Your healthy smoothie?... It could have more sugar than a can of cola
It is that time of year when many of us embark on a health drive in an attempt to shed some of the extra pounds gained over the Christmas festivities.
So it is little wonder that, with health experts hammering home the importance of getting your five a day, we spend £109m a year on smoothies.
But it turns out that we could be doing more harm than good in our quest to beat the bulge and follow a healthy diet.
It has emerged that some of the best known brands of fruit smoothies actually contain more sugar than a can of cola.
The process by which smoothies are created also removes some of the nutritional value — smoothies contain less fibre than whole fruits or vegetables as some is lost during juicing.
This means they can only count as a maximum of two portions of the five-a-day target — regardless of how many different fruits are crammed into the bottle.
Gillian Killiner, director of 121 Dietitian, explained: “Put into context, smoothies are useful and have a role to play, but only within a balanced diet.
“If someone isn’t fully aware of the content they could be misled into thinking they are doing a positive thing for their health when they are actually consuming quite a large amount of sugar.”
According to research carried out by which.co.uk, 29% of people think you can get more than two of your five-a-day from smoothies.
However, when the consumer group analysed 52 different smoothies, 22 contained the equivalent of just one portion of fruit.
All Innocent, Asda and some of Sainsbury’s smoothies contained two of your five-a-day.
Ms Killiner continued: “It can be very confusing for the public without the expertise and knowledge of a dietitian to know whether they are making the correct choices.
“Smoothies are promoted as the healthy option, but that isn’t necessarily the case. If you are consuming the additional calories in a smoothie without burning them off, you could put on half a stone in a year.
“Smoothies can be an excellent way for some people to get nutrients — for example, a person who has mouth cancer and cannot eat whole fruit could get a great deal of benefit from being able to drink a smoothie.
“If you are going to have a smoothie, I would recommend drinking it after eating something with a high-fibre content so it stops your body from absorbing the sugars too quickly.”