Tropical Smoothie Cafe is a popular smoothie chain that offers a wide variety of refreshing blended fruit drinks. One of their most popular smoothies is the Kiwi Quencher, made with kiwi, strawberries, and lemonade. But how much sugar does this seemingly healthy drink contain?
The Ingredients in Kiwi Quencher
According to the Tropical Smoothie Cafe website, the Kiwi Quencher smoothie contains the following ingredients:
The full nutrition facts for a 20 oz Kiwi Quencher are:
|Nutrition Facts||20 oz Kiwi Quencher|
|Total Fat||0 g|
|Total Carbohydrate||64 g|
As you can see, the Kiwi Quencher smoothie packs a whopping 56 grams of sugar in a 20 oz cup. Where exactly does all that sugar come from?
Sugar in Kiwi
Kiwis are known to be a relatively low sugar fruit. One whole kiwi fruit contains about 15 grams of natural sugar. Since the Kiwi Quencher smoothie does not list exactly how much kiwi is used, it’s hard to determine the exact amount of sugar coming from the kiwi alone.
However, most smoothie recipes call for around 1 whole kiwi per serving. If we estimate that a 20 oz Kiwi Quencher smoothie contains approximately 1 kiwi, that accounts for around 15 grams of the total sugar content.
Sugar in Strawberries
Strawberries are also naturally low in sugar compared to other fruits. One cup of sliced strawberries contains around 7 grams of sugar. Again, the exact amount of strawberries in a Kiwi Quencher is unknown, but a standard smoothie recipe would likely call for around 1 cup of sliced strawberries per serving.
If the Kiwi Quencher contains 1 cup of strawberry slices, that would contribute approximately 7 grams of sugar to the total sugar content.
Sugar in Lemonade
Here is where the bulk of the sugar in this smoothie comes from. Although the type of lemonade is not specified, a 20 oz serving of regular commercially made lemonade can contain 50-60 grams of added sugar. This accounts for the majority of the whopping 56 grams of sugar found in a Kiwi Quencher.
Some quick facts on the sugar content of popular lemonade brands:
- Minute Maid Lemonade – 52 g sugar per 20 oz
- Simply Lemonade – 60 g sugar per 20 oz
- Pink Lemonade – 51 g sugar per 20 oz
- Santa Cruz Organic Lemonade – 52 g sugar per 20 oz
As you can see, even though the Kiwi Quencher contains some natural sugars from fruit, the huge added sugar content comes from the lemonade used in the blend. A 20 oz serving of commercial lemonade can contain 50-60 grams of added sugar – which accounts for almost all of the 56 grams of sugar in the smoothie.
How Much Sugar is Too Much?
According to the American Heart Association, the maximum daily amount of added sugars for adult women should be no more than 25 grams. For men, the maximum is 36 grams per day.
This means the 56 grams of sugar in a 20 oz Kiwi Quencher is more than twice the recommended daily amount of added sugar for women, and about 1.5 times the limit for men. Even with the natural sugars from the fruit, this is still an excessive amount by any standard.
For comparison, here are the amounts of sugar in some other popular beverages (based on 20 oz serving sizes):
|Beverage||Grams of Sugar|
|Mountain Dew||77 g|
|Red Bull||56 g|
|Starbucks Bottled Frappucino||59 g|
|Naked Juice ( berry blast )||56 g|
|Snapple ( kiwi strawberry )||48 g|
As you can see, while the Kiwi Quencher may seem like a better option than soda or energy drinks, it actually contains just as much sugar as many of them.
Alternatives and Substitutions
If you want to enjoy a Kiwi Quencher smoothie but avoid the huge sugar spike, there are a few simple substitutions you can make:
- Use fresh squeezed lemon juice instead of lemonade – this eliminates 50-60g of added sugar
- Use plain, unsweetened almond milk instead of lemonade
- Add Greek yogurt for creaminess instead of lemonade
- Use a natural zero-calorie sweetener like stevia instead of lemonade
- Add avocado for creaminess and cut back on the lemonade
Making one of these simple swaps can easily turn the Kiwi Quencher into a much healthier smoothie option.
Making Your Own Lower Sugar Kiwi Smoothie
If you want to enjoy the flavor of kiwi and strawberry together in a smoothie without the massive sugar content, it’s easy to make your own lower sugar version at home. Here is a simple recipe:
- 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
- 1 tbsp Greek yogurt
- 3-5 ice cubes
- 1 tsp honey or stevia (optional for sweetness)
- Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
- Blend until smooth and creamy, about 60 seconds.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
This easy homemade version contains natural sugars from the fruit and dairy only. No added sugars needed! You can also adjust the portions to achieve your desired sweetness and consistency.
While it may seem innocent enough, the popular Kiwi Quencher smoothie from Tropical Smoothie Cafe actually contains a shocking 56 grams of sugar in a 20 oz serving – more than twice the daily recommended amount for women!
The huge sugar content comes primarily from the lemonade used in the smoothie, as commercial lemonade can pack 50-60 grams of added sugar per serving. The natural sugars from the kiwi and strawberries make up a relatively small portion.
To enjoy the tasty flavor of kiwi and strawberries without the sugar overload, you can ask for substitutions at Tropical Smoothie Cafe or easily make your own lower sugar version at home. Paying attention to added sugars, even in “healthy” smoothies, is important for maintaining good nutrition and health.