Are smoothies really healthy? A fitness expert weighs in
-Sep 17, Hannah Hargrave , Nutrition -
They’re often touted as a healthy treat which can even replace a meal, but are smoothies really as nutritious as we think? Fitness expert Melissa Lorch weighs in on the blended health trend.
A breakfast smoothie has become a firm favourite for people trying to ramp up their fruit and vegetable intake and create a healthier diet for themselves. But it turns out they may not be the best shortcut to better health especially if you’re super sizing them.
Fit4mum founder Melissa Lorch has shared her top tips to getting the most out of your smoothie and some facts about your blitzed beverage which might just make you think twice before you get the blender out.
There’s no such thing as a five-a-day smoothie
Smoothies are often seen as a quick way to get all of your day’s fruit and veg fix. But think again. “It doesn’t matter how much you drink of a fruit or veg filled smoothie, it won’t count as more than one of your five a day,” Melissa tells Lumity. “Even if you put in five different forms of produce, it’s only one!”
Not only that but if you have a glass of fruit juice too she says national recommendations reveal: “You can’t count both”.
A smoothie portion is just 150ml
“From what I’m seeing people are consuming portion sizes way in excess of what is recommended,” says Melissa. “Portion control is probably the most important thing for kids, and adults, young and old. A smoothie portion should be no more than 150ml according to the National Eatwell Guide. That is even less than the store bought smoothies which come in bottles.”
So instead of chugging down a whole bottle split it in two and save some for another day and when making it yourself keep the size of your shake in mind.
Drinking smoothies doesn’t make you healthy
Drinking a small, healthy smoothie for breakfast doesn’t mean you can gorge for the rest of the day.
“That smoothie is not going to counteract all the salt, fat, sugar and processed food you may be filling your day with,” says Melissa. “Instead of whizzing up your fruit and veg and consuming it all in the morning, try to include more fruit and vegetables all day and avoid the foods you know don’t do your body any good.”
Smoothies aren’t sugar free
Smoothies are often seen as a sweet way to curb sugar cravings without the sugar. But something happens to those natural sugars when they’re whipped up into your smoothie and you may not want to hear it.
“Smoothies are also high in sugar,” Melissa explains. “When the fruit gets blended the natural sugars are released from their cell walls and turn into something called free sugars.”
Other example of free sugars are honey, syrup and fruit juice and there’s a limit to how much you should have of these too.
So the long and short of it is if you fancy a smoothie, that’s ok, but just ensure you’re keeping the portion size under control and you’re incorporating it into a healthy, balanced diet too.
If you found this article helpful you might also be interested in how to recognise secret sugar.