Did you know that four out of five smoothies contain more sugar than a 250ml bottle of Coca-Cola?

This is quite a shocking statistic! Smoothies are widely believed to contribute towards your daily portion of fruit and vegetables but there is new research to suggest that the smoothie-craze has gone too far!  Britons are spending more than £100 million a year on this supposedly healthy drink with people often believing every one they buy is as good as eating a fresh apple or a banana. We have looked into this recent discussion about whether or not smoothies are good for you or not and wanted to tell you what we found.

Good:

Smoothies with healthy ingredients which are drank in moderation are not bad for you, Its the quantity and the type that needs to be considered. Some supermarket bought smoothies often have a substantial amount of added sugar, which can be above your recommended daily allowance. Home-made alternatives however, still provide valuable vitamins and minerals, which you would not get from a bottle of Coca-Cola which only contains added sugar.

Blending fruit and vegetables is a great way to fill up while also getting many of your daily requirements of vitamins, minerals and fibre. The fact that they taste good too is just an added bonus.

The very popular green juices in particular, are packed with antioxidants that help strengthen your immune system and fight diseases. They provide a rich source of insoluble and soluble fibre.

Some people see smoothies as a fast and convenient way to get those all important fruit and vegetables into your diet.

Bad:

When you eat too much fruit, you are consuming more carbohydrates that your body requires, and it will end up as fat if you’re not careful. Often the consumption of a smoothie bought from a supermarket is similar to eating too much fruit, particularly if it has added sugar in it. You will be quite shocked to hear about the amount of sugar and calories that some of our favourite brands contain:

Innocent – Pineapple, Bannana and Coconut

Size: 1L

Benefits: Vitamin C and fibre

Problems: 136g sugars (equivalent to 34 teaspoons of sugar) and 730 Calories.

Marks & Spencer – Mango and Carrot

Size: 500ml

Benefits: low in fat

Problems: as 56g fruit sugars per bottle equivalent to 14 teaspoons of sugar.

PJ Smoothies – Oranges, Mangoes and Passion Fruit

Size: 250ml

Benefits: Claims two of five a day fruit and veg

Problems: high in sugars, but exact level not listed.

There has also been a debate about whether or not GREEN smoothies are bad for your health. One side of the debate claims that green smoothies are NOT good for you based on the fact that they contain oxalic acid. They even go as far as to say they can devastate your health – see this article for more information.

Oxalic acid is a natural toxin that is found in many foods such as dairy, meat, soy products, fruits and berries and dark leafy greens. Green smoothies actually contain very little oxalic acid. It is believed that this oxalic acid can contribute to kidney stones, since over 80% of kidney stones contain calcium oxalate. However, there is no evidence to prove this exactly!

It does sometimes seem that there has to be a debate for everything! Lets all stop arguing about smoothies and at least agree that they are much better for you than a Mc Donald’s Big Mac.

Conclusion

While it is true that many smoothies on the market contain far too much added sugar and calories, they can still be a great addition in your diet. By making your own smoothies and being careful with how many you have (we wouldn’t recommend five a day) there is no problem at all. Lets be honest, a glass of fresh fruit and/or vegetable juice is still much better for you than a can of coke!

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Healthy Summer Smoothie Recipes

All you need to make these delicious smoothies is a blender and some fresh fruit and veg! These recipes are nice and easy and don’t contain many ingredients to save you time, money and still give you all the goodness! If you’re looking for a healthy smoothie your best bet is usually to keep it simple.

Beetroot, apple and grapefruit juice

Ingredients:

1 small pack of vacuum packed and natural cooked beetroot

2 Pink Lady apples

1 grapefruit peeled

Method:

  1. Put all ingredients through a juicer. There is no need to even peel the apples as this gets you even more goodness. Pour in to glasses and serve. Easy as that!

Green Smoothie Recipe

Courtesy of Hemsley & Hemsley

Ingredients:

Thumbnail-sized piece of ginger

250ml of filtered water or coconut water (we love Dr Martins coconut water)

1 stick of celery

1 handful of kale (or try watercress/baby spinach/romaine lettuce)

1 handful of winter fruit such as apple/pear/kiwi/pineapple

1 large sprig of parsley

Combinations we like: apple & watercress, pear & baby spinach, kiwi & Romaine lettuce

Method:

  1. Wash the fruit and veg.
  2. Remove the hard skin from the ginger and skin the fruit or peel the pineapple.
  3. Chop your veg – if you have a handheld blender you’ll need much smaller pieces but if you have a high strength blender or a Vitamix you can be as lazy at chopping as you like!
  4. Add the harder, more fibrous veg to your blender first, with the water. Then add the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth. If your blender is not powerful then avoid kale stalks and ginger.

 

Almond Milk Smoothie

Courtesy of Good Food Channel

Ingredients:

1 handfuls of almonds, peeled and soaked overnight in water

1 tbsp golden linseeds

½ ripe mango, or 1 ripe banana

2 handfuls mixed berries

Method:

  1. Drain and rinse the almonds. Put them in the blender and ass a little fresh water. Blend to make a smooth paste.
  2. Add more water bit by bit and blend until you have a rich almond milk. If it’s too think, just add more water – you’re aiming for something with the consistency of its dairy counterpart.
  3. Add the linseeds and fruit and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Tips:  Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of fresh berries – frozen ones will work well in smoothies, helping them thicken and chill.

ALSO, try swapping the almonds for cashew nuts for a creamy cashew nut milk smoothie. If nuts aren’t your thing, you can also simply use natural live yogurt in place of the almonds.