Is your smoothie worse for you than soda?

Is your smoothie worse for you than soda?

While your daily strawberry-banana smoothie may seem like a nutritious choice, two U.S scientists claim fruit juice is the “new health danger”.

Barry Popkin and George Bray, the researchers responsible for highlighting the health risks behind consuming sugary soft drinks in 2004, now say that fruit smoothies and juices may be just as bad for you as soda since they contain the same amount of sugar.

Approximately one-half of the U.S. population consumes at least one sugary drink on any given day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Those sugary drinks have been linked to poor diet quality, weight gain, obesity, and in adults, Type 2 diabetes.

While a smoothie blended from real fruit may seem like a vast improvement from a can of soda, the researchers argue that they simply allow you to consume more sugar without feeling full.

“Think of eating one orange or two and getting filled “, says Popkin, in a recent interview with the Guardian. “Now think of drinking a smoothie with six oranges and two hours later it does not affect how much you eat. The entire literature shows that we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake.”

Popkin and Bray say that since their soft drink study was released nine years ago, soda manufacturers have been buying fruit smoothie companies and falsely branding their products as healthier alternatives. Just last month, the Pepsi-owned juice company Naked, had to shell out $9 million as part of a class action lawsuit over the brand’s alleged misuse of health phrases, including “All Natural” and “100% Fruit.”

“Juice is far from the healthiest way to consume fruit,” says Aimee Chisamore, registered dietitian with Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “It’s not going to provide the same amount of fiber and nutrients fruit has to offer, and it’s not going to satisfy your appetite for as long.”

If you insist on having the occasional fruit smoothie or juice, Chisamore suggests making it at home for optimal nutritional benefit.

“Most premade, store-bought fruit juices add additional sugar,” Chisamore says. “At least if you make it at home, you know exactly what’s going into your smoothie and can add protein, such as Greek yogurt to promote satiety.”

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  1. what about making smoothies WITHOUT fruit juices? I make mine with fresh fruit, milk and yogurt (and ice)

  2. is a smoothie WITHOUT fruit juice bad? i make mine with fresh fruit, milk, yogurt and ice.

    • That is a better option Tushima, however the point the researchers want to make is that there is still a lot of sugar extracted from the fruit to drink in one sitting. People who are diabetic should especially keep this in mind.

  3. Yes, as long as it has sugar I believe it s bad. Smoothies is good and we do not need sugar or sweetener, banana or carrots sweets the smoothie…natural is the best.

  4. I disagree- a natural fruit smoothie made from pure fruit and no added sugar is better for you than a sweetend soda. Soda’s contain processed sugar, chemicals and artificial colors and is very harmful where fruit has natural sugar, no artificial colors or preservatives and has nutritional value. Everyone needs to watch their calorie intake but I would rather drink fruit drink than have a soda anyday. Like anything there are good and bad. Anything processed is not good for you.

  5. This is not right. A good fruit smoothie has fiber, healthy fats, protein, and various essential micro and macro nutrients depending on what you put in it. The sugar in fruit is a large quantity when compared to vegetables or whole grains, but it gets filtered out by the fiber and is the same as chewing the fruit, except now you are putting the fruit in the blender and mixing with other things such as coconut, flax seeds, protein powder, macadamia nuts, yogurt, honey, chia seeds, algae extract, etc. And their comment about a smoothie not making you full is silly because if you make it right you’ll be more full than a waffle breakfast. You cannot make it black and white and base solely on sugar content two diverse entities like whole foods vs store bought diluted sugar syrup crap.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.