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What's All The Hype About Smoothies?

October 16, 2011

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berry smoothie, strawberry, raspberry smoothie

Smoothies are the new health craze on the market today. Smoothie shops are opening up on every corner while fast food joints and coffee shops are offering their own signature smoothies just to compete. Smoothies are marketed as a healthy blended drink usually made of fruit and vegetables that fill you up but without all the extra calories. However, the smoothies available today aren’t necessarily all that healthy. Many have high calorie additives, flavoring and ingredients, which make the smoothies not so healthy any more.

            When you think about a traditional smoothie the ingredients are fruit, fruit juice, and ice. This makes for a healthy, satisfying, satiating, blended drink. This type of smoothie is a great addition to any diet and can be used as a snack in between meals or even as a meal replacement. Fruit and fruit juices are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and water all of which our bodies need to function on a daily basis. Additionally, fruits are low in calories and high in water content, meaning they will fill you up quickly but are easily broken down and used by the body. This is ideal for health conscious individuals who are concerned about their weight and the food they eat.

            The original smoothies were initially introduced in the 1930’s. However they didn’t become popular until the 1960’s when people started concentrating more on a healthy lifestyle. In the 1970’s the first trademark smoothie appeared as a dairy free alternative to popular ice cream based drinks of the era. Smoothie king and California smoothie were both part of the first health restaurants that started catering to the smoothie demand. In the 1980’s fitness and sport popularity drove the smoothie industry to open more specialized juice bars and smoothies stands. By 1990 and 2000 smoothies became widely mainstream, becoming available almost anywhere you go, making the juice and smoothie industry a multi billion-dollar industry.

            With a different smoothie shop on every corner also comes a wide variety of flavors, additives, and signature smoothies to try out. Very few of today’s smoothies contain only the original ingredients. Many smoothie companies add frozen yogurt, milk, yogurt, or ice cream to give it a thicker consistency like a milk shake.  For people of the health persuasion, supplement fortified smoothies are available. These add ins include soymilk, whey protein powder, green tea, herbal supplements, wheat grass, multivitamins, flaxseeds, aloe Vera juice, chromium picolinate, acidophilus, turbinado, bee pollen, spirulina, gingko biloba, ginseng, superfoods-goji, cacao, acai, and sweeteners-agave, yacon, honey. In some cases chocolate or peanut butter can be added as well. Watch the ingredients you add because each additional ingredient means more calories and fat, making the smoothie less healthy. For people who are vegetarians or into a macrobiotic diet fruit smoothies or green smoothies are a great choice.  Green smoothies much like fruit smoothie are low in calories and loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and water content. They normally contain leafy green vegetables, raw vegetables, fruit and ice.

            The original smoothies that were first made encompassed the idea of a healthy, wholesome blended drink. With its popularity also came the people who wanted to make a buck by changing it, however the idea behind the smoothie is still alive.  So the next time you consider having a smoothie make sure you know the exact ingredients, or consider making it yourself at home to get all the healthy nutrients you expect.