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View Full Version : Are fruit smoothies unhealthy because of the sugar?



J.C.
07-06-2010, 01:35 PM
I've always been taught that fruit and vegetables are good. Recently there seems to be a bit of a smear campaign against fructose. I understand that fruit contains a lot of sugar but isn't this something where the positives outweigh the negatives?

I recently bought a blender so I've been making smoothies out of frozen fruit, bananas and fruit juice. I've found some good combos, they taste great and I get about 4 portions of my fruit and veg in one go. All those lovely vitamins and anti-oxidants. It's like drinking health.

I'm not cutting so how concerned should I be about the sugar content?

vdizenzo
07-06-2010, 06:09 PM
I would not worry if I was not cutting. Removing all sugars including fruit helped me quite a bit on my cut. I'm going to try and add fruits back in on the weekends and see how I make out.

RebelDogg
07-06-2010, 06:26 PM
Ugh. I hope not. I don't get a ton of smoothies, but I eat apples, oranges and bananas pretty much every day. Never gave a thought to the sugars because I thought since it wasn't refined sugar it was okay... don't know much about nutrition science and all that jazz. I want a blender bad, just to make smoothies. But mainly I love eating my fruits... need to research this now...

Behemoth
07-06-2010, 06:49 PM
Healthy is a relative word and to be honest I wish it never existed. Anytime somebody asks is "such and such healthy" I'm always initially at a loss for words. There's never an easy way to explain it. If you ask someone on a ketogenic diet they'll tell you fruit, or excessive fruit is unhealthy but eat bacon. If you ask a vegan they'll tell you bacon will kill you but you can't have enough fruit. If you ask a powerlifter he'll say there's nothing wrong with fruit. If you ask a bodybuilder in the offseason he'll likely tell you the same. If you ask the same bodybuilder one week out from a contest he'll likely tell you he could think of better ways to expend his few calories he's on.

Everything in moderation. Is a big mac "unhealthy"? No, not if you eat one once per month or in such fashion in my opinion. They negative qualities it may possess are pretty much irrelevant at such infrequent consistency. In the same way one could argue nearly the opposite arguement about say 1% milk. The defender would say "It's natural, and only has a fraction of the fat of 2% or whole milk". And he's right, 1% milk is perfectly "healthy". But if that individual decides to bulk on a gallon of 1% a day over the course of a month he's now consuming probably 10 or 20x the amount of saturated fat our once a month big mac eater consumes (I know big macs contain trans fat, sodium, etc, I'm just making a point on one macronutrient right now -- saturated fat). So whose the unhealthy one now? The one who ate the "unhealthy" food? Or the one who ate the "unhealthy" amount of "healthy" food?

To answer your question directly. There's no reason to avoid fruit smoothies containing just blended up fruit/veggies unless you are on a diet that is carb controlled and excessive amounts of fruit smoothies would put you over your limits of daily carbohydrates. Asking whether certain store bought juices are "healthy" or "unhealthy" could open a very big can of worms. I'm sure you could find a lot of info and peoples opinions on that subject from running a few searches.

J.C.
07-07-2010, 06:05 AM
Thanks, that's a good answer. To be honest I used the word "unhealthy" to be deliberately provocative and get some responses.

I can see how generally speaking, sugar = bad. But with all the good stuff you hear about blueberries and strawberries and the micro-nutrients in fruit, I thought maybe sugar+anti-oxidants = good. It sure feels a lot better to chug down a couple of tall glass of blended berries than take a couple of pills.

I generally workout in the morning so I've been having a smoothie with breakfast so I get my sugar rush before I get to the gym. I guess because I'm not on a controlled carbohydrate diet then I don't need to worry about it too much.

depotman
07-07-2010, 09:18 AM
Healthy is a relative word and to be honest I wish it never existed. Anytime somebody asks is "such and such healthy" I'm always initially at a loss for words. There's never an easy way to explain it. If you ask someone on a ketogenic diet they'll tell you fruit, or excessive fruit is unhealthy but eat bacon. If you ask a vegan they'll tell you bacon will kill you but you can't have enough fruit. If you ask a powerlifter he'll say there's nothing wrong with fruit. If you ask a bodybuilder in the offseason he'll likely tell you the same. If you ask the same bodybuilder one week out from a contest he'll likely tell you he could think of better ways to expend his few calories he's on.

Everything in moderation. Is a big mac "unhealthy"? No, not if you eat one once per month or in such fashion in my opinion. They negative qualities it may possess are pretty much irrelevant at such infrequent consistency. In the same way one could argue nearly the opposite arguement about say 1% milk. The defender would say "It's natural, and only has a fraction of the fat of 2% or whole milk". And he's right, 1% milk is perfectly "healthy". But if that individual decides to bulk on a gallon of 1% a day over the course of a month he's now consuming probably 10 or 20x the amount of saturated fat our once a month big mac eater consumes (I know big macs contain trans fat, sodium, etc, I'm just making a point on one macronutrient right now -- saturated fat). So whose the unhealthy one now? The one who ate the "unhealthy" food? Or the one who ate the "unhealthy" amount of "healthy" food?

To answer your question directly. There's no reason to avoid fruit smoothies containing just blended up fruit/veggies unless you are on a diet that is carb controlled and excessive amounts of fruit smoothies would put you over your limits of daily carbohydrates. Asking whether certain store bought juices are "healthy" or "unhealthy" could open a very big can of worms. I'm sure you could find a lot of info and peoples opinions on that subject from running a few searches.

Excellent response.

Most people who are trying to lose or cut weight will try and stay away from sugar because when eating a decent amout of sugar it causes your blood sugar to rise. Which triggers the release of insulin, which should lower your blood sugar level and in some cases it will drop it down below the normal range. Which triggers your body to eat again to bring your blood sugar level back up to the normal range.

So people who eat a lot of sugar can get caught in a cycle where they are always hungry, because they eat a bunch of food that have a high glycemic index, get full off of it. There body has to spit out a bunch of insulin to combat the high blood sugar, now their blood sugar level falls below the normal range (because of the insulin realeased into their blood) into a fasting state and their body tells them to eat again to bring the blood sugar level back up.

I'm not sure how accurate that portrayal actually is but its what I have learned while reading a good bit of material on the subject.

IMO whatever negatives you would receive from eating a bunch of fruit, would be offset by the positives. The natural viatmins and fiber you would be getting are very healthy.

geordie1986
07-07-2010, 09:52 AM
I recently bought a blender so I've been making smoothies out of frozen fruit, bananas and fruit juice. I've found some good combos, they taste great and I get about 4 portions of my fruit and veg in one go. All those lovely vitamins and anti-oxidants. It's like drinking health.


Got any recipes to share? I like to experiment making smoothies but its hit or miss whether they taste good or not.

J.C.
07-07-2010, 01:43 PM
Well I only bought the blender recently - I found one in a charity shop for ten quid! - but this tastes nice:

Measurements are very imprecise.
Two handful's frozen summer fruit (raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries.) I just bought a bag from the supermarket.
One banana
Pour in enough mango/tropical juice to just cover it all.
Blend.

If it looks too thick, add more juice and blend it again. Personally I like it so thick that I can almost eat it with a spoon.

Basically I'm buying bags of mixed frozen fruit, a bunch of those cheap from concentrate juices and some fresh fruit and veg, then trying different combinations.

The above tastes amazing. It's the best so far. You could almost use it as a coulis for a dessert. Poured over a few scoops of vanilla ice cream would be so good.

This may be a placebo effect, but I swear having one of these a day improves my recovery! It is basically four servings of fruit in one go, which must pack quite a punch in terms of anti-oxidants.

Holto
07-07-2010, 03:08 PM
Recently there seems to be a bit of a smear campaign against fructose.

There is no smear campaign against naturally occurring fructose. The data coming out of Princeton recently and other concerns are with regard to HFCS.

Totally different.

Fruit is gold for me when cutting because it's low cal and filling.

Behemoth
07-07-2010, 03:34 PM
There is no smear campaign against naturally occurring fructose. The data coming out of Princeton recently and other concerns are with regard to HFCS.

Totally different.

Fruit is gold for me when cutting because it's low cal and filling.

Interesting, I've never found that to be the case personally. Although admittedly I don't generally give fruit much of a chance, I scrap it pretty early simply for a few staples like oats and red skin potatoes. But I'm intrigued as to which fruits you find the most satiating. Or moreover, the longest satiating. Bananas apples and oranges all seem to leave me hungry shortly after with regard to what oats or say brown rice would do. Strawberries would be the only one I'd consider right now but maybe I should branch out (no pun intended, ha ha ha).

Holto
07-07-2010, 03:50 PM
Interesting, I've never found that to be the case personally. Although admittedly I don't generally give fruit much of a chance, I scrap it pretty early simply for a few staples like oats and red skin potatoes. But I'm intrigued as to which fruits you find the most satiating. Or moreover, the longest satiating. Bananas apples and oranges all seem to leave me hungry shortly after with regard to what oats or say brown rice would do. Strawberries would be the only one I'd consider right now but maybe I should branch out (no pun intended, ha ha ha).

The last year or so my breakfast has been just about any kind of fruit + a scoop whey +soy milk.

I find it all quite filling considering the calorie total. If I had to pick one as "most filling" I'd have to say blueberries and strawberries but I can't really notice a difference. I eat oats for lunch every day and I love me some taters.

RebelDogg
07-07-2010, 05:12 PM
Basically I'm buying bags of mixed frozen fruit, a bunch of those cheap from concentrate juices and some fresh fruit and veg, then trying different combinations.

Just wondering if you get decent nutrition from the concentrates? I would think fresh fruits and veggies would be healthier, would the concentrates or maybe canned stuff (like canned pineapple) be decent? I've always heard that you lose a lot of nutritional value in the canned stuff. Always lumped anything that says "concentrate" in with that. Is there anything inherently "unhealthy" :evillaugh: about the concentrates? Just curious.

And no... I'm not going to make the joke about they guy that stared at the bottle of orange juice. I'm just not gonna. :clown:

geordie1986
07-08-2010, 02:56 AM
Measurements are very imprecise.
Two handful's frozen summer fruit (raspberries, redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries.) I just bought a bag from the supermarket.
One banana
Pour in enough mango/tropical juice to just cover it all.
Blend.

great cheers I'll give that a go.

J.C.
07-08-2010, 05:35 AM
Just wondering if you get decent nutrition from the concentrates? I would think fresh fruits and veggies would be healthier, would the concentrates or maybe canned stuff (like canned pineapple) be decent? I've always heard that you lose a lot of nutritional value in the canned stuff. Always lumped anything that says "concentrate" in with that. Is there anything inherently "unhealthy" :evillaugh: about the concentrates? Just curious.

And no... I'm not going to make the joke about they guy that stared at the bottle of orange juice. I'm just not gonna. :clown:

Depends who you ask. You are allowed to count one glass of concentrate fruit juice as one portion of fruit per day. You can't drink 5 glasses and say you've had 5 portions of fruit. So you are getting something good out of it, but obviously fresh is better. With actual fruit, I just don't think canned fruit tastes very nice.

In this case though, I'm only using the juice as the liquid base. The smoothie is all about the fruit and vegetables - which I get fresh or frozen - but you gotta have some liquid in there! Concentrate fruit juices are really cheap, so it just made sense to use them.

mike mcgee
07-08-2010, 06:40 AM
J.C. I have a vitamix blender, and use it regularly. Your original question was about sugar. Your smoothie sounds like it is loaded with it. I understand the sugar from the frozen fruit, but why are you also using fruit juice. It almost sounds like it would be too sweet to drink. Have you tried adding water? It won't taste as sweet, but I'm sure you'll get used to it. Also, be careful when blending. You also mentioned about getting 4 servings in one shake. I made that mistake when I started using the Vitamix, I would probably get 3-4 servings of fruits and veggies with each shake. Let's just say the stomach wasn't too happy...

J.C.
07-08-2010, 09:34 AM
I will think about using water instead of juice - that's a good suggestion.
My stomach is fine thanks. I've never reacted badly to anything. Dairy, grains, red meat, lots of vegetables, whatever; none of it seems to give me discomfort or gas.

J.C.
07-08-2010, 09:35 AM
Also, be careful when blending.

In what way should I be careful?

RebelDogg
07-08-2010, 02:36 PM
In what way should I be careful?

Fingers go outside the blender. Had to learn that the hard way. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to curl with no fingers? Or how embarrassing it is to try to flip someone off in traffic and have them just completely not get it?

Be careful. Remember, outside the blender.

...

I'm sorry... I know I'm a jackass... :clown:

depotman
07-08-2010, 03:40 PM
J. C. Ive done a lot of the same things as you when it comes to blending fruits in the blender. Buying them frozen makes things really easy. I usually buy a bag of mixed frozen fruit, as well as frozen peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. Frozen peaches are the bomb.

To make sure my protein drink has adequate carbs (to trigger insulin response) I would mix some peaches or strawberries with soy or almond milk and some protein powder. I also get my omega's from a twin omega oil (flax and borage oil) and I dump two table spoons of that in there. Much cleaner then fish oil imo.

For days when I really need to up my calories I will dump in a couple tablespoons of peanut butter into the mix as well.

To make sure I am getting all my servings of veggies I am thinking of giving this ago http://www.amazinggrass.com/chocolate-green-superfood-powder.html

mickycrueser
07-10-2010, 12:29 AM
Go ahead and have your fruit smoothie. If you'd like to add a little protein, substitute one of your fruits or your orange juice for some low fat or fat free yogurt. Then you'll add that protein while cutting some of the natural sugars. And just eat some veggies during lunch/dinner to stay healthy !

ryuage
07-10-2010, 08:01 AM
I have a sweet tooth that is satisfied by concoctions with fruit in the mix... whilst "cutting"

never seemed to have a problem losing the fat

everything in moderation

Genesislinx
07-09-2011, 02:29 PM
Got any recipes to share? I like to experiment making smoothies but its hit or miss whether they taste good or not.

I just started doing smoothies. The tastiest recipe I blended contained: ice, orange juice, romaine lettuce, apples, carrots, frozen blueberries and banana.

I've since cut out the orange juice and apples to cut down on the sugar and I use water for the liquid. I admit it doesn't taste as good without the juice but it's still sweet. Romaine lettuce is a personal fav of mine to put in the mix because the taste is easily masked by the sweetness of the banana and berries, so I take advantage by making it the bulk of the ingredients.

While cooking, I also save the odds and ends from veggies that I don't like to eat (like the broccoli stalks or carrot tops) and throw it in the smoothie the next morning for added nutrition.

Dan Fanelli
07-10-2011, 10:13 PM
Healthy is a relative word and to be honest I wish it never existed.

EXACTLY.... Define healthy. I recently had this discussion with a co-worker, and came to the general conclusion that things people describe as "healthy" either contain a lot of beneficial compounds, or not a lot of harmful compounds.