Between Shakeology, the kale smoothie craze, and the health halo surrounding post-workout smoothie bowls, it might come as a bit of a surprise that smoothies may not be nutritionally ideal. I know, you thought throwing all that fruit and ice into a blender was doing your body a ton of good — and it’s true that a smoothie can be a useful part of a balanced diet. But there’s something about the way many people are doing smoothies that’s seriously unhealthy.
Chances are, if you’re eating a smoothie, it’s either after your workout or it’s your breakfast — or it’s both. What are you putting in that smoothie?
More often than not, people are throwing fruit and ice into the blender and calling it a day. Now and then, people add a splash or two of milk (or a plant-based milk alternative) for a creamier texture. Often, some greens will get thrown into the mix.
But having that all-fruit-and-greens-and-maybe-some-nut-milk smoothie for breakfast is seriously sabotaging your health — and your goals.
Why? Because you are loading your system with simple sugars. And that’s it.
Yes, you need simple sugars from fruit, and yes, fruits and vegetables contain vital micronutrients to boost your health and keep your body going. But that’s not all you need.
When you only pump fruit and fiber into your system, your blood sugar goes haywire. Without the protein or fats to balance it out, your body quickly absorbs all the sugars into your bloodstream and either uses it all or stores the excess very quickly.
When your body digests these sugars, it results in a burst of energy that quickly depletes, and storing them results in (you guessed it) generating fat. Your metabolism, quickly entering panic mode because your body can’t find the nutrients it craves, slows way down so it can preserve the skimpy smoothie you gave it until its next meal.
You’re going to feel hungry. You’re going to store excess sugars as fat. And you’re going to crave high-fat foods (which is really just your body telling you it wants long-sustaining energy) until you finally give in and eat a large meal. Or you binge on a bag of chips. Or you buy three cookies. Who knows?
The point is, all that happened because during a time when your body needed those macronutrients most — either right after fasting all night or after plowing through its energy stores at the gym — you gave it sugar and maybe fiber and nothing else.
So let’s stop it with the skimpy smoothies. A blended juice is not breakfast, and a banana with ice and almond milk isn’t either. Add some nut butter to the mix, scoop in some protein, mix in a dollop (or five) of yogurt. Don’t be scared to add reasonable amounts of nutritious foods instead of adding in more and more and more banana. You’re not hungry after your smoothie because you needed more bananas — you’re hungry because you didn’t add anything else.