Nutri Bites/ Wellness

Why Smoothies Can Be Unhealthy – The Bottom Line

It seems every where I look and every key stroke brings me to an article, a recipe, an enthusiast for ‘Smoothie’.
 
Let me put it out there now that I am a huge fan of these thick, yummy, colorful, drinkable meals, especially when I am short on time.  However, I think its high time people wise up to the fact that, smoothies alone won't cut it for a healthy diet Click To Tweet if you are not mindful with the other aspects of your diet and lifestyle.
 
I have spoken to far too many individuals who have no idea they are causing more harm than good, in blindly following the crowd. For starters, because it’s a smoothie doesn’t make it healthy, hear me out before you jump down my Nutribullet. What is ‘healthy’ depends very much on your current state of health and what you are hoping to achieve, quite frankly a one size fits all approach is rather redundant Click To Tweetperhaps this is why despite all our public health measures to curb the growing epidemic of our obeseogenic nation (with 61.9% adults and 28% of children obese or over weight), we are still failing.
 
It is easy to chuck all these great fruits, vegetables, yogurt or milk in a blender and hey pesto look am among the healthy elite!  the average person going in blindly thinking this, has been misinformed. It is the same as taking supplements for the sake of taking something cause it’s the new hyped thing to do.
Drinking a delicious smoothie you are still consuming calories, however healthy you may believe it to be and if you are not exercising or accounting for said calories you won’t see the results you expect. So think before you have 3 more large meals or smaller calorie dense meals and snacks throughout the day. 
 

 

Think logically here, just because you found a recipe on line or in a magazine that looks pleasing to the eye doesn’t mean it will be pleasing to your absorption and distribution system. For those of you who are pre-diabetic or diabetic especially, a fruit packed smoothie is going to spike your blood glucose levels, and that’s before you’ve hit your pancreas with all the other sugar based food you will no doubt nibble on throughout the day. That glass of juice, the apple for a snack (cause you are being ‘good’), the biscuit with a cuppa. Well you get my point, it is easy to lose track of the amount of sugar whether refined or natural (am guilty too). After all sugar is in everything! from the humble spud to the milk in your coffee. Click To Tweet

And no, I am not vilifying sugar (or any food for that matter), heck I also like a bit of the sweet stuff now and again – I just want to highlight the fact that sometimes (depending on your health needs and goals) we can be doing more harm than good, thinking we are being ‘healthy’. Continued elevated blood glucose levels can lead to raised triglycerides, and yes we need some for good health but continued high levels put you at risk of developing metabolic syndrome

 
Now, I am not saying you shouldn’t have fruits! far from it, fruits are an invaluable source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibres and phytonutrients. They form an important part of a healthy varied diet. Just be mindful of how much you are having throughout the day. For example, if you had 2 *portions of fruits in your smoothie (*a portion being 80 g serving of fruit or 150 ml of pure fruit juice) in stead of another piece of fruit as a snack why not have some raw nuts, they have good fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, or some vegetable sticks and hummus or nut butter.
 
And I am not saying smoothies are ‘evil’ or ‘bad’ I simply wanted to give you pause for thought. By taking a bit more care with the choices you make in what to add to them, can make a world of difference to your health overall and give you the results you want. 
 
 
 


Here are a few tips for getting you through that smoothie fix:

  • Reduce the amount of fruits in your smoothies, don’t have all your allowance in one sitting (especially if you are diabetic) spread it out throughout the day. 
  • Have more vegetables, and get to know your green foods; such as chlorella, green tea powder or spirullina, they are a great source of multivitamins and minerals, proteins and antioxidants. 
  • Add some unflavoured protein powder and flax or chia seeds to the mix – the protein, fibre and good fats will slow the uptake of the sugars and keep you fuller for longer too, that way you are not having such a large spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Use frozen fruit for smoothies, you will use less and get a thicker consistency – so you’ll slow down on the sip.
  • Use cold water  or coconut water in place of milk or yogurt – this will reduce the calories, and the coconut water will provide you with some much needed electrolytes, especially if you are exercising.
  • Grains are not off limits, they are an excellent source of complex carbohydrate – to bulk up or thicken a smoothie – add a couple of table spoons of cooked wholegrain e.g. quinoa or barley grain.
  • Aim to have 2 – 3 servings of fruit daily, fill up on vegetables – which are packed full of nutrients without the high sugar or calorie (especially those growing above ground)  
     
 
 
 
 
 
And on that note, I will say…Drink responsibly

 

Till next time, EAT mindfully, DRINK responsibly, and EXERCISE your mind and body!

***Disclaimer: Any of the information within this blog post and others on this site is for information and educational purposes only and is NOT intended to be taken as diagnosis, treatment, cure or to prevent any disease. Any reader concerned about his or her health is advised to seek medical advice from their GP or relevant medical professional***

“Till next time, EAT mindfully, DRINK responsibly, and EXERCISE your mind and body!”

***Disclaimer: Any of the information within this blog post and others on this site is for information and educational purposes only and is NOT intended to be taken as diagnosis, treatment, cure or to prevent any disease. Any reader concerned about his or her health is advised to seek medical advice from their GP or relevant medical professional***

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Louise
    January 24, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    This is brilliant and so true we are all in the nutribullet phase, and your right it doesn’t mean it is healthy. My mum in law was doing all her smoothies with fresh raw spinach and ended up with awful stomach issues. Not sure if this is true but she read eating raw spinach was not good for your stomach X any eat thanks for this I will try to add more veg when I do one X

    • Reply
      Alicia Lewis
      September 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read the article – I am so pleased you have found this to be useful. When adding things like kale, spinach etc to your smoothie I would recommend you lightly steam them first especially if you have sensitive GI.

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