Smoothies: Skip Them or Sip Them?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Blend up some fruits, veggies, maybe a dash of yogurt, some honey and you're in healthy heaven, right? Not exactly. Like energy bars and other "health" foods, not all smoothies are created equal, either, and hidden sugar is the culprit ruining this drink's potential. 

The truth is that while a homemade smoothie made with the right ingredients and the correct proportions packs a powerful punch, many store-bought smoothies or those available at restaurants are simply masquerading as "healthy" without actually offering any nutritional benefit. Pull the mask off, and you'll discover smoothies such as the 20-ounce The Hulk Strawberry from Smoothie King, which clocks in at 964 calories with a whopping 125 grams of sugar. By comparison, a Snickers bar contains a seemingly tiny 27 grams of sugar.

Experts agree that, when done right, smoothies are a great meal alternative for those constantly on the go, and stress the importance of focusing on your greens, rather than sweet fruits. Our friends at Angeles Health International thought it was high time to unveil the secret to healthier, low-sugar smoothies. Their handy graphic breaks down the ingredients and portions you should consider for your next smoothie, plus five of their favorite recipes.


Do you rely on smoothies for a quick meal replacement? Are you careful to be conscious of how much sugar goes in to each drink?

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Comments

KEITATP 7/15/2019
I make smoothies sometimes....great info!!!
Thanks so much for sharing. Report
VFAITHFUL1 6/27/2019
I generally try not to drink my calories except protein shakes. But it does sound interesting. Report
GGRSPARK 6/27/2019
I am not a fan - I think it must be the texture that puts me off. The information here is interesting and I’ll have a better look. Wonder if ut’s printable. Report
SPINECCO 6/27/2019
Great recipes. Thanks for sharing. Report
RAZZOOZLE 6/25/2019
thank you Report
GEORGE815 6/6/2019
Thanks. Takes a lot of energy to blend on a regular basis. Report
KOALA_BEAR 5/14/2019
For me smoothies are a great time saver in the morning b4 dashing off to tbe office. I often use protein powder & or almond, soy or coconut milk, spinach & crushed pineapple. Yes it has sugar but I get more greens than if I made a veggie omelet & it's faster too. Instead of coffee I do sometimes have a chocolate protein powder smoothie w/ banana & peanut butter. It will hold me for hours & altho higher in sugar, is way better than a candy bar woukd be health-wise.🐨 Report
STEEPERSLOUNGE 5/1/2019
Love a smoothie on occasion. I prefer raspberry with a vegan chocolate protein powder, plain Greek yogurt, dash of almond milk.
When I garden for four hours straight through I enjoy a half a Banana, Avocado with Greek plain yogurt, whey, non gmo, gluten-free powder. It's a potassium boost. I am very careful at tracking my sugar intake so I do measure each portion. Report
KHALIA2 3/15/2019
I love smoothies. Drink them all of the time. Report
ALUKOWSKY 1/30/2019
As a few others have said, I love to EAT vegetables and don't understand the appeal of pureeing them. (Yuck!) However, I drink fruit smoothies at least once or twice a week for either breakfast or lunch. Mine are very simple: 1 scoop of soy protein powder, 8 oz. soymilk, and a cup of frozen blueberries. Quick, simple refreshment containing 26 g. protein without a lot of sugar or fat, for about 300 calories. Report
KHALIA2 8/29/2018
I love smoothies. Thanks for the info! Report
KHALIA2 8/23/2018
Thank you so much for this info. I did not know that bananas were high in sugar. Report
I use frozen fruit, either berries or peaches (thickens without using ice), Greek yogurt or Skyr, and around 1/4 cup of milk. That's it. Makes enough for one person.
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With all the great summer fruits available now, I make smoothies every other day for breakfast, but keep calories lower with plain Greek yogurt. Fun & informative article. Report
Love smoothies. Thanks for the info. Report
...love smoothies but as a diabetic, i really must be careful of the sugar...us oats or protein powder as filler that way i keep that full feeling longer... where can I get the nutrition facts for these smoothies...BTW: love the graphics...
06/27/18 Report
Some really interesting combinations here. Would be so nice to see NUTRITIONAL INFO on each combination. I see a lot of carbs :-(
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Don't drink smoothies but thanks for the info. Report
Great article! I have a smoothie 4-5 times per week. I'm very conscious of what and how much I put in them, after discovering many of the warnings in this article - so much sugar! If you're careful, smoothies can be a great, tasty way to add more veggies and fruit into your day! Report
Great article. Thanks. Report
Thank you I will try that! Report
Thanks Report
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Interesting Report
I was drinking smoothies with Greek yogurt, ground flax, chia, berries, and a banana. The good news was no more leg cramps. The bad news was I didn't realize that I was pounding down 500+ calories until I joined Sparkpeople and tracked one. No wonder I wasn't losing weight. Report
thanks Report
CAJUNANGEL39
Is there a way to print the articles?

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ALILDUCKLING
I've never been a big veggie smoothie person, altho I have no negative experience with them. They just don't really appeal to me. My favorite choice is more of a fruit smoothie or something more on the order of a nutritious shake. Report
I use them as a meal and also add fiber to them so that I am not hungry and it does fill me up. Report
We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
- John F. Kennedy Report
A definite keeper article..Thanks! Report
There are so many options. I'm trying to decide which one to try first! Report
I really want to try this! Report
Great info Report
ROBBIEY
These all look yummy, but I prefer fruit over veggies in a smoothie Report
ROBBIEY
These all look yummy, but I prefer fruit over veggies in a smoothie Report
I like smoothies, but I love green thickies even more! Report
I often have a protein smoothie w/ a balance of fruits & veggies. Thanks for some great combination-ideas! These recipes seem very doable. Report
4LMHJCR
When I had dental surgery and could not chew I was using my Vitamixer to make veggie smoothies and every once in a while I will still have a nice veggie smoothie. I know some folks say that they aren't as filling as just eating the veggies and fruits when you eat them, but for me the smoothies were just as filling and satisfying. Just like everything else in life, what works for one person won't always apply to someone else. Thanks for the suggestions. Report
I prefer to eat my calories, not drink them but I do appreciate that they would be a great way to get your greens. Report
I never make smoothies, eat the whole food, unless you are toothless....or your mouth can't open. Report
I love smoothies! I'm very particular about what I put in mine. They are a powerful meal when the right ingredients are added! And a huge time saver. Report
I say skip the smoothies. They may have some nutritional value if you use the right ingredients but by blending the ingredients you have done half of the digestive process for your body. Therefore they take less time to digest and move quicker through your body. You burn a few more calories if you just eat the fruits and veggies. You get more benefit from the fiber as well. Report
Smoothies have no appeal to me. I like all the suggested ingredients, just dislike the idea of drinking them as a purée. Report
4LMHJCR
love the chart for smoothie suggestions. I don't purchase smoothies but I do sometimes make them at home and I will be referring to this chart! Report
Totally yummy! Report
I haven't really done smoothies or even thought about it. Now i'm thinking of having one for breakfast a few times a week. Report
Great - thanks! Report