This is a confusing question, isn’t it? For instance, smoothies have been around for a long time, but we keep hearing about how many of them are unhealthy because they are high in sugar.
Juices, on the other hand, are newer to the health scene. Stores dedicated to juicing are opening and it seems like a new juicing health revolution is starting. Have you seen the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead that is all about one man’s journey across the US drinking only fresh juice?
But then we hear about how juicing is ALSO high in sugar AND is missing all the fiber found in the whole foods used to make the juice.
The advice to eat more fruits and vegetables is valid. So, are these drinks healthy or not?
The short answer is yes and no. Yes, they can be healthy, but not if too much fruit or sweeteners is included. Also, it’s important to use each at the right time of day, for the right purpose and in the right quantity.
Here’s a summary of the pros and cons of each. Then I explain how I use each of them in my own diet.
- Include the whole foods so they retain all the fiber. The fiber keeps you full and also slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream
- Provide an opportunity to included sources of fat (such as avocado) and protein (such as hemp seeds or protein powder) making your smoothie a complete meal. Healthy fats and protein also slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream
- Require only a blender, which is a common appliance in your kitchen
- Can be too high in sugar if too much fruit or sweeteners are used
- Removes all the fiber so that the nutrients in the fruits and vegetables are absorbed quickly by the body
- Can spike your blood sugar quickly since there is no fiber to slow absorption
- Are not a complete meal since they don’t contain any protein, healthy fats or fiber
- Require a specialized appliance that most kitchens don’t already have
- Are expensive to purchase commercially
So, how do I use them?
I use smoothies as a complete breakfast. Some of my favourite ones that have a balance of macronutrients and are very low in sugar are:
I use juices only when they do not contain fruit (except lemon or lime) and only on an empty stomach. This is so that the nutrients can be absorbed quickly into my body. Also, I use juice as a snack and don’t use it to replace a meal.
I hope this gives you some ideas on how to use these nutrient-rich beverages. If you would like some further ideas on how you can eat for energy and weight loss, I have 2 free recipe e-books to offer you.