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​​Smoothie Habits Causing Serious Weight Gain, Says Dietitian

Smoothies can be a healthy treat, but they can also lead to weight gain depending on how you make them.

Smoothies are naturally associated with being healthy, but this isn't always the case. While they can be a great addition to your diet if you have specific health goals, it all depends on the types of ingredients you blend up.

"People hear the word 'smoothie' and think it is automatically healthy, but the truth is, most smoothies have sneaky ingredients that really add up to a calorically-dense snack," says medical board expert Laura Burak, MS, RD, author of Slimdown with Smoothies, and founder of Laura Burak Nutrition. "With some simple ingredient swaps, you can transform your smoothie into a much healthier choice."

Here are the smoothie habits you can avoid to ensure a healthier drink in your cup, and for more weight loss tips, make sure to check out The Best Weight Loss Drinks For Breakfast.


Drinking store-bought smoothies

One of the most harmful smoothie habits to have when it comes to weight loss is going for the store-bought types that come loaded with added sugar and calories.

"Even though I wrote a book on smoothies to aid with weight loss and a healthier life, I acknowledge that most smoothies you buy are full of added sugar and excess calories," says Burak.

If you're wanting to enjoy smoothies as a part of your weight loss plan, you'll have the best luck making yours at home.

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Adding too much juice or milk with added sugar

cinnamon sweet potato pie smoothie
Courtesy of Ambitious Kitchen

To make a smooth, creamy smoothie, you have to have some form of liquid. This could be water, milk, or juice. But Burak warns that overdoing it with a sugary liquid can quickly derail your weight loss goals.

"Using juice or milk with added sugar can increase the amount of sugar and calories in a smoothie if you are watching your weight, so you may want to blend with an unsweetened milk of your choice or simply water," says Burak.


Not watching the ingredients you use

apple smoothie
Courtesy of Fit Foodie Finds

Now that you've focused on the liquid base you're using for your smoothie, your natural next step is to choose your other ingredients. A tricky habit that some people don't even notice is not watching their ingredients, or not properly portioning them out.

"Use fresh or frozen fruit without added sugar," says Burak. "Most smoothie places use fruit floating in a sugary liquid or syrup that can contribute unnecessary added sugar. When choosing extras like nuts and nut butter, watch the portion you add because although they are super healthy, nuts can easily add too many calories to your drink."

Healthy smoothie tips


Now that you're aware of some negative smoothie habits, it's important to know some tips for making a healthy smoothie that will help with your weight loss goals.

For making healthy smoothies at home, include ingredients rich in fiber and protein, and blend them up with low-sugar milk alternatives or liquid bases. And be sure to keep your portions at a reasonable size.

If you're in a bind and need to order one to-go, Burak suggests "creating your own with an ingredient list of fruit, an unsweetened beverage like almond milk, plain Greek yogurt for protein, and greens like spinach or kale and order a size that will satisfy you but isn't super-sized."

For more smoothie tips, read these next:

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha