A few weeks ago I saw an article circulating on Facebook that exposed the downside of smoothies. The downside being they’re not actually as healthy as you’ve been lead to believe!!!!!!
Now before you throw up your hands and reach for the Pop-Tarts because you just can’t win, let’s look at what these “smoothie downsides” are:
Greens don’t make a smoothie low-calorie
The article cites an example of a smoothie that has 1,000 calories… and is made without any greens but does contain pecan ice cream.
Here’s the thing about calories – they aren’t created equally. So however many calories you’re getting from that ice cream isn’t the same as the equivalent amount of calories from kale or spinach or Swiss chard which also provide real nutrition. If you really are concerned with calories (not something I generally recommend) then maybe not putting ice cream in your smoothie is the best way to avoid this downside?
You’re likely to feel hungrier again sooner after drinking the smoothie than you would have had you eaten the same fruits and vegetables whole
I know if I throw a banana and some strawberries into the blender with some almond milk I’m going to be hungry again soon. So I always make sure that my smoothies also contain a source of protein as well as a healthy fat. Try adding nut butters, plant-based protein powder, hemp or chia seeds, flax or coconut oil, half an avocado, some organic tofu, even a scrambled egg will blend to unnoticeable in a smoothie and will keep you full through to your next meal.
Smoothies can be higher in sugar because blending destroys fiber
It is true that blending breaks down the fiber in fruit that helps to slow down the absorption of fructose, which while perfectly natural and unrefined still has the ability to spike our insulin levels like any other sugar. Score another one for protein and fat – these important macros will help keep your blood sugar balanced. If you’re still concerned about adding more calories to your smoothie, review the above.
Choosing fruits that score lower on the Glycemic Index such as berries, apples or kiwis means you’ll be putting less sugar into your blender in the first place. It should go without saying that adding sweeteners, even the natural kind, will spike that blood sugar so use sparingly, if at all.
Commercially prepared smoothies often use processed and/or artificial ingredients
I’m going to go ahead and file this one in the “no shit” column. Do you seriously think that a restaurant that otherwise trades in greasy hamburgers or tasteless doughnuts is going to be committed to using only the finest, freshest ingredients in their smoothies? Don’t buy in to the health washing from these national chains and make your smoothie at home. Downside averted.
The article also fails to mention that despite any possible downsides, a smoothie is still pretty damn good for you compared to the myriad other options you’ve got — unless you’re sipping that one that contains ice cream. That’s not a smoothie, that’s a milk shake! A smoothie, even if it’s got a little more fruit and a little less protein or fat than is ideal is still a much better choice than a coffee and a danish. Full stop.
So let’s recap: smoothies are still health food and the real downside you need to watch out for are clickbaity headlines.