The Worst Ingredients No One Should Be Putting In Their Smoothies Anymore, According To Experts
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Whether you're working to lose weight or just want to eat healthier, looking at your daily sugar intake is key. If you're a smoothie lover, there are plenty of healthy, natural ingredients to include in your drink for a balanced diet — and on the flip side — there are a few to avoid that can lead to energy slumps and weight gain .
We turned to registered dietitians, nutritionists, and health experts for two types of ingredients you should avoid if you're looking to make your favorite smoothie even healthier. Read on for tips, suggestions, and insights from Jay Cowin, NNCP, RNT, RNC, CHN, CSNA, Registered Dietitian and Director of Formulations at ASYSTEM, Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements, and Lisa Richards, registered dietitian and creator of The Candida Diet.
1. Table sugar, sweeteners and syrups
If you're looking to lose weight or prevent weight gain, the "worst ingredient to add to your smoothies is definitely sugar," says Cowin. He notes that not only can too much added sugar "hinder the goal of weight loss, but it can also lead to other health problems like tooth decay, diabetes and heart disease." Sugar in smoothies can be in the form of "table sugar, syrup" or other artificial sweeteners. To reduce this, he advises "just relying on the natural sweeteners in fruit."
Richards suggests trying an all-natural sweetener made from monk fruit instead of adding sugar to your smoothie. For those in need of a sweet drink, "monk fruit can be a great option," she says. "Monk fruit extract contains some incredible compounds that are 300-400 times sweeter than cane sugar but are virtually calorie-free," she notes. This, Richards points out, means it "doesn't affect blood sugar levels and doesn't rot your teeth."
2. Whole Milk & Cream
Another ingredient to avoid in your smoothies to promote optimal gut health is a "high-fat dairy product like whole milk, heavy cream, and ice cream," explains Cowin. Although dairy can be a good source of protein and calcium, he concedes, it's also "high in saturated fat and calories, which can sabotage your weight-loss efforts." Instead, Cowin recommends opting for "low-fat or non-fat dairy products like skim milk or Greek yogurt."
Best agrees, saying that "instead of sweetening your drink with full-fat milk whiteners," it's best to "opt for natural sweeteners or plant-based milk whiteners." Some plant-based creamers are "still high in calories, fat and sugar," she warns, so it's "important to continue to pay attention to nutrition labeling." By choosing a plant-based milk jug and avoiding dairy, Best continues, you can help prevent "bloating and inflammation" that milk- or cream-based drinks often cause.
"Consider using honey or cinnamon instead of refined sugar to flavor your smoothie," she suggests. Both of those ingredients are "natural, anti-inflammatory, and cinnamon can help boost metabolism and stabilize blood sugar," Best says. "All of these can enhance weight-loss efforts and reduce bloating," she concludes. Good to know!
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