When it comes to healthy breakfasts that can promote weight loss, a smoothie is one fantastic option. With the right ingredients, it can offer a great amount of fiber, protein, and nutrients–all while serving up fantastic flavor. However, a smoothie is only as healthy as what you put into it, which means that adding the wrong ingredients could be detrimental to your weight loss goals. In fact, there’s one thing health experts say you should think twice about adding if you’re trying to slim down: refined sugar.
To learn more about the health effects of sugar and why you should go with natural sweeteners instead, we spoke to health experts Jay Cowin, registered nutritionist and Director of Formulations at ASYSTEM, and Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet. Find all of their expert insight below!
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If you have a serious sweet tooth and the natural sugars from the fruit don’t cut it, you may enjoy a little bit of extra sweetness in your smoothie. However, Cowin and Richards warn that sugar and sugary ingredients like syrups can take a serious toll on your health and lead to weight gain if you’re regularly adding them to the blender. In fact, Cowin says that the “worst possible ingredient you could add to your smoothie is definitely sugar.”
He notes that sugar, along with other sweeteners and syrups, can “impede weight loss goals,” but the risks don’t stop there. Added sugar can even “lead to other healthy problems like tooth decay, diabetes, and heart disease.” Yikes!
You could also be putting your gut health at risk when you add these ingredients to your smoothie; Richard tells us table sugar is “highly inflammatory as well as a food source for bad gut bacteria,” which means consuming too much of it can lead to an overgrowth of that bad bacteria, causing “negative health effects in many areas of the body.”
So, there you have it: if you care about your health, you should definitely leave sugar out of your morning smoothie. Luckily, there’s likely already tons of natural sugar in it, which is why Cowin suggests “simply relying on the natural sweeteners found in fruits.”
But if you really want to add a bit more sweetness to the mix, Richards offers a healthy alternative: monk fruit. “Monk fruit can be a great option,” she says. “Monk fruit extract contains some incredible compounds that are 300-400 times sweeter than cane sugar, but it’s virtually calorie free.” That means it won’t affect your blood sugar levels–and also won’t cause you to put on some extra unwanted pounds. Score!
Of course, at the end of the day, what you put in your body is your choice. Just keep in mind that if weight loss is your goal, refined sugar isn’t going to be the best option–and you can absolutely enjoy a delicious smoothie without it.
Author: Faith Geiger
Faith Geiger is a New York-based writer and editor. When she’s not covering the latest in health and wellness for SheFinds, she spends her time watching reality TV with her roommates, browsing used bookstores, and enjoying live music. You can reach Faith at [email protected]