How Healthy Is Your Smoothie Really?

Smoothies are your ultimate nutrition go-to, but are they really as healthy as they're cracked up to be? We found out...

Green Smoothie

Smoothies are all the hype these days. We chug them for breakfast, grab them on the go, and blitz them up in-office. And why wouldn’t we? They’re mighty tasty after all, and better yet they’re super healthy too….

Or are they? Its just fruit, so it’s gotta be good for you, right? Er, wrong.

Sugar rush

“The calories still add up,” says nutritional coach Lyda Borgsteijn. “Although, fruit is healthy for you, the amount that goes into one smoothie can often be far more than you would consume by eating the whole fruit and so, not only do the calories start to add up but also sugar.”

In fact, according to Lyda, a store-bought smoothie can pack as much as 58 grams of sugar per bottle, which is more than you’d find in a can of coke. And your homemade smoothie can be nearly as bad. “You start with the best intentions,” Lyda explains, “tossing in frozen fruit, yoghurt, honey and orange juice and think you have created a super healthy option when in fact those ingredients equal one big sugar bomb.” Damn.

Because smoothies are a beverage, they may not have the same satiety effect as a proper meal.

Get your fill

It’s not just the high calorie and sugar content that’s a problem either. If you’re using smoothies as a meal replacement you could be missing out on fibre and in turn not filling as full as you would, if you’d had a bowl of porridge, for example.

Lyda clarifies, “because smoothies are a beverage, they may not have the same satiety effect as a proper meal, leaving you hungry quite soon thereafter. This is because the insoluble fibre is broken down in the blending process which also means all that sugar hits your system a lot faster.” Double damn.

The good news? “It’s not all bad,” says Lyda. “In fact, if you’re pressed for time and enjoy your morning smoothie, there are ways you can make it much better for you.”

A healthier hit

First up, you’ll need to ditch the unhealthy ingredients. Lyda suggests you rule out frozen yoghurt, fruit juice and peanut butter, to create a more saintly blend.

Next, you’ll wanna go green. “Greens are ideal because they don’t mask the great taste of a smoothie but provide the much needed vegetable boost to your daily intake,” Lyda explains. “Start with easy, neutral tasting greens like romaine and spinach and work up to others like kale, collard greens, butter/red/green lettuce, fennel, celery, cucumber and herbs.”

Get savvy about what fruit you use too. “Use low GI fruit,” recommends Lyda. “These include apples, pears, greapefruit, kiwi, oranges, strawberries and plums.”

Lastly, add superfoods for an extra nutrition boost. Chia seeds, spirulina, cacao and coconut all equal a much healthier blend.