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Hidden Calories: Smoothies And Juices

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Smoothies and Juices

Smoothies and fruit juices are, according to their producers, packed with vitamins, low-fat and “bursting with goodness”. But look closer and you’ll find that a lot of these drinks are bursting with calories and may not be as healthy as you might believe.

The UK smoothie market is worth in excess of £150m a year. Britons buy over 2.5 million smoothies every week and many believe that drinking a smoothie is as good as eating fresh fruit like an apple or banana. But, many of these drinks are actually packed with sugars, acids and high numbers of calories.

Smoothies: crushing out the goodness

The juicing process used to make smoothies and fruit juices actually removes a lot of the fibre and nutrients that are found in fruit and vegetables. As the fruit is processed, its nutrients and vitamins begin to lose their potency. A lot of smoothie makers add high calorie ingredients such as yoghurt, and chocolate to improve the flavour and consistency of their drinks. Thus, a banana smoothie generally has more calories and fewer nutrients than the banana itself. In fact, a large number of smoothies on sale in UK shops have higher sugar levels than the 10g sugar per 100g limit recommended by the Food Standards Agency.

Whilst smoothies may not be as healthy as their makers would like you to believe, they are considerably better for you than fizzy soda drinks like Coca-Cola or Dr. Pepper. These drinks contain extremely high levels of calories and acids and damage teeth as well as cause weight gain.

Smoothies: One of your five a day?

As part of the UK government’s drive to improve health in the general population, Britons are encourage to eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. Smoothie and fruit juice producers have lobbied the government to include their products on the approved list of “superfoods” that count towards your “five a day”. But, with smoothies boasting higher calorie counts and lower nutritional value than a piece of fruit, consumers would do better by skipping the smoothie and sticking to the fresh fruit.


10669 March 2012

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