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FAD or the future? Smoothies and juices are they healthy?

Do Smoothies and Juice have health benefits or are they simply a FAD!

Written by: Shakira Hawthorne, 2nd-year nutrition student at London South University.

I am sure a lot of you enjoy a good smoothie or juice in the morning or during your day. Many of you have probably read various claims about these drinks quote "contributes to weight loss ", or "better digestion", making you "feel fuller", "boost your energy" and all the other tons of information claiming to be beneficial to your health. But really are these claims at all believable or are they myths or fads??

green juice

The smoothie diet or 'detox' fruit juices are marketing tools and are very misleading to the public so please ignore these messages. These marketing claims make you believe you can achieve a nice slim and trim waist. Here we hope to explain a little about what juices and smoothies are and explain if they are beneficial for you.

There are benefits of smoothies and fruit juices, pros and cons of in equal measure.

In the celebrity world, you may see many celebrities endorsing certain products with claims for how it works for them. We encourage you not to follow influencers but registered nutritionists or dietitians instead as they provide trusted nutrition information.

What's the difference between a smoothie or fruit juice?

Generally, a smoothie contains a mixture of fruits and vegetables with a base of water, milk, yoghurt, ice cream or plant-based alternatives. Also, sometimes people are more adventurous and add components such as seeds, nuts, nut butter, berries, whey protein, or other things that they prefer. In general, smoothies are blended raw fruits and vegetables. They are normally thicker than fruit juices and contain more of the fruit and vegetable whole ingredients ( fibre and pulp etc).

Juices on the other hand are more liquid-based and less viscous than smoothies. They are only made up of vegetables and fruits mainly. These are mainly produced by pressing or squeezing fruits or vegetables to extract juices making a liquid and removing the pulp and fibre.

The benefits?

Overall, both drinks have benefits. For example, smoothies retain more of the fibre from the fruit or vegetables which can help improve digestion. Whereas, juicing provides more of a nutrient benefit from the fruits themselves such as a good vitamin C source as an example. Both are 1 source of your 5 a day!

The cons?

Read here - No juice or smoothie can help you lose weight and it's certainly not a magic drink/solution! Be careful of marketing claims!

So is it better to eat the whole fruit raw or make a smoothie or juice?

According to research, it has been said that juicing can be worse for you. When you juice you remove the insoluble fibre and texture. Interestingly, this texture from vegetables has been shown to be beneficial for your teeth as it cleanses them, so removing all that goodness when juicing can actually be worse. Plus juicing also affects your oral health increasing tooth decay and bacteria in the mouth from the high sugar content.

Juicing causes a spike in blood sugar. When you juice, the amount of sugar from let’s say a large fruit is produced in a concentrated small volume often meaning several fruits are needed to fill a juice portion - causing higher sugar content than an average piece of fruit. Also as an example, when you juice an orange only a small amount of fibre is left than eating the whole orange.

Smoothies of course they are enjoyable and they have some nutritional benefits such as helping you eat your vegetables and fruits and reach your five a day. Also using the whole fruit and vegetables help in boosting your fibre intake.

One good type of smoothie to consume which I recommend are green smoothies from veggies as these are higher in nitrates and help in maintaining good blood pressure and can also dilate the bodies blood vessels.

Be cautious though, even though they may have some health benefits smoothies also cause a spike in blood sugar especially if consumed in high quantities. Sometimes those bought in the store are worse as they have even more sugar added to them.

So, treat smoothies as a treat or as a complement to a balanced diet and try not to consume them on a regular basis.

In conclusion, I recommend considering your choice of smoothies and juices, how you consume, when and which is the best for you. Do the costs outweigh the benefits? Well just to say consume these beverages in moderation and I would say treat them as a reward or a treat. Not as a meal.

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