Are smoothies good for you?

Smoothies - full of goodness

Smoothies – full of goodness

I’m going to argue with the Daily Mail and say smoothies are good for you, very good in fact.  I mention the Daily Mail because one day I Googled “are Innocent smoothies good for you” and up came an article by the Daily Mail entitled “15 WORST ‘health drinks’ which included the smoothie containing pomegranates, blueberries and acai fruit.  I was astonished they would say such a thing.

Daily Mail, March 2013

Daily Mail, March 2013

The Daily Mail, in this article from March 2013, have got this seriously wrong if they rate the Innocent smoothie so badly.  Their argument is concerned with the amount of sugar in the smoothie – equivalent of  34.3g in a 250ml serving and this equates to 171 calories.  They then start making comparisons with a pile of doughnuts.  Apparently a Dr Lustig says the amount of sugar in a 250ml glass of Innocent smoothie should be our maximum sugar intake for the day.

 

My view

Smoothies are really good for you.  Why?  Simply because fruit is so beneficial for us as it delivers a range of vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and other nutrients which are good for us.  Typically a good smoothie will have 1 or 2 grams of fibre per 100mls which is useful.

We are told we should consume “5 a day” – this being a mixture of vegetables and fruit.  These can be raw, cooked, juiced and so on: they all count and all have their pros and cons.  In my view the “5 a day” is the absolute minimum and I normally aim for 8 to 10 portions a day.  Other people manage more.  The main thing is to ensure you have a good variety during the day and vary your instate through the week.  With such a wide variety of fruit and vegetables easily available it isn’t difficult to do this.  Smoothies are generally accepted as providing the equivalent of two portions, even though they are typically made from five or six fruits.  Some of the fruits, it has to be said, are small in quantity and difficult to count.

It is through having such a wide variety of fruits (and other foods) that we remain in good health and fight off deseases, including some cancers.

Sugar

The Daily Mail are right in saying smoothies have quite a lot of sugar in.  It is also true to say we, as a nation, consume too much sugar.  However, they are naturally occurring sugars and we do need some sugars in our balanced diets.  I can understand that for some people, a rush of sugar from a smoothie, may not be good.

The Daily Mail are completely wrong to suggest an Innocent smoothie (or any other smoothie for that matter) is unhealthy.  For people who are obese or diabetic they will naturally need to take care about what they eat or drink – especially sugar in its different forms.  It’s through cutting out junk food, fizzy drinks etc that will bring real benefits.  Yet again this is an example of narrow minded journalism which doesn’t pick up on the whole picture.

My common-sense approach is this

  • drink a sensible quantity each day – and I think 250mls is fine for most people
  • consider diluting a smoothie with water if necessary and consuming it over a longer period of time, if that will suit you better
  • don’t stop having smoothies alongside other healthy foods; make sure you do this every day
  • make “5 a day” the absolute minimum
  • make sure you have vegetables as well as fruit
  • if you can, organic food is always better but it can be very expensive and don’t assume it will taste any better
  • buy a selection of different smoothies when you go shopping.  Drink these in date order and make sure you have the widest variety you can
  • smoothies are great for breakfast and after intensive excerise (the antioxidants soak up free radicals)
  • stop reading the Daily Mail

Related:

Cyclist’s breakfast

Stocking up on Cherry Active drink

 

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