We tend to see smoothies as the ultimate healthy beverage. However, many smoothies, homemade and store-bought are often packed with sugar.
This is especially true for fruit-based smoothies, although green smoothies are usually much less sugar-heavy.
This does mean that fruit smoothies may not be the best choice of beverage for those who have diabetes.
Today, we will talk about smoothies and diabetes, and if any smoothies are okay for diabetics to enjoy. It is critical to know your dietary needs and restrictions to ensure you are as healthy as possible!
Are Smoothies Good For Diabetics?
Smoothies can be very good for diabetics, provided that they are healthy smoothies.
This means that the smoothies should include fiber, healthy fats, and protein. That being said, those who do have diabetes should avoid smoothies that are fruit-only or fruit-heavy.
You should also be mindful of how many carbohydrates are in your smoothies if you have diabetes.
Both fruit and carbs will directly affect your blood sugar, and this is problematic for diabetics.
However, this does not mean you have to avoid smoothies that have fruit in them, period.
If you put fruits in your smoothies with healthy fats, such as coconut oil, chia seeds, or even Greek yogurt, this can help to balance out the smoothie.
You should also consider how calorific your smoothies are, as NYTimes.com notes that some smoothies can be very high in calories.
Smoothies should not be treated as a snack, they are better suited to be a meal replacement since they can be so caloric.
So, those with diabetes and without diabetes should be mindful of overeating.
What Smoothies Are Suitable For Diabetics?
Diabetics can easily enjoy smoothies that are light in calories, high in nutrition, and contain low glycemic index foods.
Just because you have diabetes does not mean that you have to avoid all the foods you usually love, but healthy choices are necessary.
There will be some vegetables and fruits that are better for diabetics than others. MedicalNewsToday.com states that you should choose fruit and vegetables which is low on the glycemic index so that they will not spike your blood sugar.
You should also be looking at ingredients that will help you to get a good helping of calcium and probiotics to help your good gut bacteria and aid in bone fortification.
Some great ingredients for this include Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, and kefir.
What Smoothies Are Not Suitable For Diabetics?
If you are diabetic then you should avoid and be mindful of smoothies that are fruit-only as these can contain a lot of fructose which healthline.com states may spike your blood sugar.
Similarly, smoothies that have a lot of carbohydrates are also a risky choice for diabetics as this can contribute to the amount of sugar that enters your bloodstream.
When we eat carbohydrates, our digestive systems will break down the digestible carbohydrates into sugar.
This sugar then enters our blood, causing our blood sugar levels to increase.
Best Ingredients For Diabetics In Smoothies
Some amazing food choices for smoothies for diabetics include foods that offer fiber, protein, healthy fats, low-GI veg and fruit, and those that add flavor without adding sugar!
There are some key ingredients that diabetics can use in their smoothies.
Yet, please keep in mind that you should always be aware of the nutritional and caloric value of any ingredient you add.
The 3 key macronutrients for your diet are healthy fats, protein, and carbs/ fiber. Fiber is important for maintaining a healthy GI tract, however, be aware of adding too many carbs.
With this in mind, here are some foods you can add to your smoothies and what they can offer you!
- Avocado – Healthy fats.
- Walnuts (Raw) – Healthy fats.
- Plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt – Protein.
- Almonds – Protein.
- Pea or Whey Protein – Protein.
- Spinach/ Kale – Fiber.
- Chia seeds – Fiber.
- Vanilla – Flavor minus sugar.
- Oats – Flavor minus sugar.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder – flavor minus sugar.
- Banana (1) – Carbs.
Know your low GI fruits. Healthline.com states that these allow your body to absorb sugar slowly, so is safer for diabetics. Some of these include mango, oranges, bananas, and dates.
Other low-GI foods include; boiled carrots, plain yogurt, soy milk, and rolled oats.
4 Tips For Making Diabetic-Friendly Smoothies
If you are struggling to put together a diabetic-friendly smoothie, we have 4 tips to help you. However, just like making any other healthful smoothie, the key is to know your ingredients and nutrients.
#1. Be Wary Of Using Too Much Fruit
Approach fruit with caution, especially berries. Berries can be quite high in sugar in comparison to other fruits.
Use the fruits we have recommended above if you want to include fruit in your smoothies. Banana is always a good option and works well for thickening.
#2. Use Yogurt
Plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt contained probiotics and protein, so adds plenty of essential nutrition to your smoothie.
Greek yogurt is great for your gut too. Prevention.com notes a study was conducted that found that conduction probiotic-rich yogurt ingestion was associated with positive and healthy changes to the microbiome of the gut.
Similarly, yogurt can also help in reducing visceral fat mass too, according to the same study.
The probiotics found in yogurt can promote improvements in digestive health. However, for women, MedicalNewsToday.com says that the probiotics in yogurt help with feminine health too.
Yogurt is well known to aid in the prevention and easing of symptoms of vaginal candida infections. So, yogurt is not only diabetic-friendly, but very healthful!
#3. Increase Your Fiber
Look to foods such as spinach and kale, and other leafy greens that have an abundance of fiber in them. Fiber is great for your overall health and is stellar at improving digestive health.
Fiber keeps your gut healthy, however, it is also able to reduce blood cholesterol levels, which cdc.gov states can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes and weight gain are typically linked, and fiber can also help with this as well. Adults should consume over 30 grams of fiber per day, however, remember to stay hydrated as well!
#4. Don’t Ignore Fats
We tend to assume that all fat is bad, but healthy fats play a critical role in our bodies and can aid in the slowing down of sugars entering the blood. Fats also help us to feel satiated and therefore help us eat less.
Be aware of balancing out how much fat you include, however, as too much does lead to weight gain, even with healthy fats. Portion control is the key.
Our Best Diabetic Friendly Smoothie Recipes
We are going to link to some of our recipes below, and under that, we will provide you with a detailed recipe card, just in case you don’t feel like clicking on the links below.
- Dairy-Free Chocolate Smoothie For Diabetics
- Diabetic-Friendly Green Smoothie
- Sugar Free Keto Smoothie
Breakfast Strawberry Smoothie For Diabetics
- 1 Blender We used this one
- 1/2 cup/75g frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup/75g ice cubes
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp almond butter unsweetened
- 200 ml almond milk unsweetened
- Prepare the ingredients.
- Add all your ingredients to into a high-speed blender.
- Blitz until smooth. For about 3-4 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
Do Fruit Smoothies Raise Blood Sugar?
Fruit smoothies can be very high in sugar due to the natural sugar found in fruit known as fructose. Diabetics should avoid fruit smoothies. Be extra wary of commercial or pre-made smoothies, also, as these often contain fruit juice which adds even more sugar.
What Fruit Is Best For Diabetics?
Diabetics can safely eat apples, clementines, and bananas in moderation. Choose variety as different fruits will contain different vitamins and minerals beneficial to your body.
What Is The Best Breakfast Drink For Diabetics?
Green smoothies and unsweetened coffee are both excellent breakfast choices for diabetics. Ensure your green smoothie is low in fruits and carbs and high in fiber and protein. Vegetable juices can also be good.