Do smoothies and fruit juice count towards your 5 a day?
All fruit, fruit juices and smoothies contain fructose, which is a naturally occurring sugar. However, fructose from whole fruit, doesn’t count towards added sugar, because when it stays whole it retains its fibre, whereas in fruit juice and smoothies it does count towards added sugar, because the fibre is removed during the juicing process.
Added sugar, also known as free sugars, are sugars added by manufacturers to fizzy drinks, chocolate, jam, cakes, but they are also found in smoothies, fruit juices and honey.
Are any smoothies good for you?
Home-made smoothies are not as bad as shop-bought smoothies, because you don’t have to blend all the fruit to a pulp, but when you buy them from a shop, most, if not all of the fruit has turned to sugar and there is little nutrient value left.
Blending is better than juicing, because it retains the pulp and skin of the fruit and veg and you can control this when you make it yourself.
Also, consider adding some vegetables, such as kale and spinach to your smoothie and to improve the flavour add some lemon juice, which will make the vegetables taste sweeter.
You can add fats to your smoothies, such as walnuts and flaxseeds, which slows down the absorption of sugars.
It is good to become label savvy and check the sugar content of fruit juices and smoothies and check the serving suggestions too.
Do you know how much sugar you should be consuming?
Children aged 4-7 – 19g
Children aged 7-10 – 24g
Children aged 11 + and adults – 30g
Labels should not be misleading!
However, very often they are. Many smoothies that we buy from our supermarkets are labelled as ‘superfoods’, yet if you look at the traffic lights, red, amber and green, they contain the red label, which indicates high sugar content.
For example, on many of the Naked Smoothie range, they claim ‘only natural sugars’ , but they contain 17g per 150ml serving. If you look at my chart above, this is a large proportion of your daily allowance, if not more, of your daily sugar allowance.
What’s even more ironic, is most Naked and Innocent smoothies contain more sugar than Cola. Innocent and Naked contain 11g per 100ml, whereas Cola contains 10.6g per 100ml. I am not promoting fizzy drinks here at all, I am just pointing out the comparisons.
Should you drink smoothies and fruit juice at all?
Fruit juice and smoothies do still count towards your 5 per day, but keep them to a minimum. The suggestion is 150ml per day. Don’t drink these close to bedtime, when you are about to brush your teeth, because this can lead to tooth decay. A 150ml serving will count towards one portion of your 5 per day and where possible make your own. Keep some frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer and blend, not juice, try and add water to water it down.