Do Nutritionists recommend smoothies?

Smoothies have become an increasingly popular drink choice in recent years, with many touting their health benefits. But do nutrition experts actually recommend drinking smoothies? Let’s take a closer look at what nutritionists and dietitians have to say about the pros and cons of smoothies.

What are smoothies?

Smoothies are blended drinks made from fruits, vegetables, dairy products like yogurt, ice, juice, seeds, nut butters, protein powders, and other ingredients. They have a thick, smooth texture from being blended. Smoothies can be great delivery vehicles for nutrients from whole foods like fruits and veggies. They provide a convenient way to increase produce intake.

Do nutritionists recommend smoothies? Quick answers:

– Smoothies can be healthy depending on ingredients, but often high in sugar. Moderation is key.

– Whole food smoothies with veggies, fruits, yogurt, etc. are better than juice- and sugar-packed ones.

– Focus on balanced nutrition, not just high produce content. Include protein, healthy fat, fiber.

– Make your own smoothies to control ingredients and calories. Pre-made ones are often high in sugar.

– Smoothies should not replace whole fruits and vegetables in the diet. The fiber content is important.

– Portion control matters. Large smoothies can pack a lot of calories. Enjoy smoothies in moderation as a snack or part of a meal.

Potential benefits of smoothies

When made with wholesome ingredients, smoothies can provide some health perks. Here are some of the touted benefits of smoothies:

Increase fruit and vegetable intake

One of the main proposed benefits of smoothies is that they can help increase your intake of fruits and vegetables. Blended smoothies make it easy to incorporate produce into your diet. This can be beneficial since most people don’t eat enough fruits and veggies.

Fruits and vegetables provide important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Boosting produce intake may help reduce risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and cancer.

Adding spinach, kale, carrots, berries, banana, mango, and other produce to smoothies can help towards your daily fruit and vegetable goals.

Include healthy fats

Smoothies also provide an opportunity to add in healthy fats from foods like avocado, nut butters, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds. These unsaturated fats are beneficial for heart health.

Increase fiber intake

If made with whole fruits and vegetables, smoothies can provide filling fiber. This can help with digestion and regulating blood sugar levels.


The liquid content of smoothies can help hydrate the body.

Convenient nutrition

Smoothies provide portable nutrition in a convenient format you can grab and go. This makes it easy to have a nutritious breakfast or snack when you’re busy.

Variety of flavors

Blending different fruit, veggie, and flavor combinations allows you to create a wide variety of smoothies. This can help prevent boredom and increase enjoyment of healthy ingredients.

Incorporating supplements

Smoothies allow you to easily mix in supplements like protein powder, greens powders, probiotics, and vitamins.

Potential downsides of smoothies

Smoothies seem healthy, but there are some potential cons to keep in mind:

High in natural sugars

Blending concentrates the natural sugars found in fruits. This can spike blood sugar levels. Smoothies made predominantly from fruit often end up very high in sugar, even though it’s natural sugar from the produce. Too much sugar can lead to crashes, metabolic issues, and weight gain over time.

Lack of protein and healthy fats

If smoothies aren’t balanced with protein, fat, and fiber, they may not keep you full and satisfied for long. This could lead to hunger, snacks, and blood sugar crashes.

Fiber content

While blending fruits and veggies does retain some fiber, you typically get much more fiber from eating produce whole vs. blended. The soluble fiber is broken down. This impacts digestion. The full fiber content of whole produce is preferable.

Food sensitivities

Some people, especially those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), may experience gas, bloating, or diarrhea from the fruits and vegetables in smoothies. The high fiber content from blending whole produce may be hard to digest for some.

Calorie density

Smoothies can pack a lot of calories into a large concentrated beverage. It’s easy to overconsume calories with extra-large smoothies. Moderation is key.

Reduced Chewing

Blending food requires less chewing. This may impact satiety signals to the brain. Proper chewing and eating whole foods may provide more satisfaction.

Nutrient absorption

Some speculate that blending fruits and vegetables may impact how the nutrients are absorbed and utilized in the body compared to eating the whole produce. However, research on this is limited. More studies are needed.


Purchasing ready-to-drink smoothies can get expensive, especially if drinking them regularly. Making your own smoothies allows you to control the cost of ingredients. But it requires having a quality blender.

Tips for making healthy smoothies

Here are some tips from nutritionists for making nutritious smoothies that promote health:

Use whole fruits and vegetables

Focus on whole produce instead of juices, which lack fiber.

Include protein source

Add protein powder, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or nut butter. This will help you stay full.

Don’t forget healthy fats

Include avocado, nut butters, chia or flax seeds.

Add fiber

Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and hemp hearts supply fiber.

Sweeten carefully

Limit added sugars. Berries and bananas provide natural sweetness.

Use unsweetened dairy and plant milks

Choose unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk. Greek yogurt is also a good base.

Portion control

Stick to 1 cup serving sizes for lower calorie smoothies. Use smaller blenders to avoid overdoing portions.

Balance ingredients

Aim for equal parts fruits, veggies, protein, fat, and fiber in your smoothies.

Make your own

Customize smoothies to your nutritional needs rather than buying pre-made ones.

Should you replace meals with smoothies?

Many cleanse or detox programs recommend replacing meals with smoothies. However, most nutritionists advise against meal replacement smoothies.

It’s better to have smoothies in moderation as a snack or part of a balanced meal plan. Smoothies lack the nutrition of whole meals with protein, fat, carbs, and fiber.

Replacing too many meals with smoothies can lead to blood sugar spikes, energy crashes, and missed nutrients over time.

You may use smoothies as meal replacements occasionally when you’re busy. But nutritionists recommend smoothies as an addition to a healthy diet, not as a full meal substitute. Have them in moderation.

Smoothie ingredients to include and avoid

When making your own smoothies, some ingredients are better to focus on while others should be limited or avoided.

Here are some ingredients nutritionists recommend including more of in smoothies:


– Berries – raspberries, blueberries, strawberries
– Bananas
– Mangoes
– Pineapple
– Cherries
– Pears
– Apples
– Peaches


– Spinach
– Kale
– Carrots
– Beets


– Greek yogurt
– Cottage cheese
– Nut butters
– Chia seeds
– Hemp seeds
– Protein powder

Healthy fats

– Avocados
– Nut butters
– Chia seeds
– Flaxseeds
– Hemp seeds


– Chia seeds
– Flaxseeds
– Hemp hearts
– Oats

Liquid bases

– Unsweetened almond milk
– Coconut water
– Unsweetened oat milk

Natural sweeteners (in moderation)

– Fresh fruit
– Dates
– 100% maple syrup
– Raw honey
– Stevia

Ingredients to limit or avoid:
– Ice cream
– Sherbet
– Frozen yogurt
– Pre-made smoothies
– Juice concentrates
– Added sugars
– Artificial sweeteners

Are there any side effects of drinking too many smoothies?

While smoothies can be healthy in moderation, drinking too many may lead to some side effects including:

– Weight gain – Smoothies still contain calories. Too many can lead to excess calories.

– Blood sugar spikes – Excess fruit and juice concentrates spike blood sugar.

– Dental problems – Acids can erode tooth enamel, especially without cleaning teeth after.

– Food sensitivities – Some experience GI issues from too much fiber.

– Lack of protein/fat – Not properly balancing smoothies can lead to energy crashes.

– Missed nutrients – Replacing too many meals with smoothies can lead to missing nutrients long-term.

– Lower satiety – The lack of chewing may fail to trigger satiety signals to brain.

To prevent side effects, enjoy smoothies in moderation as part of an overall healthy diet, not as a meal replacement.

Final verdict: Do nutritionists recommend smoothies?

The answer isn’t a straight yes or no. Most nutrition experts say smoothies can be a healthy choice *in moderation* as part of an overall balanced diet.

Smoothies provide benefits like increasing produce, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. But they also have downsides if over-consumed, like spiking blood sugar.

To make smoothies as healthy as possible, nutritionists suggest focusing on whole ingredients like fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt, nut butters, and avoiding added sugars. Be mindful of portions.

It’s fine to have a green veggie and fruit smoothie for breakfast or as a snack occasionally. But nutritionists recommend smoothies in addition to, not in place of, whole fruits, vegetables, and complete meals. Don’t do all-smoothie cleanses.

The bottom line is smoothies can be a nutritious addition to your diet in moderation. But they shouldn’t fully replace meals with important macronutrients. Pay attention to ingredients and portions when including smoothies in your eating plan.

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