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Are smoothies healthful?

8/17 8:50:17

Hello: I have just read an article from the Chicago Tribune about the fruit juice craze,which says juicing is not healthy as the fruit fibre is usually not consumed with the juice,which I totally agree with.I was therefore surprised when it went on to state: "Smoothies do provide fibre, as the entire fruit often goes into the blender, skins and all, but they still contain a lot of calories. Choosing a vegetable-based juice or smoothie is one way to reduce the sugar content, health advocates say".
I am in the habit of blending a smoothie in my Vitamix for breakfast that contains about a cup of blueberries,an apple,and a banana with rice milk.I never add sugar.Is this really adding excessive sugar/calories to my diet? Your thoughts,please,and thanks!

Hi Michael

Thank you so much for your very good question! Yes, this is one many folks struggle with. With all the clashing advice out there, it is no wonder that there is some confusion. Let my try to give you my take.

I see everything in terms of balance. If you were to say to me that you make smoothies with mostly fruits morning, noon and night, I would agree that you might be overdoing things on the sugar side.

However, if you are healthy and have a healthy eating plan in general, a fruit smoothie in the morning usually shouldn't present a problem. In fact, in my book it is healthy and sounds absolutely delicious!:-)

Blueberries are fairly low on the GI scale and are extremely rich in antioxidants, so that's fine. In this article I wrote recently, blueberries were number 2 on my list of favorite antioxidant-rich fruits

You are also getting a healthy helping of fibre in the process, which helps to slow the release of the sugar into your system anyway. And your smoothie is probably very filling as well.

To get back to the juicing issue you also mention, I think there is a place for both smoothies and juicing in a healthy diet. I don't think juicing is unhealthy in any way. I have been juicing for almost 20 years and have seen countless benefits from it.

Of course, juicing should not be about making fruit juices only. That would be too sugar-rich. Much of what is juiced should be on the veggie side. A good split usually is about 80% veggies and 20% fruit.

I think the biggest thing that cause folks to judge juicing as unhealthy, is if they are under the impression that all the fibre is lost in the juicing process - as in the article you are referring to. Most people simply don't know that only the insoluble fibre is lost during juicing. All the valuable soluble fiber is retained This means your body will still get the benefits from that, such as its help in reducing cholesterol and slowing down sugar release, etc.

Many people who are juicing, stir some of the pulp back into the juice to get the insoluble fiber back in the juice. This is a great idea and gives you the best of both worlds in the end.

So, if your morning smoothie is part of a healthy and balanced general diet and you don't have a sugar issue as such, I don't see a problem with it. It doesn't sound like you are adding excessive sugar or calories to your diet!

Enjoy your smoothies!

Warm wishes from South Africa
Rika Susan
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