Blueberry Doughboy Smoothie

Smooth, Fashionable Nutrition

Deep Purple Blueberry Smoothie with Black Quinoa“What else can we add to a smoothie?” asks the wellness blog at the New York Times. They answer with an absolutely beautiful deep purple blueberry smoothie with black quinoa. It’s smooth, fashionable nutrition. What’s not to love? You get the rational nutrition benefits of two “superfoods” — quinoa and blueberries. It has very little sodium and lots of fiber. You get the pleasure of a great-tasting, thick, cold, and beautiful refreshment. Everywhere you look, you can find health and nutrition writers bubbling with enthusiasm for smoothies as a healthy, easy, and portable breakfast.

100 Best Juices, Smoothies, and Healthy SnacksThe catch? As you can see above, the blueberry/quinoa smoothie will give you 48 grams of sugar, almost 500 calories, and not a large amount of protein. Those numbers come from My Fitness Pal, which adds up nutrition values for the ingredients. Oddly enough, the wellness wizards at the Times give you better numbers — only 315 calories and no mention of sugar. Maybe it’s a difference in rounding.

You can also find smoothie recipes with less sugar and less than 250 calories. It’s worth checking the nutrition facts.

But we wonder if this is more of an indulgent fashion than good nutrition. Thomas Campbell, Medical Director of the Center for Nutrition Studies, suggests it might not be such a great strategy for breakfast:

There is research to show that if you take exactly the same energy as a liquid instead of a solid, you will consume more calories later because the liquefied energy doesn’t satisfy your appetite as well as the solid food. In addition, you may be changing the rate and effect of nutrient digestion in important ways.

With so many people peddling so many “healthy” smoothies, we feel pretty safe in saying that they’re not all so healthy. Choose carefully.

Click here to read more from the New York Times and here to read more from the Center for Nutrition Studies.

Blueberry Doughboy Smoothie, photograph © Miriam / flickr

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2 Responses to “Smooth, Fashionable Nutrition”

  1. March 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm, Bruce Daggy said:

    With all due respect to Dr. Campbell, whose father was one of my profs and a big influence on my thinking, I wish his “I say no” had been an “I say maybe”. I know countless people who have improved their health by incorporating smoothies into their diets. Sugar from fruit is accompanied by many other nutrients, it’s not empty calories. I would have critiqued his smoothie example for its juice content, among other things, but one could do worse. And please, the fact that he made an awful-tasting smoothie on his first attempt makes him human, but it doesn’t mean a good-for-you smoothie must taste bad. Let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    • March 27, 2015 at 3:38 am, Ted said:

      Thanks, Bruce. You make some good points.