the ugly truth about (green) smoothies
Green smoothies are more dangerous than one would imagine. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s a fact. If you don’t prepare them in the right way, they can cause severe problems in the long run. Read this quick explanation and the easy guide so that you can minimize the risks and maximize the amazing effects of green smoothies.
What are the risks?
Okay, I have to admit, that I fell for them too. I just loved the idea of getting healthier by drinking a delicious mix of fruits and vegetables. Who wouldn’t like that? Eating fruits and veggies is okay, but consuming them 10 times daily – which would be the recommended amount according to a new study – is nearly impossible. For most of us at least.
But unfortunately it turned out it’s not so easy as I thought. When I researched a little in this topic, I found out that there are some issues which tend to be overlooked by most of the green smoothie promoting articles. I made two lists of the possible risks: a dramatic and a realistic one.
The dramatic list
- fatty liver
- kidney stones
Scary, right? And it’s true: if we don’t pay enough attention to how we make our green smoothies, these will be the possible outcomes. With the help of the less dramatic list below let us explore this dangerous world 😉
Blood sugar level
The problem: the causes of diabetes and insulin resistance are still unclear, but there are some factors which highly increase the risk. It is assumed that the high fluctuations in the blood glucose levels can contribute to the progress of diabetes and even to the development of insulin resistance. The intake of simple sugars (white sugar, white flour) and fructose causes spikes in the blood sugar levels, and that’s what fruit juice does, especially when the fruit’s fiber is removed. Fiber makes things better. And green smoothies have fiber in them , but this fiber is chopped into little peaces and therefore it may go through the digestive tract quicker than in its whole form. Because of that their effect is weaker.
The solution: the good news is that there are other ingredients which can slow down the glycemic response. Adding (unsaturated) fats and protein will do the job. So coconut and almond milk, chia seeds are our friends 🙂 You can even use more leafy greens and fiber-rich fruits, like berries.
The problem: smoothies count as processed foods and besides it is harder to notice how many calories they include. According to myfitnesspal.com an average green banana smoothie contains 373 calories and 90 g carbs – and it’s just a drink! And carbs (those little bastards) turn into body fat very quickly…
The solution: make smaller portions and use low-carb fruits. Try to avoid using bananas and grapes regularly, they are the worst.
Overdose of fructose
The problem: Research shows that high intake of fructose may lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, fatty liver, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and even kidney disease. But it’s clear that it has to be overdosed. Since a lot of products have fructose as sweetener in them, it’s not so unrealistic.
The solution: do not buy products which use fructose as “natural sweetener” and do not boost your smoothies with extra fructose or corn syrup. Naturally occurring fructose may not harm you, it’s the processed form which is the evil one.
The problem: Oxalates are salts of oxalic acid, found in many fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens like spinach or salads contain more. Normally they are excreted in the urine, but excess levels may lead to the formation of stones in the kidney. This condition is usually genetically-based and very rare, but those who drink lots of green smoothies should be aware of the risk.
The solution: Be alert and drink a lot of water. Dehydration can also lead to contributing to kidney stones.
Healthy green smoothies: a how-to
On the other side green smoothies have dozens of benefits, so you shouldn’t stop drinking them. Just pay attention to the things mentioned above. The ideal smoothie:
- is rich in fiber, protein and healthy unsaturated fats
- contains low-carb fruits
- does not include extra fructose as sweetener
You can find inspiration on what to mix together here.
Do you like green smoothies? Share your favorite recipes in the comment field so everyone can learn about them – we will prepare and make a post about the best one 😉