Smoothies always seem nutritious and healthy… Don’t they? However, while some smoothies are healthy and nutrient-rich, others are as sugary as a can of Coca-Cola!
We are talking about the brightly colored smoothies, made with fresh fruits, berries, and juices. Shop-bought ones tend to be the most guilty of this.
Fresh fruit always suggests that it is healthy, but the fruit is very high in sugar. Fruit naturally produces fructose, a type of sugar, and when broken down in smoothies, we get all of the nutrients, but also, all of the sugar as well.
But, just how much sugar is in smoothies? Should we be more mindful of this? And, which smoothies have the most sugar in them? It’s time to find out!
How Much Sugar In Smoothies Is Too Much?
In smoothies, the sugar content can be as high as 3.5 – 4.5 teaspoons of sugar, per serving, and sometimes higher. That is too much sugar!
Depending on the size of your spoon, generally, a teaspoon is around 5.9 grams, and a lot of smoothies can have as many as 18 to 25 grams of sugar in them! This is around 3.5 – 4 teaspoons worth of sugar, just in a smoothie!
Of course, this is mostly true for fruit-heavy smoothies.
This means that a fruit-based smoothie could take up half of a woman’s sugar intake for an entire day (or 1/3 for a man).
This is a lot of sugar. Of course, if you do not consume many snacks, fizzy drinks, or other fruits in a day, this is not too bad.
However, the average person already consumes a lot of sugar in a day, and 3 teaspoons of sugar from a smoothie can easily lead to an overabundance of sugar in your diet.
How To Make Healthier Smoothies With Less Sugar?
The key to making a smoothie with less sugar is to include less fruit and added sweeteners such as agave, honey, and maple syrups.
It is perfectly fine to have one type of fruit in a smoothie, however, when you add multiple, you are adding even more sugar.
A green smoothie with some blueberries in it, for example, is totally fine and is not high in sugar.
On the other hand, a smoothie that is made with strawberries, bananas, blueberries, apples, and mango will have a considerable amount of sugar in it.
Additionally, adding fruit juice as the liquid base will increase the sugar even more. Fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, naturally, however, most companies will include added sugars as well!
This means that when you add fruit juices to a fruit smoothie, you are adding fructose on top of fructose, and then added sugars on top of that.
Instead, use water, or plant-based milk. Green tea is another good liquid base for smoothies with contains little to no sugar.
Another great way to ensure your smoothies have less sugar in them is to make them yourself and get familiar with the ingredients you use and what nutritional values they have.
Store-bought smoothies will tell you what is in them, but you have no control over the amount of sugar.
It is always best to make smoothies yourself and be aware of what the ingredients offer you in terms of minerals, vitamins, and nutrition.
Sugar In Homemade Smoothies Vs Shop Bought
In a homemade smoothie, you can monitor what goes into it. If you are sugar-conscious you can check labels, and nutritional information to ensure you are not overdosing yourself on sugar.
You can consider green smoothies, adding more greens to your smoothies such as leafy greens, and protein sources such as seeds, nuts, and so on.
Shop-bought smoothies tend to contain a lot more sugar. This is because most shop-bought smoothies contain fruit juices and pureed fruits and vegetables.
Some may even contain frozen yogurt, sorbet, ice cream, and sherbet. Altogether these can add up to a lot of sugar.
Alternatively, when you make your smoothies, it can be 16 grams of sugar or less, which is a lot less, and if you monitor what you put into your smoothies, it can be reduced dramatically… Especially with green smoothies.
Warning: Added Sugars!
Added sugars are a big problem with pre-made smoothies, such as ones you can get at a restaurant, or from a store. Added sugars tend to be included to increase the sweetness and make them more addictive.
However, this means you can have an obscene amount of sugar in these beverages.
Consider a fruit smoothie at a restaurant, these can have anywhere from 45 to 63 grams of sugar, which works out to 11 to 16 tablespoons worth of added sugar! Since women should only have 6 teaspoons of sugar per day, and men only 9, this is WAY above the limit!
A bottled smoothie often contains 18 to 28 grams, but this can be higher in some, such as with Naked smoothies.
This is why it is so much better to make your smoothies at home, when we make our smoothies, we don’t tend to include added sugars, which automatically makes the sugar content less, even with a lot of fruit.
Besides, we can monitor ingredients’ nutritional values and simply include ingredients that are flavorful but low in sugars.
It is all about being more vigilant about what goes into your smoothies. Be aware, and blend better!
To summarize, a typical smoothie can contain up to 3.5 – 4.5 teaspoons of sugar, per serving, which is too much.
To make healthier smoothies with less sugar, keep these things in mind:
- Make smoothies yourself. That way, you know what and how much has gone into your smoothies.
- Use less fruit. Don’t use more than 2 types of fruit in your smoothies.
- Avoid using fruit juices in your smoothies, instead use water, milk, or dairy-free milk alternatives.
- Add plenty of vegetables and leafy greens to your smoothies, they barely contain any sugar.
Are Smoothies Healthy Or Too Much Sugar?
Smoothies can be very good for you, and very healthy, however, it depends on what is in them. Some smoothies can have little sugar and lots of nutrition, but some pre-made smoothies can have more sugar than a can of Coke. Generally, smoothies are a healthy choice.
What Is Unhealthy In A Smoothie?
The sugar content often comes from fruit and fruit juices, can be incredibly high. Be responsible with the amount of fruit and fruit juice you put in smoothies.
Do Berry Smoothies Have Too Much Sugar?
Yes, but not all. Very fruit-focused berry smoothies can contain a lot of sugar, however, this is often made worse by the use of fruit juices as the liquid base.