I start my day with a breakfast smoothie sometimes and I blog about my smoothies every now and then. What I think about smoothies is that some work well as a meal replacement, and some others, especially if not homemade, are to be avoided (if your goal is weight loss).
Let’s take for example the Peanut Butter Moo’d sold in the US by Jamba Juice: it’s 890 ml containing 169g of sugar and 1,170 calories. One Thousand One Hundrend and Seventy calories. Would you still consider this a smoothie or rather a bomb? Even worse to me are those little bottles – whether containing mango or spinach – hiding unsuspecting unhealthy sugars behind a healthful facade. Let’s say we come across a 250 ml bottle of “Pomegranate, Blueberries and Acai Superfood Smoothie”, produced by INNOCENT. Wow, the color is so vivid and the label claims “super-food”.
We may be led to believe that this drink could upgrade us to a stronger version (I am always hopeful to get to “Daniela 2.0” at some point). No super-food effect has ever occurred, though: that little cute smoothie is not INNOCENT at all. It provides as much sugar as 3.5 Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Donuts (buuuuu).
The Food Standards Agency has set a limit of 10 g of sugar per 100 g. Many smoothie drinks now on sale in the UK have sugar levels higher than this value. Less than a coke, but definitely not lower enough for these drinks to be classified as “superfood”.
And yet we find more new shelves exclusively dedicated to smoothies. Big retailers understood that there’s a great deal of interest around “not from concentrate drinks” and fresh juices make up a big part of the market. It has been calculated that Britons are spending more than £100 m a year on smoothies.
Whether we are aware of the high fructose content in a smoothie or not, one fact holds true: the best fruit-based drink cannot be just as good as eating a fresh apple or peeling a ripe banana. So if we really want to be on a super healthy diet we should start using our teeth and bite an apple or two.
We should at least make smoothies/shakes/juices ourselves, limiting the amount of sugar and selecting the best ingredients. In my kitchen it goes like this: fruit and veggies sweetened with cinnamon and honey and blended with soy milk or yogurt. Honey doesn’t dissolve well in cold shakes that’s why I’m very happy to use this Organic Coconut Sugar as a way to keep refined sugars away and sweeten smoothies and desserts naturally. Coconom, a company I discovered in occasion of the Vegan Festival that took place in London last month, produces this magic product supporting organic, biodynamic farming and sustainable agriculture.
If you wanna know more about coconut sugar visit their page or just google it. I wasn’t paid by the producers to write about it, so please feel free to regard my words as the opinion of a health-conscious consumer (with a moderate sweet tooth). For what I know, this sugar comes from the golden nectar of the coconut palm tree, which is collected by family “tappers” and slowly evaporated and reduced to crystal form. It’s a 100% natural product that tastes like brown sugar but doesn’t contain palm sugar and chemicals of any kind.
In conclusion, to sum it up:
1) Little bottle of smoothie I see everywhere during lunch time (in Tesco, Boots, Starbucks…): you are deceiving me! You are little more than a concentrate of refined sugars!
2) I still cannot live without you so I am willing to make you from scratch, and when I think I’m on diet (something occurring in my imagination only) I make you with green tea instead of milk/coconut milk and add honey or a bit of coco sugar instead of refined sugars.
3) Nothing against you – even if you are high in calories – as long as you don’t claim to be “superfood” or slimming.
Green Tea Pumpkin Shake
- 1/4 can pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup green tea
- 1 tablespoon Coconom Sugar
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Prepare a green tea from green tea leaves. Combine pumpkin, banana (sliced), green tea and coco sugar in a blender and puree till smooth.
- Pour into glasses and top with cinnamon.