Especially in winter it is tempting: Eat your daily portion of fruit with a smoothie a day. But is it that simple? How healthy are smoothies really?
They come in green, red, yellow: you can now find smoothies in every refrigerated section. The creamy fruit and vegetable drinks are particularly popular in winter to strengthen the immune system and stay healthy. But is it that easy? How healthy are smoothies and what are they actually made of?
Is a smoothie a healthy drink?
Smoothies consist of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, based on the fruit pulp or puree. Adding water or fruit juices creates a creamy, drinkable consistency. “Smooth” is English and means something like “soft, gentle, fine”.
Basically, smoothies are therefore healthy. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) also sees it this way and states that the daily recommended amount of five portions of fruit and vegetables can occasionally be replaced by a glass of smoothie or fruit juice (with 100 percent fruit content). The word “occasionally” is important in this recommendation. According to the DGE, it is not advisable to drink a smoothie every day instead of eating fresh fruit and vegetables.
In order for the smoothie to remain a healthy snack, according to the DGE it is important that the drinks contain a high proportion of at least 50 percent whole fruit or vegetables as chunky components or puree. They should be free of fruit concentrate, additives, added sugars, and isolated nutrients (nutrients not found in the fruit itself).
Smoothies in the test: partly contaminated with pesticides
But is that the case with smoothies in supermarkets, discounters, and organic markets? We sent red smoothies to the laboratory and had them checked for harmful substances, among other things – unfortunately we found what we were looking for. Traces of pesticides were found in many smoothies in the test, including the spray poison Captan, which is suspected of causing cancer. In our opinion, chlorate was also found in increased quantities.
Healthy or unhealthy: how much sugar is in smoothies?
One problem with smoothies is the high sugar content. Many smoothies on the market do not contain any added sugar, only the sugar from the fruit used. But the recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the maximum amount of sugar per day also explicitly includes natural fructose.
According to the WHO, adults should not consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day. With a glass of lemonade you have already reached this value. And even smoothies often have over ten grams of sugar per 100 milliliters – not exactly healthy. Too much sugar leads to obesity in the long term and can promote diseases such as diabetes or cardiovascular disorders.
Conclusion: Mix a fresh smoothie every now and then
Smoothies are not unhealthy, but those who use smoothies every day are only partially good for their health. It is better if you cut up fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables – you are welcome to leave the peel on and wash them well beforehand – and snack on them or integrate them into your meals: fresh fruit in muesli, vegetables as a side dish, or creative main components in stews, casseroles, and co.
Also possible: do it yourself! Mix your own smoothie from seasonal, fresh fruit and vegetables. In this way, you can use fresh ingredients and do without preservative as in the industry. You can even use leftovers like carrot greens and kohlrabi leaves. If you mix regularly yourself, investing in a good stand mixer can be worthwhile.