Do you want a healthy breakfast smoothie? Hmm, add Maca root? Bee pollen, apple juice… Who knows! Trying to put together a nice and healthy breakfast smoothie is akin to trying to shove together the pieces to make an IKEA table with no instructions.
All the pieces are certainly there, but it is hard to know what should go where, when, and if it should be included now, or maybe later.
It is pretty safe trying to build a good-for-your-health smoothie, and at most smoothie shops and smoothie recipes, there are enough healthy add-ons. That being said, there are lots of ingredients that seem healthy but are sneaky and will actually lead to weight gain.
When indulging in smoothies, like most of modern America, you have plenty of chances to make a mistake and end up going the wrong way.
In order to decode all of the options and truly reap the benefits, let’s take a look at the 7 ingredients you want to avoid putting in your smoothies.
#1. Fat-Free Flavored Yogurts
While Greek yogurt is a suitable backbone for a smoothie, with its high protein and creamy texture, fat-free with fruit on the bottom or mixed-in ingredients, is not. With these add-ons, your body ends up gaining an extra 28 grams of sugar, and this is when we consider healthy brands!
Avoid flavored yogurts, because they typically have added sugar to them, yes, white cane sugar. Some yogurt brands will replace cane sugar with artificial sweeteners, which isn’t good either.
If you want to add yogurt to your smoothies, you should stick with plain yogurt, reduced or full-fat.
A study conducted in 2015 found that the more high-fat dairy products we eat, the less a risk of diabetes we have, but those who ate low-fat dairy products had the highest likelihood.
It was also shown that with protein, calcium, vitamin D, and other important nutrients present in dairy and are good for us, we do have to have the fat that comes with them to get the protective effects they have.
If you skip out on the fat, then you may pay in lean muscle, with less strength and muscles that waste more.
#2. Fruit Juices
Let’s say you’re making a smoothie, and it doesn’t seem like you have enough liquid, you open the fridge, and that leftover OJ lurks, tempting you.
Don’t give in to temptation.
Sure, it seems great, but it does not have the satiating fibers that fresh fruit has, and while it may seem good, it can add a whole 13 grams of carbohydrates.
It is even worse when you visit a smoothie chain. At Smoothie King for example. The Banana Berry Treat contains a papaya juice blend which has a whopping 69 grams of carbs and 30 grams of added sugars, and that’s just for a small serving. You may as well drink 4 fun-sized snickers!
#3. Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream & Sherbet
Smoothies that contain sherbet, frozen yogurt, or even something like a frozen oat milk dessert are far from being a fitness drink, it is a dessert.
A great example of this would be the Smoothie King, Yogurt D-lite, which sounds like a healthy beverage. However, they are not talking about Greek yogurt, it actually contains frozen yogurt. In just 20 oz of this, it has 54 grams of sugar with 28 of these being 38 grams of added sugar.
It would actually be healthier to have a Mcdonald’s Hot Fudge Sundae!
If you miss the flavor, however, note that a large scoop of greek or Icelandic unsweetened yogurt with some frozen fruit will give you the same flavor and consistency as frozen yogurt.
#4. Too Much Of Something Good
Sadly, you can have too many good things. This includes nut butters and avocado. While these are some of the best things you can have if you want to rid yourself of belly fat, having too much of their good fats can easily backfire on you.
So, it is wise to always be a bit cautious of the portions recipes suggest. A fifth of an avocado is considered a single serving, and two tablespoons of nut butter are plenty for smoothies.
Sure, coconut oil is also great and has plenty of saturated fats for your body to burn as energy, and not get stored as fat, if you have too much, this can spell trouble.
#5. Added Sweeteners
We’ve mentioned added sweeteners on a few occasions so far today, but they are much more of a health problem than most people think. Consider, you would never add granulated sugar to a smoothie, would you?
However, some of the other healthy (or at least healthy-sounding) additives do not act so great. A single tablespoon of all-natural honey can add a massive 17 grams of sugar to a smoothie, agave nectar can add 5 grams unnecessarily.
Then there is coconut nectar which is growing in popularity but can add 13 grams of carbohydrates and sugars from only one tablespoon! Finally, sweetened coconut flakes are just as bad too, with a single cup adding 24 grams of fat and 36 grams of sugar!
#6. Canned Fruits
Canned fruits are often seen as a quick and easy shortcut when it comes to smoothies, however, adding them in is a quick way for you to increase your belly fat. These fruits are not so good, packed high with sugar, in some cases it can be higher than 20 grams of sugar in a single can.
Even unsweetened fruits added in their own juices can be a massive nutritional whoopsie. Peeled fruits also miss critical fibers.
If you find fresh fruits to be impractical to have around the house, consider frozen fruits. Frozen fruit will add a frosty texture, and frozen fruit actually has a great deal more nutrition than canned fruit does, as frozen fruit is picked and then frozen straight away, not allowing them time to lose their critical nutrients.
If you are still a bit up in the air about frozen fruits, remember to read labels on frozen fruit packaging to check for added chemicals, sugar, and sodium.
#7. Protein Powder
Many dietitians will recommend you find other protein sources. Many of us find it better to add nut butters, cottage cheese, yogurt, or tofu. If you do choose a protein powder, pick one that does not contain a lot of added sugars and is not ridiculously full of additives, preservatives, thickeners, and other stuff. Also, watch the amount of protein they have too, believe it or not, too much protein can also be an issue.
In smoothies, you only really want to have around 20-30 grams of protein maximum, but there are some protein powders out there that will contain 45-50 grams of protein, and for the average person, that is way too much!
In the U.S. it is recommended that men consume 56 grams of protein every day, and women consume 46 grams of protein every day. Therefore, if you eat 2-3 servings of foods that are protein-rich, then it shouldn’t be hard to reach this, without having a ridiculously high protein powder.
If anything protein is quite unnecessary to include in smoothies in excess. If you need a protein-rich smoothie, consider green smoothies, leafy greens such as spinach and kale include quite a lot of protein, which should be enough to help you reach your daily goals!
What Fruits Should Not Be Mixed In A Smoothie?
It is best to avoid acidic or sub-acidic fruits mixing with sweet fruits in a smoothie. Acidic fruits include strawberries and grapefruits, while sub-acidic fruits include apples, peaches, and pomegranates. The reason is that mixing these can be problematic for digestion. You can mix acidic and sub-acidic fruits together, just not with sweet fruits.
Is It OK To Mix Fruit And Vegetables In Smoothies?
While it is not advised to blend fruits and vegetables together in smoothies, you can do this. It won’t kill you or make you sick, but if you are prone to digestive issues or skin disorders it is recommended you avoid doing so, as together they can trigger these issues to flare up. If you have digestive issues such as IBS, or skin disorders such as chronic acne, eczema, or psoriasis avoid mixing fruit and vegetables together in a smoothie. The gasses they release when combined can trigger flare-ups in these conditions.