A Juicy Jeopardy – Are Smoothies and Juices really healthy?


Every now and then there appears to be a ‘health trend’ or health fad that engulfs us, mostly created by the health and fitness giants to promote their products. Just like any other fad or trend fading away, it dies down to give way to the next one.

The current trend that has captured the attention of everyone is to drink smoothies and cold pressed juices. With people realising store-bought juices have a miniscule percentage of fruit and instead contains more sugar, artificial colours, flavours and other chemicals, the ‘health stores’ and the health and fitness industry started marketing cold pressed juices, claiming that it preserves all the goodness of fruits.

With lots of nutritionists, doctors and other TV personalities recommending smoothies, everyone is going ga-ga about smoothies and shakes.  Because of this, we now have shops that sell only juices and smoothies. There are organisations that recommend having only smoothies and shakes for the whole day or as meal replacements that help in weight loss.  They sell powders for those shakes .

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The primary question we should ask ourselves is ‘whether having juices, shakes and smoothies helps only in weight loss or also leads to health loss?’

Why have smoothies and juices become such a rage and a multimillion dollar industry?

  1. It saves time by just drinking everything and not chewing or cooking.
  2. It gives a feeling that we ate a lot of ‘healthy stuffs’ like vegetables and fruits.
  3. It’s the ‘IN’ thing now, thanks to celebrities.

Will you be able to eat a large bowl containing a few bananas, apples, beetroot, carrots and some spinach or moringa (Highly valued in US as superfood, included in smoothies). Probably not. May be not even after a marathon. This is due to two reasons.

  1. The fibre in all of this will make you full before you consume even half of that
  2. The taste. Respect your taste buds. Imagine the taste without added sweeteners. You don’t look great in that expression. Please smile.

It is very easy to blend it all into a tall glass of smoothie, with milk or yogurt, some extra sweetener and gulp it down. By blending it into infinitesimally small particles, we bypass important parts of our digestive system including tongue and most parts of intestine.

With the insoluble fibre and cells structure being destroyed in the process of blending this gets digested and absorbed rapidly. This causes a spike in blood sugar levels, which will make your body store the extra sugar into fat.

The same applies if you consume cold pressed juice, even though it might have many tags like ‘organic’, ‘cold pressed’, ‘natural’ , ‘wholesome and fresh’, ‘ no sugar added’ etc. We also end up paying extra for the juice that was extracted several weeks ago in a factory, which might cause metabolic issues.

It is common sense and proven through research that consuming liquid food is easy but makes you less full/satiated than solid food. This means that we become hungry soon and due to the sudden spikes and lows in sugar levels, our energy levels and metabolism drops too.

Due to the absence of chewing, our salivary amylase doesn’t get mixed with the food, which is an important enzyme needed for the digestion of carbohydrates. A perfect recipe for weight gain, diabetes, digestive issues, and other lifestyle diseases.

Most moms claim that a smoothie is the only way they can ensure their children have lots of fruits and vegetables in their diet. The fact is, a child does not need to eat so many fruits and vegetables at a time.  Just because fruits, vegetables and greens are good, does not mean that grinding all of those together and drinking it is good for us. They can be included in our meals/snacks, one or two at a time.

According to Ayurveda, combining fruits with milk /yogurt is not recommended as they are not compatible and can cause digestive issues.

With the advent of the internet, social media and blenders, do not forget the real use of our mouth; to talk and to chew.


Are you a fan of smoothies and juices? Let us know in comments.

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