Different nutrition advice may come and go, but getting your five-a-day is always going to be important. If you’re grabbing food on the go, you want something quick, convenient and healthy – but are smoothies the answer?
As a busy girl on the go, certain things need to be squeezed in as conveniently as possible. I’ll send a text to my mother instead of calling and hang my clothes up instead of ironing them. This same need for convenience extends to making sure I have five portions of fruit and veg every day.
Fruit vs smoothies vs Coca-Cola
Smoothies are certainly a convenient way of getting a fruit fix. But how many of your five-a-day can you really get from them? When we asked this question to more than 2,000 smoothie drinkers, three in 10 believed they could get more than two portions. One in 10 believed they could get all five!
Although smoothies can help towards your five-a-day, they can only count for a maximum of two portions. And when we took a look at 52 smoothies on the market, 22 contained just one of your five-a-day.
An M&S mango, pineapple and passion fruit smoothie had the highest calories and sugar of the 250ml bottles we analysed – 163kcal and 34.5g of sugar. So are you better off grabbing an apple or banana with your lunch?
No-one wants to spend more money than they need to. Personally, if a 30p apple versus a £1.99 takeaway smoothie gives me the same nutritional benefits, I know which one I would be reaching for.
If you want a nice set of pearly whites, it may interest you to know the effect of smoothies on your teeth too. Once fruit is juiced or blended, the sugar in the fruit is released and is as damaging to your teeth as the sugar in fizzy drinks. Nearly half of the smoothies we looked at contained 30g or more of sugar in a 250ml serving – that’s the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar. And eight in 10 smoothies contained more sugar than a 250ml bottle of Coca-Cola.
There’s something about smoothies…
So should you swap your favourite strawberry and banana smoothie for an apple instead? Not necessarily. Some smoothies do contain two of your five-a-day, so it’s worth taking a look at the packaging to see which of them are going to deliver. The sugar in your smoothie is also natural and from the fruit, as opposed to Coca-Cola.
But do remember that you cannot get any more than two fruit portions from a smoothie (and that’s the case however much you drink!). And do supplement them with a variety of whole fruit and vegetables too.
Which are you more likely to reach for – a smoothie or a piece of fruit? Do you know how much sugar is in your smoothie?