From green smoothies to layered smoothies, pretty much everyone is blending up their favorite fruits and veggies. Praised as nutritious meals that work weight-shredding magic, smoothie and juice bars are popping up everywhere and are making it easier than ever before to grab a delicious sip while on the go. But according to a registered dietitian nutritionist Sarah B. Krieger, we might be better off eating our produce whole—despite the fact that blending can help the body absorb vitamins more easily. (More on that here.)
The first problem with the drinks is the amount of fruit required to make them. When people order a drink, they’re often getting 20- or 24-ounce concoctions. “That’s a lot,” comments Krieger. Not to mention, the added sweeteners, milk, Greek yogurt, and additional ingredients skyrocket their calorie counts. And even when people make their own, leaving caloric extras out of the blender, they gulp down their creations in a matter of minutes, which can skyrocket blood sugar. Whole fruit, on the other hand, takes longer to eat and digest. Why? When a fruit is blended, the fiber gets pulverized which takes away its hunger-curbing powers. Translation: Although your smoothie still contains fiber, you’ll likely need to reach for a snack far sooner than if you had simply eaten some whole fruits and veggies—not good news if you're trying to lose weight.
Don’t kick your blender to the curb just yet, though! Smoothies can be a great way to get essential nutrients to your muscles quickly, which is especially useful after a long workout. We suggest making drinks with low-sugar fruits and vegetables and adding some protein powder to the mix to boost its staying power. You can also throw in a handful of fiber-rich raw oats to slow down the digestion of the sugar. Add them to the blender during the last few pulses so that they’re drinkable, but the fiber isn’t totally pulverized. And if you’re a daily smoothie drinker, try switching out your blend for whole fruits a few times a week.