Worst Smoothie Ingredients
Generally speaking a smoothie is a healthy meal or snack. A smoothie is made out of whole foods and usually contains fruits and vegetables, two things many individuals do not get enough of in their diet. Leafy greens, oats, and nuts are common ingredients in smoothies and all are natural unprocessed and generally good for you.
However there are certain unhealthy smoothie ingredients which you should avoid. The following list of foods can destroy all the positive health qualities of a smoothie and instead turn the smoothie into another meal full of empty calories and little nutritional value. Blending unhealthy junk is going to create an unhealthy smoothie.
As with all nutrition advise, the health benefits of a certain ingredient will depend on what your fitness goals are. If you are looking to gain weight and muscle, then whole milk is great. If you are vegan or looking to lose weight, then whole milk might not be the best smoothie ingredient for you. Sometimes ‘unhealthy’ depends on your goals, but these three unhealthy smoothie ingredients are almost never going to be a wise choice.
The following are the most unhealthy smoothie ingredients which are commonly found in smoothie recipes.
Fruits are great and many people simply do not eat enough of them. But when nutritionists recommend someone eat more fruit, they mean the whole fruit, not just the juice. Juicing is the process of removing the fiber from a fruit and leaving only the liquid. Now this liquid still has calories, vitamins and flavor. However it lacks fiber.
Natural fiber slows the absorption of sugar. If you remove the fiber, your body will get a huge spike in blood sugar and then a crash in blood sugar levels once the sugar from the fruit juice is absorbed. One of the main benefits of eating plant-based foods is the fiber, and if you use juice instead of the whole fruit you are depriving your body of the healthy fiber, while still consuming the calories and sugar that come naturally in fruit.
Fruit juice is certainly better than soda, as it contains vitamins found in the fruit, but there is little reason not to use a whole fruit in your smoothies.
Alternative Whole fruits
Same as with fruit juice, juicing vegetables removes all the natural fiber. A lot of people do not realize that some vegetables, especially those commonly used in juices have a lot of sugar in them. Root vegetables especially, such as carrots and beets are high in sugar.
Vegetables may be harder to blend than fruits. Depending on your blender you may simply have to blend a little bit longer to get the vegetables fully blended. If you have a cheaper blender that does not play well with veggies, you can simply leave the veggies out of the smoothie and eat them whole.
Alternative Whole veggies
Adding ice cream to a smoothie is a good way to get a ton of calories and a good amount of protein. However, ice cream tends to have a huge amount of processed sugars, which add lots of calories but no other nutritional value. These sugar calories are often refereed to as ’empty calories’ and are best avoided when possible. Many types of ice cream have other additives such as food coloring, which do not add any nutrition to your body.
Ice cream is really made up of a few base ingredients, and everything else is additives. Cream, eggs, sugar and flavoring. I’m not a fan of eating raw eggs or processed sugar. Heavy cream is a dairy product which has a ton of calories and can be bought directly in any grocery store. It’s a great additive if you want a thicker richer base than what regular milk provides. I use it often when simulating milk shakes.
Sugar can come from healthier sources than processed cane sugar. Fruits are of course the first thing that come to mind. Fruits provide a great source of sugar as they also include fiber, vitamins and antioxidants. Fruits also add flavor to the smoothie. Many ice creams have artificial flavors, while the flavor found in fruit is all natural.
Instead of adding ice cream to your smoothie try a heavy cream and fruit combination such as this sugar free strawberry milkshake recipe. You could easily try substituting some vanilla extract for the strawberries to make a healthy vanilla milkshake.
Alternative heavy cream + frozen bananas + your favorite ice cream flavoring.
Those are about the only common smoothie ingredients to avoid. Other smoothie ingredients such as dairy or high-calorie nut butters have their place, depending on your nutritional goals. The above ingredients however all have healthy alternatives.