This post about what’s gluten-free at Jamba Juice is sponsored by Nima Sensor and contains affiliate links. Please scroll to the bottom of this post to see how you can get $25 OFF a Nima Sensor Starter Kit of your own!
The weather this Labor Day weekend is forecasted to be hot. I personally think a great way to cool off is by sipping on some cold smoothies.
I decided to take my Nima Sensor to Jamba Juice to see if I could detect gluten (or cross contact with gluten) in a few of its menu items. I think a lot of you might have visited Jamba Juice at some point in life, as the smoothie chain boasts 885 locations across 26 states. Did you know that Jamba Juice can be found in several countries (ones that I would have NEVER guessed), including Thailand, South Korea, Philippines, and United Arab Emirates?!?
About the Nima Sensor
A Nima Sensor is a portable gluten-detecting device that allows you to test your food and beverages for gluten before you consume them. Basically, Nima takes the first bite and lets you understand, with a greater level of certainty, if your food is actually free from gluten.
If Nima finds gluten in your food, it will display a “Gluten Found” notice; if Nima does not find gluten, it displays a smiley face.
I write all about the Nima Sensor, its limitations, accuracy of results, and more in this blog post called, What You Need to Know About the Nima Sensor. Take a look at it if you’re seeking more information about this gluten-detecting device.
Before going to Jamba Juice, I reviewed the company’s website and online menu.
I was not only looking for what I could deduct is gluten-free, but also looking at the nutritional value of each item so I could make the best choices when I went there.
Beware of Sugar
It is important that you are aware of the sugar content in these smoothies. Fruit and fruit juices contain a lot of sugar, so if you enjoy even just a small Peach Perfection smoothie (which is an all fruit smoothie), you will consume 42 grams of sugar! A small Banana Berry smoothie contains 59 grams of sugar – gasp!
Even the “Whole Food Smoothies” contain huge amounts of sugar. The Amazing Greens smoothie, which includes super greens in its blend, contains a whopping 54 grams of sugar, too!
What’s Gluten-Free at Jamba Juice
There isn’t much said about allergens on the Jamba Juice website except in the FAQ, where Jamba Juice says that major food allergens are listed on each product description page. I thought this FAQ reply was total BS. When I looked over their smoothie bowls, which contain granola, Jamba Juice did not disclose wheat/gluten is present in their smooth bowls – and granola contains wheat unless GF oats are used.
I reached out to Jamba Juice for more information – and asked them about the inaccuracies in their allergen disclosure statements. This is the reply I received:
We currently do not offer any products that are certified gluten-free. Our granola does not have any gluten-containing ingredients, but is not certified GF. For the smoothie bowls, removing the granola may remove the risk of gluten, but because we handle gluten in our stores, we cannot guarantee any of our products will be completely free of gluten. We advise our customers to make the best decision for themselves based on this information.
It’s also important to note that Jamba Juice uses gluten on its restaurants. Not only does he granola like contain gluten, but Jamba Juice has expanded its menu to include gluteny things like pretzels, cheese breads, and sweet Belgian waffles.
I also found some packaged items that were gluten-free – thank goodness – like Bare apple chips, Bare coconut chips and GoBitos roasted chickpeas.
Nima Testing Jamba Juice
While I feel weary about eating at Jamba Juice because of the misleading allergen statements online, I decided another way I could decide what was safe – or not – was by using my Nima Sensor to test a few items off its menu.
I also felt more assured by the people working in the store. They were very understanding, researched each item, and had an honest conversation with me. Kudos to Jamba Juice for having staff so well trained and knowledgeable!
I did all the following Nima Sensor tests on Facebook Live, and you can see the results unfold in real time in this video:
Here’s what I tested for gluten AND the results of each test as well:
Ginger Greens Smoothie: I searched for the drink that contained the lowest amount of sugar and I finally settled in on Great Greens Juice, a blend of cucumber juice, apple juice, ice, spinach, lemon juice and chia seeds. However, the juicer at the Jamba Juice I went to was broken… so alas, I settled on the Ginger Greens Smoothie. I do not see this smoothie listed on the website, however, but it sounded good (and it was delicious and very gingery).
Wheatgrass Shot: I am reluctant to drink a Jamba Juice wheatgrass shot even though wheatgrass is technically gluten-free. You can read more about why wheatgrass is gluten-free here… basically you’re eating the grass vs. the seed. I think a lot can go wrong in that harvesting process, so I personally won’t drink wheatgrass. However, for the purposes of research, I decided to test the wheatgrass shot with my Nima Sensor.
Watermelon Hydration Bowl: I evaluated all of the smoothie bowls, and found that all of them, except the Watermelon Hydration Bowl, contained granola. As mentioned prior, granola contains oats and unless it is marked “certified gluten-free oats,” I’m not willing to take a chance and eat them – no way! The Watermelon Hydration Bowl seemed like the safest bet. It contains a watermelon juice blend, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, peach, coconut chips, and chia seeds – and no granola.
The watermelon smoothie bowl was okay. The smoothie was rather watery and I’m not sure how it’s much different from a smoothie I’d drink with a straw.
Why I’m Disappointed in Jamba Juice
While I had great service and plenty of options to choose from, I’m still a bit disappointed in Jamba Juice’s online menu and the way it labels allergens. Take for example its Acai Primo Bowl. It contains organic granola, but underneath the ingredient label, under Allergy Information, it doesn’t disclose that it contains wheat/gluten.
Here is a screenshot of what you see when you visit the Acai Primo Bowl page:
Under allergen information, Jamba Juice MUST add wheat/gluten. Unless its using certified gluten-free oats or granola, Jamba Juice cannot continue to label its smoothie bowls this way.
While I understand that Jamba Juice does not claim its smoothie bowls to be gluten-free, it is clearly labeling allergen information and that can be confusing and misleading to someone reading the label thinking these products are safe for them to eat on a gluten-free diet when indeed they are NOT!
Wanna Nima Sensor?
The Nima Sensor is a lifesaver. I am so happy that Nima takes the first bite (or first sip). It just makes me feel better.
If you’d like a Nima Sensor of your own, please visit Nima Sensor online.
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