Is Your Smoothie Making You Fat?
When exactly did smoothies become works of architecture? Swipe through Instagram and you will see chocolate towers oozing over milkshake glasses, or thick pudding-like smoothies adorned with all sorts of toppings. Search ‘#smoothie’ and it will yield over 5 million results, such is our love of this drinkable breakfast.
However, amidst the health hype, it’s important to recognise that not all smoothies will necessarily be optimal for digestion, body composition, or hormonal optimisation. Here we share our tips – and traps to avoid – so you can enjoy your morning smoothie, without piling on the pounds!
Antioxidants, enzymes, vitamins – what’s not to love about fruit? Kiwi fruit for example, is not only rich in vitamin C but the furry exterior is jam-packed with antioxidants. Then there are blueberries, which have been shown in lab studies, to cause cell death in triple negative breast cancer .
So fruit can be powerfully beneficial – especially when it’s organic, in season and eaten in moderation. Unfortunately along with the phytonutrients, fruit is also high in fructose. While the body uses glucose for energy, fructose is metabolized in the liver and stored as fat. Fructose can also increase our appetite . The answer? Avoid very high sugar fruits - yes we all love a smoothie packed with a handful of sticky dates, but these are not the type to be drinking every day. Choose smaller fruits, like berries, as they tend to be less sweet, or stick with one small banana.
Fat and Protein
Both of these macros help keep your metabolism firing and balance blood sugar levels. So make friends with fats - like coconut oil, one quarter/half an avocado, or one tablespoon of nut butter. As a nutritional health coach I see many clients who can’t stop once they open the jar of cashew butter; if this is you, then find another healthy fat to add to your smoothie! Tahini, which is also rich in calcium (but not quite as moreish) is a great alternative.
Protein powder is also a nice addition to a smoothie, it boosts your protein intake, thickens up your drink and slows down absorption. Just make sure you’re using a plant-based brand which has no added nasties such as sugars, colours and sweeteners – always check your labels.
And always be sure to drink your smoothies slowly and 'chew' them before swallowing to promote good digestion.
Try these Honestly Healthy smoothie recipes to help you keep a check on those yummy ingredients: