In theory, smoothies are a fantastic way to supplement your diet and eliminate unhealthy meals and snacks from your menu. While they can be a great contribution to a healthy lifestyle, most of the smoothies we chug are way more dangerous than we think! Sure, they can be a delectable source of fruits, veggies, and protein, but if you don't watch out, your daily indulgence may actually pack on the pounds. Beneath the guise of healthful berries and leafy greens lurks the potential for a fatty, sugary drink that works against your weight loss goals. If you are concerned that your smoothie might be making you fat, check out the information below to learn what to avoid!
Sugary fruit juices: It may be much easier to just add a splash of your favorite juice to your smoothie to boost the flavor, but juices are often laded with excess amounts of sugar. Instead of using juice as the liquid base of your smoothie try substituting in water, freshly brewed tea, organic juices (although make sure you check the nutritional label first!), or almond milk. These options are much lower in sugar, and still provide plenty of flavor for your smoothie!
Ice cream or sherbet: Ice cream is fairly self-explanatory, but many people believe that a dollop of sherbet can't do that much damage when they add it to their drinks. Uh, not so much. Sherbet and sorbet may be low in cream and dairy, but their sugar content is still sky-high! While the calorie-count usually only clocks in at about 100 calories per serving, there are typically about 25 grams of sugar in half a cup of sherbet (this goes for frozen yogurt too, ladies!). That, in addition to the sugar in the fruit, puts a strain on your body. Instead, try some Greek yogurt if you are looking to add some thickness to your smoothie.
Syrups and powders: It may be tempting to add a tablespoon or two of your favorite chocolate syrups or powders because, really, how much harm can such a small amount cause? The answer: quite a bit! In two tablespoons of chocolate syrup, there are over 100 calories, and more than 20 grams of sugar. That hint of chocolatey goodness might be alluring, but those calories will add up surprisingly fast. If you can't go without, try substituting in a helping of organic or natural cacao powder. It is packed with antioxidants, magnesium and iron, and has no sugar whatsoever!
Cheap protein powders: We don't blame you for wanting to add a little oomph to your smoothie, but make sure you are investing in some high quality protein powder. Since protein supplements are not regulated by the FDA, certain cheap brands often get away with including undesirable ingredients like lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic. Also, consuming too much protein can take its toll on your body, so try not to overdo it with the powder! If you can't afford the higher quality stuff, there are a lot of great natural ways to add protein to your smoothie. Try adding natural peanut butter or almond butter, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, chia seeds, or oats for a boost of nutritious energy!
>> Read more: Shake Up Your Day with Protein: 14 Protein Shake Recipes
Non-organic peanut butter: Okay, we know it is hard to condone dropping $7 on a single jar of peanut butter, but natural really is the way to go when it comes to this tasty ingredient! Natural peanut butters do not contain any added sugar, whereas your average jar of peanut butter can contain way more than is necessary! Trust us, it's worth the extra dollar or two! You can also try our favorite healthy alternatives by clicking here.
Honey: Unfortunately, this natural sweetener also contains a lot of sugar, especially when combined with fruit. Luckily for you avid smoothie-drinkers, there are a lot of substitutes you can use! We recommend swapping out the honey for a serving of stevia, Truvia, or agave nectar. These are lower in sugar, and will keep your drink just as sweet and savory as before! To learn more about sugar substitutes, click here.
You don't need to give up your smoothie obsession! A couple simple swaps will keep your drink nice and skinny. If you want more advice on what ingredients you should be adding to your smoothies, check out our sources here: Prevention, Healthy Smoothie Headquarters, Center for Nutrition Studies, Bon Appétit