Topics:  diet, nutrition, smoothies

Sugar overload in shop smoothies

THE phrase 'drink in moderation' no longer applies only to alcohol and energy drinks.

Health drinks, such as smoothies and frozen yoghurts, have now been added to the list after being identified as having "hidden sugars".

A study by consumer advocate Choice analysed 95 drinks sold from popular outlets such as Boost Juice.

Although the fruit smoothies and frappes were marketed as a healthy alternative to soft drinks, 81 drinks were found to be high in sugar.

With a list of ingredients that included concentrated fruit purée, artificial flavouring, and high-fructose glucose syrup, some drinks contained up to 31 teaspoons of sugar.

Of the 95 drinks reviewed 13 had more than 1900 kilojoules, or 454 calories - about three times the amount dieticians recommend for a snack.

Dietician and nutrition consultant Lisa Howell of Logan's Apple-A-Day Dietetics said the study highlighted the huge variation with how fruit smoothies were made.

"Some of the smoothies should definitely not be labelled as 'healthy'," she said.

"As they have high sugar content, excessive serve sizes and sometimes high saturated fat content."

Ms Howell said many of the smoothies in the study were made with fruit concentrates instead of actual fruit.

"Which means the fibre has been removed," she said.

"So although some of the vitamins may still be present, the fibre is not.

"When a fruit concentrate is used, we are getting all of the sugar that the fruit would be providing but in a concentrated form.

"Which is much more easily consumed than the equivalent amount of actual fruit."

Ms Howell said it was in a consumer's best interest to be aware of the nutritional value of food and beverages they were consuming.

"One of my main recommendations for weight loss clients is to choose low calorie fluids," she said.

"Because studies have shown that the kilojoules we consume from beverages do not have the same satiating effect as the kilojoules we consume from food

"And if someone was having one of these 'steer clear' fruit smoothies as a drink to accompany a meal, their kilojoule intake would be huge."

Boost CEO Scott Meneilly said he was aware of the Choice report which reviewed the selection of smoothies from various retailers.

"The team keeps up-to-date with current research, trends and reports such as this one and in addition, we continually critique ourselves to find ways to improve and innovate," he said.

Mr Meneilly said a smoothie should be considered for its nutritional content as part of a person's daily intake.

"For that reason, Boost has a raft of options for our customers - from low kilojoule, low fat options, to high energy purpose built smoothies," he said.

"We encourage our customers to choose what is right for them and make educated decisions by referring to the nutritional information we provide."

For more dietary advice, visit Apple-A-Day Dietetics' website at www.appleadaydietetics.com.au.



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