Smoothie obsessed? Step away from your blender

There seems to exist a preoccupation with and preconceived notion regarding the smoothie as one of the healthiest superfoods out there today. Load up your blender with every possible fruit, a little bit of yogurt, maybe some milk and ice, and voila, suddenly you’re a superhuman with superior health to those low-life non-smoothie drinkers. What’s the fuss with this fruit-full drink? And is it merited?
I have reason to believe that individuals automatically associate smoothies with fresh fruit, antioxidants, and plentiful health benefits. While this may be true about fruit in general, there are several things which differentiate smoothies and whole fruit. So before you dump the entirety of your fridge’s contents into your blender with the satisfaction of thinking you’re creating a completely healthy godsend, pay attention to these tips for a truly healthy smoothie.
  1. Lost Fiber: When you juice a fruit, this process typically removes the pulp and skin from a fruit, which is where most of the health benefits reside namely fiber (along with carotenoids, flavonoids and other antioxidants, vitamins and minerals). Read #2 for the consequences of lost fiber in fruit…
  2. Spiked Blood Sugar: As a result of this lost fiber, the fructose (the source of sugar in fruit) is metabolized differently, and much quicker than it would be had the fiber remained in tact, to slow down digestion. This quick metabolization of fructose leads blood sugar levels to spike, making you think you are suddenly ravenously hungry too-soon after you consumed that allegedly health-approved smoothie.
  3. Real fruit?: Be careful of where you are getting your smoothies from. Be sure to ask: Are they simply using fruit concentrate, or some weird fake alternative? The weird fake alternative will additionally send your metabolism into shock, leading to false hunger alarms and increased fat storage. This goes hand in hand with making sure there are no weird sugar additives, including white refined sugar, or artificial sweeteners which further disrupt normal metabolism, leading to weight gain.
  4. What Else is In It?: Be sure to ask what else is in your smoothie, as often times there is added juice, yogurt or milk. While this may sound all well and good, these may be of poor quality and really are just a further source of unnecessary sugar. Added juice could be a highly pasteurized, processed, high-fructose corn syrup-filled drink with only 3% actual fruit juice. Added yogurt could be pumped with added sugar for flavor, or fake sugar in an attempt to lower the carb content, both of which disrupt normal metabolic function and lead to weight gain. Finally, even milk is most often highly pasteurized, devoid of its natural immune-system boosters, and instead becomes simply just a source of lots of sugar. Your best bet is to ask for a smoothie with purely fruit and ice, unless you verify that the added juice, yogurt or milk is of good quality.
  5. Fat Free: The food industry has sadly and successfully brainwashed us to think fat is the devil, while fat free plays the opposite role of the angel sent from above. Not quite so. How are you supposed to stay full and avoid extreme spikes in your blood sugar (i.e.: hunger and energy levels) without the one micronutrient which does not impact your blood sugar levels? Yes, I am talking about fat. And yes, I am telling you to eat it. Don’t be afraid! Otherwise, you’re purely consuming sugar, without fiber, which is going to be metabolized so quickly you won’t even believe you’re stomach is already growling for more. Add avocado, peanut butter, almond butter, flax seeds, coconut oil, and other high quality sources of fat to help keep your smoothie stay in your tummy for longer.
So now that I have confused you and made you reconsider every smoothie you’ve ever drank (which, for the record, was not my intent!), lets think about the healthy smoothies you can now start crafting up in your kitchen. Or, if you’re a busy (or lazy…) lady, think about the healthy smoothies you can make your local Jamba Juice concoct for you.
Ingredient Inspiration:
Fruit: any fruit!
Fat Source: peanut butter, almond butter, avocado, flax seeds, chia seeds, coconut oil, coconut milk (unprocessed!)
Base: ice, whole milk yogurt, whole milk, unpasteurized juice
Natural Sweeteners: honey, agave nectar, stevia
Fun Additions : raw cacao powder, green superfood powder, etc.
So please, don’t become a slave to the smoothie. Let the smoothie become a slave to you. You control the ingredients, you control your health. Don’t bury your blender, just use it with a little more street smarts, for a little more health.
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  • Reply June 12, 2013


    I just wrote an article about the misconceptions of smoothies! Loving how you broke everything down- sometimes I like to skip a dairy base and just add fresh squeezed orange juice (Evolution juices are the best- cold pressed and so fresh).

    • Reply June 16, 2013

      Melanie Schneider

      Thanks Michelle! That sounds delicious! Be careful about almond milk though…it’s not truly a “natural food”, however, I haven’t done enough research to truly give you a strong standpoint. Let me know if you find anything valuable!

  • Reply June 13, 2013


    Just saw a great one online – almond milk, 1/3 banana, vanilla, and cocoa powder with lots of ice. yum