Adding a fruit smoothie to your diet can have tremendous benefits to your health in the long term. High consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains also has been shown to decrease the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes, according to Harvard experts. However, is it healthy to have a fruit smoothie every day?
If you are a sedentary individual with overweight or health issues, then probably having fruit smoothies every day will not be the most thoughtful approach. But, on the other hand, If you work out regularly and are in good health, then drinking a fruit smoothie will not be a problem.
According to Harvard Experts, the issue lies in the high sugar content of the fruits; however, eating whole foods that include a fair amount of natural sugar is okay.
To maximize the benefits of having a fruit smoothie every day, make sure your smoothie contains foods that contain carbohydrates, such as vegetables and fruits, grains, and dairy because they are full of natural sugar.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about having a fruit smoothie every day.
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Is it Healthy to Have a Fruit Smoothie Every Day?
It all depends on the size and composition of your fruit smoothies. If you have a regular size and healthy green smoothie every day, that should be okay. However, considering that not all smoothies are created equal, a smoothie based on orange juice will be richer in sugar than one based on milk or yogurt. Consuming large quantities of sugar is considered unhealthy.
And if you have a fruit smoothie everyday, you may be consuming a lot more fruit than you would otherwise. The good news is that you get many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that will help enhance your overall health and training performance.
A healthy diet is a variety of foods, mostly plants, not too much or too little. Smoothies can be part of that. However, note that a daily smoothie that contains added sugar habit would be bad for you.
Are Homemade Fruit Smoothies Healthy?
Homemade fruit smoothies can be extremely healthy because they contain high amounts of fiber, essential minerals, and antioxidants, and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. Homemade fruit smoothies become unhealthy when you add too much-added sugar. Check out this article on how to make healthy and delicious smoothies at home.
Smoothies with added sugar can pump a large amount of sugar into your body quickly, and they are not as filling as healthy green smoothies with fresh fruits and vegetables.
If you are making your smoothie at home with only fruits and vegetables without added sugar, you can drink it in just a few minutes, compared with the 20 or 30 minutes it would take to consume the same whole fruits or vegetables whole.
The reason people add sugar is to impart sweetness. To avoid added sugar, try adding only whole, unprocessed foods to your smoothie. It is best to avoid adding drinks that contain high-fructose corn syrup to your smoothie.
The general recommendation is to avoid adding any of the following drinks to your smoothies:
- Juice drinks, such as fruit punch and juice “cocktails” (however, not whole fruit and vegetable juices)
- Any other beverages with sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup are added to enhance sweetness.
- Energy drinks
- Sports drinks
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Sweet tea
- Sweetened coffee drinks
- Sweetened water
How Much Sugar Should Be in a Smoothie?
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests limiting the amount of added sugars we consume. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories per day or about six teaspoons of sugar for most American females. And for males, they recommend 150 calories per day or about nine teaspoons.
And the World Health Organization recommends people of all ages reduce their daily consumption of added sugar (also known as free sugars) to less than 10% of their total energy intake.
It means a maximum of 50 g of sugar per day (ca. 10 teaspoons) for the average adult (at a calorie consumption of 2,000 kcal).
Also, WHO believes a further reduction in free sugar intake to less than five percent or about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would give additional health benefits.
They are two types of sugars in your smoothie:
- Naturally occurring – They are found naturally in fruit (fructose and glucose) and milk (lactose).
- Added sugar, also called free sugars – Sugars, honey, and syrups put in foods during preparation or processing or added.
Beverages represent about 47% of all added sugars, making them the leading category source of added sugars, according to the American Heart Association.
How Much is Too Much Sugar in Your Smoothie?
Even though it is better to eat whole fruit than drink fruit juice or smoothies, if you want to have a smoothie, it is better to limit the quantity to the recommended serving of 1 small glass a day (150ml or 1.7 ounces) and ensure you drink a lot of water to dilute it.
For instance, if you usually have a few slices of bread with your breakfast, on the day that you decide to have a fruit smoothie, have just one slice of bread to make room for the additional carbs coming from the fruit smoothie. It is an option to ensure that you don’t have to deal with high blood sugar levels due to having a fruit smoothie.
Research published in JAMA Internal Medicine found a link between a high-sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease.
Throughout the 15-year research, people who got 17% to 21% of their calories from added sugar (free sugar) had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar.
Dr. Frank B. Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, concluded that the higher the intake of added sugar, the higher the heart disease risk.
See also: Can Smoothies Cause Diarrhea?
Does Blending Fruit Release More Sugar?
Blending fruit does not release more sugar, nor does it increase fruits’ sugar content. However, it affects how quickly that food gets into your body.
For instance, if you were to sit down and eat those fruits and vegetables, you would physically chew them in your mouth and break them down slightly before swallowing them. While you are chewing, you are mixing it with saliva, which adds to the breakdown process. This process slowly releases sugar into your bloodstream and is slowed down more in foods like berries higher in fiber.
When you blend food, it breaks down the structure and fiber, making it really easy to consume large quantities of calories in a fraction of the time it would take to eat them physically. The huge influx of calories (most often in the form of sugar from smoothies) will create a steep rise in blood sugar.
If your goal is to lose weight, balance blood sugars, or decrease inflammation, it is best to chew and eat your food rather than blending it physically.
Is It Better to Have a Fruit Smoothie than Eat whole Fruits and Vegetables?
Blending fruits and vegetables are not as good as eating whole food because your body does not have a chance to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from the fruits and vegetables. Since the food passes through you faster, there is less time for your body to absorb the nutrients.
Blending fruits and vegetables break down the fiber in the fruit, causing a much more rapid sugar uptake than when eating the whole fruit.
Fiber is essential in slowing down the digestion of food and regulating blood sugar. But only when your body has to work at breaking it down.
The process of blending fruits and vegetables means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break them down.
Drinking smoothies can be healthy and convenient if they don’t contain a sugar load; however, you lose some of the fruits’ fiber during the blending.
Research published in the British journal BMJ recommends that consuming certain whole fruits, in particular, may significantly decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Also, keep track of the sugar you add to your fruit smoothie. A 2017 study discovered that nearly two-thirds of coffee drinkers and one-third of tea drinkers add sugar or sugary flavorings to their drinks. The same habit may apply to smoothie drinkers.
Overall, having a daily fruit smoothie may be healthy, depending on how physically active you are. However, you must watch your added sugar intake.
If you decide to have a fruit smoothie every day, make sure you reduce your consumption of added sugar in your daily diet. The American Heart Association generally recommends no more than 100 calories per day or about six teaspoons of sugar for women. And for men, they recommend 150 calories per day or about nine teaspoons.
Overeating free (added) sugar contributes to obesity and tooth decay and puts people at risk of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study.