Are Smoothies Bad for You?

are smoothies bad for you

Are smoothies bad for you? The answer is NO – But. There are some issues, downsides, and dangers with smoothies. And it’s mostly to do with sugar. But it’s also to do with avoiding fad diets.

A series of posts on smoothies

This is the second in a series of posts on Smoothies. Here is the full list you can click on:

So, are smoothies bad for you? 

In our first post, we introduced Smoothies. But before we go any further, we need to cover the downsides and dangers of smoothies and answer the question: are smoothies bad for you?

Smoothies do a world of good. But, along with any health trend, you are going to find some false or exaggerated information. And some of it is harming the good name of smoothies. 

And there are some smoothie downsides and dangers to know about.

Detox juice fasting

First, there is the idea of “juice fasting.” This where people drink smoothies or juices (and no solid foods) as their only source of food for days or weeks on end. They rely on claims that this is a great way to jump-start a diet and detox the body.

detoxingHowever, “detox” is a catchy but rather arbitrary kind of term that has no real medical meaning.  There is no scientific, research-based recommendation that we need to “detox” or that we have a ‘build-up’ of toxins in our bodies.

The truth is: Our body has its own system of detoxification and this works just fine without outside help. That’s the liver and the kidneys. 

This is what the Mayo Clinic has to say about detox diets.

Nonetheless, we somehow like the notion of detoxing because it does seem to make some kind of intuitive sense. But, in reality, the whole notion is more of a marketing ploy to sell daddy products than an actual ‘thing.”. 

For example, manufacturers of hair products claiming detoxification properties were once asked to name what toxins they removed. They couldn’t. It was an empty marketing claim but it certainly sounded good.

Sugar pitfalls

However, you do need to be aware of the high sugar content found in many smoothies, especially fruit-based smoothies. This isn’t always a bad thing but it is important to know how to safeguard against some of the adverse effects of sugar in smoothies. 

sugarBut at the same time, we should point out that sugar in smoothies is nothing compared to the sugar content of juices produced by the juicing process.

When you take solid food out of your diet, you remove the buffer that protects to protect you from the acidity and sugar in your smoothies. A smoothie-only diet may damage the stomach lining and, more significantly, the teeth.

The main takeaway from this. Smoothies are really good for you. But take care of your teeth. Smoothies are a wonderful addition to your regular diet. But they are no substitute for solid food.

So, are smoothies bad for you? Yes, if they are sugar-heavy. The trick is to find creative ways of making smoothies while limiting their sugar content. Never add sugar.

Sustainability

The next thing to think about is whether or not a diet is sustainable. If you are going to ‘kick start’ a diet by using an extreme fast, then you’ll be putting your body into stress, only to return to a normal type of eating. 

What this means is that your weight will just go back to what it was before your fasting diet, and maybe even more. So it won’t have done you any good. 

And all you have done is suffered. Moreover, when you fast for a long time, you actually increase your yo yo dietlikelihood of storing fat.

Yo-yo dieting is bad for you and does not work!

Numerous processes in the body ensure this, but one key example is that your body will produce a lot of cortisol as a response to the low blood sugar caused by a hyper-restrictive diet. 

This cortisol sets lipogenesis in motion. And lipogenesis is a fancy name for the creation of new stores of fat. 

It also has the effect of depleting muscle. And so you get even less metabolically active. And if your metabolism is slowed, then so is fat burning. 

And all of this makes a yo-yo diet self-defeating.

Protein powders – lactose intolerance

whey proteinIt’s a great idea to add protein to your smoothie. And you can do this by using natural protein contained, for example, in almond butter, peanut butter, or raw egg.

Or you could use a popular whey powder protein like the one illustrated here. 

However, just be aware that a whey protein is a derivative of dairy milk. And people with lactose intolerance may get a reaction to it.

Back to sugar again

The sugar in your smoothie has an enhanced effect. This is because this sugar comes from fruit. And this makes it simple sugar

sugar pitfallsSImple sugar from fruit gets absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. The body does not need to break it down first. This means that with a 3-meals per day, sugar-heavy smoothie-only diet, you will get 3 massive spikes of energy during the day but nothing sustainable.

This is bad for one’s insulin sensitivity. Plus it is likely that part of that sugar will get deposited as fat. And this, just like with the yo-yo diet, is self-defeating.

Things to do and avoid with smoothies

So, avoid juice fasts and smoothie ‘cleanses’. And rather focus on just adding smoothies to your regular diet! 

A single, reasonably sized smoothie added to your morning routine should give you nothing to worry about sugar-wise. But do make sure you reduce sugar in other areas of your diet.

And if you are sensitive to sugar or if you have sensitive teeth, restrict yourself to vegetable smoothies. Or use fruits with lower sugar content. Don’t let your smoothies turn into sugar bombs: Go for low sugar smoothies.

Or just add more water to your smoothie to help dilute the sugar. Also, the recipes and tips we cover in other posts will show you smoothie options that are much lower in sugar than average.

So, again, are smoothies bad for you? NO! They are great for you. Just remember our 

guidance on sugar.

And we would say the same about the 21-Day Smoothie Diet mentioned below.

Smoothie equipment

You can’t make a good smoothie without the right equipment. So here are some things to have on hand. Make sure you have sharp knives for cutting, a good cutting board and the following.

Blenders for smoothies

The blender is at the center of the smoothie universe.

nutribullet pro

We like the Nutribullet Pro as having the best individual overall value for money out there. But it is not really big enough for making smoothies in bulk, which is what we recommend here. Click on the red Nutribullet Pro link below.

vitamix

The Vitamix is the Top of the line premium choice  but, in our opinion,  there is no need to spend so much. Click on the red Vitamix link below. 

NInja BL770

Our best overall choice is the Ninja BL770. Click on the red Ninja BL770 link below.

Mason Jars for smoothies

As explained elsewhere, we don’t like the “smoothie pack” prep. technique. We know it’s popular but, for us, It’s just inefficient.

mason jars

We much prefer to make smoothies in bulk (at least a week’s supply) and freeze them in individual wide-mouth, “ready-to-drink” Mason jars.

Remember to leave an inch or so at the top to allow for expansion of the liquid as it freezes.

We like the jars that have holes for straws. And you can travel with them too. 

Click on the red link below

Spatula for smoothies

spatula

You must have a long, flexible spatula to make sure you scrape all of the good stuff out of the blender.

Click on the red link below.

Reusable Smoothie straws

reusable smoothie straws

You don’t want to be throwing all those used straws away. Click on the red link below for the reusable kind.

Smoothies for weight loss

Many of us (maybe even most of us) started out with smoothies as a way to lose weight. So, while we are not advocates of crash or fad diets, here is a great fast start introduction to smoothies and losing weight.

 in the 21-Day Smoothie Diet by Drew Sgoutas,  Drew returns you to a regular diet that includes smoothies, after the 21-Day period.

Click on the red underlined link below. The program is digitally delivered.  And it has a 60-day money-back guarantee. So there is no risk to you.

And, just below the link, you can see what Amanda has to say about it.

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