Since the two KEY components of a healthy diet are FRUIT and VEGETABLES, I decided to continue my “Is It Healthy” series today and discuss fruit smoothies. Enjoying a FRUIT smoothie is the 100% nutritionally sound choice and we should all eat one every day, right?….maybe.
Fruit smoothies can be a wonderful, incredible, delicious component of a healthy diet. They can be loaded with nutrients; fiber, protein, vitamins/minerals, that will leave you feeling satisfied and contain all “good for you” ingredients. However, there is a HUGE difference between a fruit smoothie you blend up at home and some concoction you get at your local retail shop.
One of the most common misconceptions about smoothies is their healthy reputation. When the average person chooses a fruit smoothie over an ice cream cone at their local retail shop, they automatically think they are making the wise selection. You might leave the shop feeling super healthy, when in reality, you could have just consumed more than a meal’s worth of calories and two days worth of sugar as your SNACK! Yeeps! Let’s take a closer look at a few selections from familiar franchises.
- Jamba Juice: The Aloha Pineapple Power Smoothie literally contains 123 grams of SUGAR! Ingredients: Pineapple Juice blend, Pineapple Sherbet, frozen strawberries, non-fat plain yogurt, frozen bananas, ice.
- Planet Smoothie: Wellness Oatmeal Smoothie: 490 calories, 11 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, 78 grams of sugar; Ingredients were NOT listed which means we don’t know if that smoothie contains yogurt, pure sugar, artificial flavorings and colorings (probably considering the vibrant colors in some drinks like the ’Rasmanian Devil’), or other hidden ingredients.
- Orange Julius (Dairy Queen): 3 Berry Blast: 460 calories, 8 g protein, 6 g fiber, 89 grams sugars; Ingredients: Couldn’t find their ingredient list either! Has anyone found them? I would love to know!
Sugar: If you didn’t already notice, these fruit smoothies contain LOADS of sugar! While fruit contains some natural sugars, many commercial smoothie brands contain more refined sugar than a can of soda or even a piece of cake! Those multi-colored syrups that are being squirted in to the smoothies are mostly made up of pure corn syrup or other refined sugars like beet or cane sugar. Even though you might feel like you have a newfound surge of energy after consuming one of these puppies, I assure you, it won’t last; your energy will quickly crash and make you crave even MORE sugar shortly thereafter!
Supplements: One of the reasons consumers are drawn to smoothies is because of the additional supplements that are used to “boost” the nutritional content. In actuality, the supplements often used in smoothies are genetically modified and contain lots of chemical fillers and other synthetic ingredients. The actual nutrient being tooted, like vitamin C, is usually one of the last items on the ingredient list, and is generally of poor quality (meaning absorption rates and nutritional benefit are questionable). Your sudden surge of energy is more likely from the SUGAR than the booster nutrient! “The best way to ensure a “booster” is indeed a healthy option is to make the retailer accountable for its ingredients. The ultimate scenario is that the retailer is using a smoothie booster made from highly raw and organic whole foods in powder form, without any added chemicals. That way, the vitamins and minerals are all naturally occurring and easily absorbed in the body.” (source)
Artificial Sweeteners: While I used to be addicted to all things artificial sweetener (because I was only concerned with calories), I now realize the error of my ways and I want you to as well! When purchasing a smoothie, you might feel that opting for a sugar-free variety is best. However, artificial or chemically altered sweeteners (aspartame and sucralose, for example), might be worse for you than sugar. The research continues to find negative health effects of these artificial sweeteners from headaches to certain forms of cancer!
Bottom line: If you enjoy fruit smoothies from a shop, treat yourself like you would ice cream, as an occasional treat. Try not to make Jamba Juice or DQ an every day stop on lunch, otherwise you will be getting a lot of unnecessary sugar!
My BEST suggestion? Make your own! There are TONS of amazingly tasty smoothie recipes out there that contain REAL ingredients and only natural sugars (from the fruit itself). Knock yourself out because one of the following concoctions could be the healthiest part of your day!
Some honorable mentions:
- Oh She Glows Berrylicious Smoothie
- How Sweet It Is: “Perfect Smoothie Ingredients”
- The Fitness Dish: Yummiest Fruity Smoothie
- Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat: Peach Cobbler Smoothie
What are your favorite ingredients for a homemade smoothie!?
Where is your favorite smoothie shop?
Is there anyone you know who might benefit from this information? Share it!!Print