicole Springle is. If you are going to criticize a line of beverages for being unhealthy, make sure you include all of the beverages in that line in your study. Don't leave out the ones that may counter your argument!

  6. I don't drink store-bought juices anymore. Haven't had one in a few years! I prefer making my own smoothies and shakes at home. No sugar needed. Nothing like fresh fruit!! All people have to do is stop being lazy.

  7. The worst "Real Fruit Smoothies" ever, nothing's REAL in those drinks.

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