We all know smoothies are awesome – yeah? .. as a matter of fact, I have a personal relationship with smoothie-ing “wink”. I believe so much in smoothies as a form of getting your daily fruits and veggie needs. BUT .. whilst it is not a bad idea to have the urge to throw some fruits and veggies in that “oh-so expensive magic blender” of yours “chuckles” .. it is also advisable to be very mindful of what combination and how much of it you blend.
Just because your smoothie is made from fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean it’s low in calories or good for you. Even green smoothies can cause you to gain weight if you aren’t careful. So Whether it’s store-bought, handcrafted in a juice cafe that offers only the purest of ingredients, or made at home, your favorite blended beverage isn’t always as good for you as you might think it is or should be.
Here, I share 5 ways – I have observed – that smoothies can actually make you gain weight:
- IT’S TOO BIG.
You may feel like a “clean eating genius” when gulping down a hefty cup of green smoothie *shuts eyes*, but you are actually eating more than you realize. Smoothies can very easily contain enough fruits and/or veggies to feed two people — significantly more than you would ever sit down and eat raw. All of that adds up to extra calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. A serving of smoothie should be no more than 8 to 10 ounces but Most pre-made or made-to-order smoothies are much more.
What I’d Do: try as much as possible – at all times – to measure out 8 ounces and freeze the extra for later.
- IT’S MORE CALORIES THAN YOU REALIZE:
Even low-calorie foods — like fruits and vegetables — add up. And many smoothies include ingredients like yogurt, sweeteners, sorbet, nut butter, milk, or even ice cream that increase the calories. Bottled and made-to-order smoothies can very easily pack between 300 to 600 calories in 16 ounces. Please don’t assume that one cup/bottle is one serving.
What I’d Do: Keep an eye out for smoothies with added nut or seed butter, coconut oil, or avocado, as these all add significant amounts of calories. If you grab a smoothie for a snack, don’t forget to include it in your total calories for the day. It is recommended by nutritionists to keep snack smoothies under 150 calories and any that you drink as a meal under 350 calories if you’re trying to lose weight. People who are basically maintaining their weight on the other hand, can go up to 500 to 600 calories for a filling smoothie meal replacement.
- IT CONTAINS EXCESSIVE SUGAR:
If your smoothie tastes sweet, it’s probably cos its full of sugar … many store-bought options have almost as much sugar as a soda. While there are health benefits in smoothies including fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals … that much sugar (even from fruit) isn’t good for you. Excessive sugar can leave you tired and cranky not to talk of causing havoc on your blood sugar.
What I’d Do: Make sure my smoothie has more vegetables than fruits, and opt for low-sugar vegetables like spinach and cucumber. Boxed fruit juices are also a no no. Use sweet veggies like carrots and beets instead. Drop the bananas – they are high in sugar and are a high calorie fruit … I know I know – before you have me crucified – it’s perfect for those who are active, if you are not, (which I strongly SMH for by the way) trust me you can get all the energy you need from the veggies and other fruits (like apple, watermelon, paw-paw) in your smoothie.
- IT LEAVES YOU HUNGRY.
The rush of sugar from a smoothie spikes your blood sugar and leaves you feeling tired and hungry just hours after taking it. And a lack of protein and healthy fats, which helps keep you full, also means you get hunger pangs sooner. Plus, when you actually sit down and chew your food, your body secretes hormones that helps increase how full you feel.
What I’d Do: Slow down! Eat a smoothie with a spoon instead of gulping or slurping it with a straw. Adding fats and protein will help make you feel full longer, but these also make the calories skyrocket. I’d get my extra boost of fiber flax seeds, and unsweetened protein powder – but keep an eye still on calories here, too.
- YOU’RE DRINKING IT AT THE WRONG TIME:
The human body is better able to handle sugar at different times of the day. The more active you are, the better your body can process and absorb sugar. Better absorption means that your blood sugar won’t spike as much and you won’t be left tired and hungry hours later.
What I’d Do: Post workout is best, but otherwise stick to lunch or another part of the day when you’re the most physically active.