3 Tips For A Tastier, Lower-Fat Smoothie

A man making smoothies in a blender while a woman looks at himThere is a huge difference between a fruit smoothie you blend up at home and the concoctions you can get at your local retail shop. Yes, smoothies are loaded with fruit, and fruit is healthy. They can also be a wonderful, incredible, delicious component of a healthy diet, containing other “good for you” ingredients and nutrients that will leave you feeling satisfied.

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However, a typical smoothie can also be packed with juice, yogurt, and sometimes, even sorbet. When you blend these ingredients together with the natural sugars found in fruit, you have yourself one sugary drink. Not to mention, hidden calories.

Keep Calories Low

To keep calories low, stick to fruit, juices and nonfat dairy products. Beware when you see chocolate, heavy syrup, premium ice cream, peanut butter or whole milk on the ingredient list. Other danger flags are coconut, honey, coconut cream, fruit nectar, and protein powder. These are destined to go straight to your waistline, without passing your digestive tract.

You can increase your vitamin and mineral value by choosing a smoothie with honeydew melon, or cantaloupe, any kind of berries, kiwis, bananas, low fat yogurt or milk and orange or other fruit juices. In addition, choose whole fruit whenever possible, to increase the fiber content and increase satisfaction by giving a feeling of fullness.

One thing to keep in mind is that not every smoothie is created equally. Some are dairy free while others are packed with it. Therefore, the calorie count and nutritional content of each smoothie will differ. Also, size does matter when it comes to a smoothie! Tip: You can shave several calories off your smoothie by going with the smaller size.

It is also important that you don’t view a smoothie as a drink that supplements your meal. If you order a sandwich for lunch then run next door to wash it down with a smoothie, you are essentially consuming 2 meals. With this mindset, you could seriously impede your weight loss efforts. A smoothie should either be viewed as breakfast or as an occasional treat.

Keep The Price Low

Many smoothie franchises advertise special ingredients called “boosters” or “enhancers” touted as healthy additions to the basic smoothie. Some outlets may claim such health miracles as “cure a hangover” ” promote healing”, “burns fat”, “increases immunity”, “restores vitality” etc. Naturally, they come with an additional price tag. Many of these extra ingredients cost 50 cents a pop, which can increase a $3.00 smoothie to a $5.00 price tag quickly.

What are some of these “extra nutrition additives” and are they worth paying for?
One of the reasons consumers are drawn to smoothies is because of the additional supplements that are used to “boost” the nutritional content. In actuality, the supplements often used in smoothies are genetically modified and contain lots of chemical fillers and other synthetic ingredients. The actual nutrient being tooted, like vitamin C, is usually one of the last items on the ingredient list, and is generally of poor quality (meaning absorption rates and nutritional benefit are questionable).

Your sudden surge of energy is more likely from the sugar than the booster nutrient!

The best way to ensure a “booster” is indeed a healthy option is to make the retailer accountable for its ingredients. The ultimate scenario is that the retailer is using a smoothie booster made from highly raw and organic whole foods in powder form, without any added chemicals. That way, the vitamins and minerals are all naturally occurring and easily absorbed in the body.

Aloe Vera Juice.
The famous burn remedy, appearing regularly as a miracle cure for a wide range of ailments. There is no scientific proof that swallowing it cures or treats anything. Not only that, some of the constituents may be carcinogenic and it could cause severe cramping, diarrhea and bleeding, in its form as a laxative.

Chromium Picolinate. This one is touted as a fat burning, muscle building substance, again with no scientific proof. It cannot increase lean muscle mass, only lifting weights can do that, and it has no curative effect on diabetes, as some claims assert.

Acidophilus. This is a good source of beneficial intestinal bacteria, valuable for assisting digestion, but is also the active ingredient in yogurt, so if your smoothie is yogurt based you can skip this additive.

Spirulina. Highly touted to do everything from cure acne to impotence, “purify blood” and cures most diseases. It is of little proven benefit. It does have a few vitamins, but not as much, nor as valuable as most fruits. Chlorophyll, one of its main ingredients, is of benefit to plants, not humans.

Ginkgo Biloba. Claims are it improves blood flow and circulatory disorders, prevents or cures absent-mindedness, memory loss, and dementia. Don’t I wish? Actual studies show it may have limited benefits for some Alzheimer’s patients, no proven benefit for others.

Ginseng. Another ingredient that’s been making miracle cure claims for ages. No evidence that it does anything.

You may also see such enticing offerings as amino acids, echinacea, brewers’ yeast, wheat grass and who knows how many other worthless at best additives advertised. Don’t bother, you can spend a fortune on such expensive herbal and nutritional supplements in any health food store with equal questionable benefit.

Enjoy A Smarter Smoothie!

The bottom line is, as usual, read the list of ingredients and make a wise, informed choice. Enjoy these refreshing nutritious drinks by choosing ingredients you know are healthy and low cal. Ask for skim or nonfat milk or yogurt based smoothies. Add any fruits you please, or fruit juices, as well as ice, for the wonderful texture. Turn up your nose at the high calorie additions, and the useless herbal or nutritional supplements.

Diet Soda Linked To Heart Disease Risk

glasses of coke soda(BlackDoctor.org) — Diet soda may seem to be a healthier alternative to calorie-laden regular soda, but a new study shows that people who regularly drink diet soft drinks may be putting their hearts at risk.

Those who drank diet soda on a daily basis were at an increased risk of experiencing stroke, heart attack and death due to these conditions, according to the study.

“Our results suggest a potential association between daily diet soft drink consumption and vascular outcomes,” study researcher Hannah Gardener, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, said in a statement.

To analyze the relationship between both diet and regular soft drink consumption and heart disease, researchers studied the data of 2,564 participants in the Northern Manhattan Study, which was designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors and prognosis in a multiethnic urban population.

Working in collaboration with researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center, Gardener and her colleagues looked at how often each participant drank soft drinks, whether the beverages were diet or regular, and the number of strokes, heart attacks and heart-disease related deaths that occurred among the participants over a 10-year period.

After taking into account pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, the researchers found that people who drank diet soft drinks daily were 43 percent more likely to have had a stroke or heart attack, or died of heart disease, than those who did not drink diet soda.

The study also showed that those who drank less diet soda (who drank it between once a month and six times a week), as well as people who drank regular soft drinks, were not more likely to suffer vascular events.

Previous research has also linked diet soda with a higher risk of stroke and heart attack.

The researchers noted that it remains unclear how soft drinks may affect a person’s risk of heart disease.

“There is a need for further research before any conclusions can be drawn regarding the potential health consequences of diet soft drink consumption,” Gardener said.

The study was published Jan. 26 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Pass it on: People who drink diet soft drinks on a daily basis may be putting themselves at an increased risk of suffering vascular events such as stroke, heart attack and vascular death.