Are you a person who is keen to get in the recommend 5 a day fruit and veg hit, so you grab a smoothie, happy (and a bit smug) in the knowledge that not only are you getting 1 but sometimes 2 or 3 in just one bottle?
Sadly, hitting your fruit and veg quota is set to get a bit more tricky thanks to new advice from Public Health England that you should only consume one 150ml smoothie a day and it counts as only 1 of your 5 a day.
This means that in the future, smoothie companies won’t be allowed to claim that their smoothies have more than 1 fruit and veg portion in them. The main reason these new guidelines have been issued is because of the high sugar content of smoothies. But fruit is good for you, right? Yep, fruit is an awesome part of a balanced diet which can help you get vital vitamins and nutrients into your body. However, fruits are high in sugar, regardless of if these are naturally occurring and not the added sugar that we know is bad for us. An average 250ml smoothie contains approximately 30g of sugar which is 100% of the recommended daily intake for an adult and may contain low levels of vitamins and fibre. So it’s understandable that Public Health England want us to be a bit more wary of ‘healthy’ smoothies.
It’s also important to remember that smoothies won’t always give you the same satisfaction as eating “real” foods and you can run the risk of over-eating. A published study has found that when people had carb-rich food (ie fruit) in the form of a drink, they consumed 12% more calories overall.
These new guidelines come at a time when the Eatwell plate (that infamous plate that the government use to show us how much of each food group we should be eating) has changed. Until now the plate had a portion dedicated to sugary food and drinks, showing that we could have them in small quantities as part of a balanced diet. But the new plate released this year eliminates sugary treats altogether and instead they appear outside of the plate with the advice to “eat less often and in small amounts”.
So for those of you who are using smoothies as your way of getting in your fruit and veg, there’s no need to worry - it’s easy to find other ways to incorporate it into your diet. Recently there’s been a surge in the number of new products put on supermarket shelves that help us get our 5 a day. Heard of courgetti? It’s spiralled courgette which you can use in place of normal spaghetti and you can even buy cauliflower rice for a healthy curry night! You can save money by making these yourself, for example you can make cauliflower rice by just blitzing cauliflower in a food processor, so there’s no excuse not to hit that 5 a day target every day (or more).
If you really can’t give up your smoothies, homemade is best (so you know exactly what’s going in them) and that it contains more veg than fruit - around 70% veg to 30% fruit.