Smoothies have a bit of a mixed reputation. The craze for smoothies has gone big over the last couple of years with them often being named an essential part of any clean eating diet but are they as good for us as we thought?
From drinkable smoothies to the new ‘smoothie bowl’ trend, a lot of us are throwing all sorts of fruits, vegetables, dairy and dairy free alternatives into a blender and assuming we’re making the healthiest choice possible but do you know the ins and outs of your smoothies?
The Truth About Smoothies
There’s no denying that smoothies are a great way to get your 5 a day in but when it comes to all fruit smoothies, they might not actually be as good for you as you thought. Pure fruit smoothies are often low in calories but what you might not have realised is just how high in sugar they are.
For example, one of the most popular shop bought green smoothies contains 17g of sugar per 150ml serving which when you compare that to a 150ml serving of full fat coke, which contains 16.2g of sugar, you get a good idea of just how much sugar these smoothies contain.
There is the argument that smoothies contain natural fruit sugars but they’re still sugars that contribute towards your daily intake allowance and can contribute to the health complications of consuming too much sugar.
Another issue with smoothies is the fact that they contain no chewing and because of this, you can end up consuming more calories and sugars before the body realises it is full, meaning your healthy morning smoothie might not actually be the best start to the day.
How to Make Smoothies Healthier
You don’t have to boycott smoothies from your diet all together but there are some changes you can make to ensure your smoothies are actually as good for you as you thought.
- Always Make Your Own – shop bought smoothies or even takeaway smoothies from juice bars often contain artificial sweeteners and juices containing a high amount of sugar. By making your own, you know exactly what has gone into it and can ensure you know how many calories and how much sugar you’re consuming.
- Swap Some of Your Fruits For Vegetables – one easy way to massively reduce the amount of sugar in your smoothies and actually add in some extra vitamins and minerals is to swap out some of the fruits for vegetables. Spinach and kale are both popular in smoothies and if you’re into juicing your fruit and vegetables, celery is believed to have some great health benefits.
- Avoid Adding Juices – you often need to add a liquid into your blender with the fruit and veg to ensure it is a drinkable consistency and the temptation is usually to throw in some apple or orange juice but this adds in a lot more sugar and often this can be artificial sugar, so avoiding these is essential to a healthy smoothie. Use water, skimmed/soya milk or even a little fat free yogurt.
So, it’s not impossible to incorporate smoothies into your healthy diet but as with all food and drink you consume, you always need to be aware of what you’re eating, what it contains and whether it is actually good for your body.
Do you have any top tips for ensuring your smoothies are both healthy and delicious? Share them with us.