Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Did Smoothies Gain the Mantle of "Healthy"?

"Think of eating one orange or two and getting filled," he said. "Now think of drinking a smoothie with six oranges and two hours later it does not affect how much you eat. The entire literature shows that we feel full from drinking beverages like smoothies but it does not affect our overall food intake, whereas eating an orange does. So pulped-up smoothies do nothing good for us but do give us the same amount of sugar as four to six oranges or a large coke. It is deceiving."
Nine years ago the two scientists had identified sugar-sweetened soft drinks, full of calories and consumed between meals, as a major cause of soaring obesity in developed countries. But they argue that as people change their drinking habits to avoid carbonated soft drinks, the potential damage from naturally occurring fructose in fruit juices and smoothies is being overlooked.
All sugars are equal in their bad effects, says Popkin – even those described on cereal snack bars sold in health food shops as containing "completely natural" sweeteners. "The most important issue about added sugar is that everybody thinks it's cane sugar or maybe beet sugar or HFC syrup or all the other syrups but globally the cheapest thing on the market almost is fruit juice concentrate coming out of China. It has created an overwhelming supply of apple juice concentrate. It is being used everywhere and it also gets around the sugar quotas that lots of countries have."


There's not much to this article except the obvious and the irony.  The obvious is that you can dress sugar up and call it a smoothy or a Gift from God or "Pure and Natural" but it still is harmful above a certain threshold (safe intake is likely ~20g/day?).  
The irony is the industry is using George Bray's longstanding argument that a "calorie is a calorie" against him:

"Coca-Cola argues ... "We believe that rather than single out any ingredient, it is more helpful for people to look at their total energy balance. This is because obesity and weight gain are caused by an imbalance in calories consumed and burnt off. Our products should be enjoyed as part of a sensible, balanced diet and healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity.
"For those that are watching their calorie intake, we offer a wide range of low or no calorie options, which represent more than one third of our sales.""

It is obviously possible to make a healthy smoothy, but sadly many associate the term with "healthy" when instead they are getting just another sugar bomb in sheep's clothing.

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