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The good, bad & ugly of juicing, smoothies & other beverages Print

Andrea Howegner interview at Global Calgary for Jugo JuiceWith the ongoing trend of detoxes, cleanses, juicing, smoothies and marketing of so-called “healthy beverages” you might be wondering which are best. Here is some information to help you navigate the best choices when it comes to what you drink.

What is the difference between juicing, smoothies and other fruit beverages?

I like to think of fruit beverages in three classes:

1. Healthy smoothies

  • Made fresh with fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit, veggies, unsweetened juice, yogurt, milk/non-dairy milk and other wholesome ingredients found in a healthy kitchen.  

2. Fresh pressed juice (juicing)

  • Made from whole food ingredients such as fresh fruit and veggies. Fresh pressed juice contains no added sugars and offers a refreshing beverage with no added preservatives.

3. Sugary beverages

  • Beverages with added sugar that are marketed as “healthy” because they have a few vitamins added are more like pop. Added sugar is also found in smoothies that come out of a slurpee-like machine, are made from powder or that use sorbet scooped out of containers like ice cream.

Which is best, juicing or smoothies?

Jugo Juice Might Kale SmoothieWhile fresh pressed juices do offer some vitamins and minerals and contain no added sugar, a properly made smoothie still ranks as my top choice for nutrition.  

Since the entire whole fruit and/or veggies are consumed rather than simply the juice, smoothies offer more fibre and phytonutrients (health promoting components found in plant based foods).

I also like that ingredients containing protein and calcium such as yogurt, milk/non-dairy milk as well nutritious items such as chia seeds or hemp hearts can be added to enhance nutrition. Since healthy smoothies contain fibre and also potentially protein, they are more filling and offer more satiety than fresh juices.

If I am buying a smoothie what should I look for?

Not all smoothies are created equal. In fact many ‘smoothie imposters’ are nothing more than an overpriced slushy drink or sugary drink that contains no actual real fruit.

3 foolproof ways to ensure you are NOT getting a ‘smoothie imposter’:

1. Seeing is believing

  • Healthy smoothies are custom-made fresh (they don’t come from slushy machines). You should see simple ingredients you can find in your kitchen such as real fresh or frozen fruit and veggies being added to a blender right before your eyes.

2. Ask if it is the real deal

  • Stay clear if they use sweetened juice and sorbet (sugary frozen stuff scooped from containers that looks like ice cream).  Skip smoothies made from only powdery sugar mixtures with ice and water. These don’t provide the nutrition you get from unsweetened juice and fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit and veggies.

3. Don’t be misled by savvy marketing terms

  • The words “fruit punch, fruit drink, fruit cocktail, fruit beverage and fruit sorbet” imply sugar has been added. The advertisements “made with real fruit” or “blended with real fruit puree” are marketing terms that do not ensure your smoothie is 100% unsweetened. Ask for an ingredient list of what is in your smoothie and see for yourself.

(See below for a comparison chart of brands of various beverages and smoothies.)

What are the best ingredients to add to a smoothie?

Smoothies are one of the most nutritious ways to start your day, especially for those individuals that lack getting enough fruits and vegetables into their diet. Smoothies also make great post workout recovery beverages and after school snacks for kids and teens.

5 easy steps to building a healthy smoothie:

1. Start with fruit

  • Fresh or frozen unsweetened strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple, banana, peach and more!

2.  Add a healthy liquid

  • 100% unsweetened juice, milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut water or fresh pressed vegetable juice.

3. Consider a veggie

  • Fresh kale, spinach, swiss chard, avocado, cucumber as well as steamed veggies (such as cauliflower, carrots and beets) whirl away in any blender easily.

4. Try a healthy addition

  • Hemp hearts, chia seeds, ground flax, yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, bran or protein powder are other great additions to enhance nutrition.

5.  Blend & enjoy!

  • Drink at home or place in a reusable coffee mug with a straw and take on the go.

Beverage Comparison Chart

Beverage Comparison Chart

As seen in

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
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