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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