Smoothies have become a firmly established party of a daily health and fitness routine for millions of people around the world. That might be because home blenders are now much more widely available than they once were. It might also be because people are more conscious about their health and their bodies than they were during the 1990s. Either way, you’re no longer in the minority if you’re a regular smoothie drinker. They’re firmly accepted part of modern life, and they make millions of dollars in revenue for the companies that make the shop-packaged versions.
If you just recoiled at the idea of buying a shop-made smoothie, you’re probably someone who’s suspicious of what people might put in a smoothie in a shop, and therefore you prefer to make them for yourself at home. By doing that, you’re in complete control of what goes in it, what quantity it’s put in at, and how large a portion you receive. After all, if you only put healthy things in there, you can only get a healthier body in return, right?
As tempting as it is to believe that – and as comforting as it would be if it were true – sadly it’s increasingly apparent that all-natural smoothies aren’t as good for us as we’ve all been telling ourselves. We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but we’re here to provide the facts.
A Question Of Balance
Very few people drink smoothies because of the taste. The majority of us drink them because the health benefit we gain from drinking them is greater and more convenient than simply eating all the ingredients separately. It’s like playing mobile slots; we spend a little in the hope of gaining a lot. There’s a crucial difference here though – the more matching symbols (or ingredients) you see in mobile slots, the greater your reward will be. With smoothies, the reverse is true. In fact, it works like playing mobile slots and related casinos in reverse – the more matching elements you have, the less positive the outcome! Mobile slots games like Berryburst turn the idea of smoothies into a fun form of gambling, but doing it with your body in real life is a gamble you probably don’t want to take!
Consider the ingredients you tend to include in the average smoothie you make at home. We’re not mind readers, but we’re going to guess you start with milk (or soya milk) and/or fruit juice. We’re then going to predict that you throw in chopped fruit and vegetables, and then perhaps a handful of ice to add texture and make it a little cooler. In your head, you’re infusing your body with a heady mix of vitamins and minerals. If you’re good at assessing the nutritional value of every individual ingredient, you may even be right. There’s something else you’re throwing into your body in massive amounts at the same time, though – sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. If you’re using your smoothie as a meal replacement, the chances are that sugar is doing you more harm than good.
It’s true that your body wants (and needs) a certain amount of sugar to keep itself going through the day, but it’s not good at processing sugar without certain other elements of food or nutrients at the same time to slow down the absorption process. A news anchor once demonstrated the negative effects of consuming smoothies when she should have been taking in regular meals, and almost made herself ill in the process. Sugar spikes are deadly. They’re not something you want to happen to you. They can contribute to the onset of Type 2 diabetes. If you’re already diabetic, they can be lethal.
When the human body experiences a large intake of sugar without any fat or protein to go with it, it all gets sent directly into the bloodstream faster than your anatomy is designed to handle. You could almost describe it as a form of poisoning. One of two things will happen as a result of that – and sometimes they both happen. Your body will either try to burn off the sugar quickly (and make you hyperactive in the process), or it will send the sugar to be stored as fat. As the latter option is probably the opposite of what you were hoping for when you started drinking smoothies, that has to be considered counter-productive.
This will have two noticeable impacts over time. The first is the fact that you’ll put on weight. The second is the fact that you’ll constantly feel hungry, because the energy burns off quickly and your body craves more. This effect is amplified if you’re someone who likes to have a smoothie for breakfast, or after training. Your body is totally depleted of energy, and you’re not giving it the type of energy it needs to sustain itself. If you ever find yourself absolutely ravenous during a mid-morning meeting, now you know why.
Smoothies Can Still Work
The issue here isn’t smoothies in general – it’s what you’re putting in your smoothies. The majority of store-made smoothies won’t have these issues, so despite your instincts, you might be better buying one on the way to work than having one at home. You can correct the issue with a few adjustments to your ingredients, though – just throw in some protein. Any protein will be fine so long as it’s there. The person who sits close to you in the office and throws down a huge protein stake before they hit the gym every lunchtime probably has the balance right, so ask them which protein powder they use, and get some. If you can’t abide the idea of powder, yogurt will do just fine.
We’re not telling you not to drink smoothies. We’re just asking you to think again about smoothies made of nothing but fruit, vegetables, and juice. They look great. They might even taste great. As a health solution, though, they’re the pits.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.