‘Healthy’ drink has gone from 
flavour of the month to smooth criminal

They’re thought of as a nutritious and healthy drink, but the reality is that fruit smoothies do much more harm than good.

As a study by the Telegraph states, some fruit smoothies contain four times the amount of sugar the World Health Organisation recommends a day [six teaspoons].

Fruit is a vital part of a cyclist’s diet. Not only will it help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers and obesity, it can help maximise performance. Vitamin C, for example, is important for the repair and growth of all muscle tissues, which is vital during the recovery process.

Fruit also contains antioxidants which help fight off free radicals, a destructive by-product of aerobic exercise that damages cells. And lest we forget, many fruits contain carbohydrates that help fuel the body, as well as electrolytes such as sodium and potassium that will combat dehydration, should that become an issue.

Fruit truly is a wonder food, providing it’s the whole fruit. However, many people think fruit smoothies are an adequate substitute, but the moment it’s juiced, and concentrated, it will lose many of its nutrients, fibre and minerals. Not to mention that many smoothies add sugar and preservatives. 
And this is where the problem lies.

- Stop the rot –
Fruit smoothies are 
particularly damaging to teeth, due to the sugary content of the fluid. Real fruit releases its sugar once it has been 
consumed

The research surveyed 50 products from supermarkets, coffee shops and food outlets and found that more than half of fruit smoothies and juices contained at least six teaspoons of sugar. Since a change in guidelines, this could mean people would be getting their entire recommended daily sugar intake from one drink.

Although the sugar found in fruit juices was naturally occurring rather than added, it’s important to realise just how much sugar you may be consuming from a bottle as small as 150ml. Many people will gladly drink one or two of these juices a day, in the belief that they are a healthy option.

“The level of sugar in some of these drinks is horrifying, with many containing well above the upper limit of six [teaspoons],” said Aseem Malhotra, a cardiologist and science director of Action on Sugar. “In my view sugary drinks should be consumed as an occasional treat, perhaps once a month.

“Scientific studies have shown that consuming even one sugary drink a day is associated with a significantly increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, even in normal weight people,” he added.

  • DarwinFan

    Smoothies aren’t that different to Coca Cola or Fanta in terms of sugar content. Pretty devastated when I found that out! Doesn’t matter if it’s homemade or not, and even the freshest most seasonal fruit still has the same amount of sugar. It’s something to do with the way that the fibre is destroyed when the fruit is crushed I think – it makes it a much faster sugar rush than just eating a banana.

  • khisanth

    They mean shop bought smoothies. Home made ones are just pure fruit with whatever you add in.

  • anthony

    Agree with GC, below. My wife and I produce lots of smoothies from fresh seasonal fruit, during the summer. Super refreshing, kids love them, and wouldn’t eat fruit on anything like the same scale, otherwise. Neither of our kids are overweight, or have dental problems. Combining a good balance of carb and juice also balances the value of the drink.

  • G Cunningham

    I am unsure if the article is suggesting the sugar is added as an ingredient, or if the process of making the fruit into a smoothie releases sugars already contained within the fruit.

    If the second statement is true, I question whether the findings are really significant since that sugar would be released from the fruit in the digestion process.

    The simple answer maybe, make your own smoothie using your home blender. More vitamins and minerals and no pasteurization treatments mean its healthier and significantly cheaper.

    Personally I use a juicer and a blender and produce a tasty smoothie each morning at breakfast. I make it with seasonal fruits and add coconut milk to help make it a little more creamy. If I have been the the gym the day before I add some protein powder or if I want to spice it up, add fresh ginger.

    Even with the washing up afterwards, it still only adds 5 minutes to my morning routine.