Tropical smoothies are usually loaded with sugar. Fruit sugar isn’t as bad as other sugars but a cup of your average chain store juice bar tropical smoothie can cause weight gain.
There’s a lot of sugar paranoia these days. Much of it is for good reason. Over 35% of U.S. adults are obese. And there are 25 million Americans with Type 2 diabetes. Another nearly 80 million Americans are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
But some so-called nutrition experts take the sugar phobia too far. They urge people to limit or even eliminate fruit. There are two major problems with avoiding fruit.
Two Reasons Why It’s OK to Eat Natural, Whole Fruit
Fruit contains disease-fighting antioxidants. Though you may be able to get antioxidants from vegetables and other foods (butter and chocolate, for example), nutrients are synergistic. That means they interact with other nutrients. We get the most benefit from antioxidants when we obtain them from various sources. That’s why you hear nutritional therapists (like me) suggest eating a rainbow of colors.
Second, the sugar in fruit (fructose) isn’t evil sugar. Evil sugar is sugar that creates crazy fluctuations in your blood sugar. You want rock steady energy all day. When you have steady energy, you won’t feel cranky. But when you eat sugars that quickly spike your blood glucose level, what goes up must come down. And blood sugar doesn’t merely go back to normal. On the contrary, it dips (read: crashes) quickly and lower than before, making you tired, irritable and giving you a pounding headache.
That’s why eating foods with sucrose (white table sugar) and fake sugar (such as high fructose corn syrup) is really bad for you. Although sugar contains no fat, it’ll make you fat because if you don’t burn it through intense exercise, it’ll be stored around your midsection as body fat. Even innocuous sounding sweeteners can lead to weight gain. I’m talking about honey (even if it’s raw and organic), raw agave nectar and molasses, to name a few. (Want to sweeten your coffee? Add stevia or monk fruit extract. Both these natural sweeteners are sugar free and don’t raise your blood sugar.
Fructose: Good or bad for blood sugar levels?
The sugar in fruit, fructose, does not create quick spikes and subsequent dips in blood sugar levels. In fact, dietitians counsel their patients with obesity to eat some fruit to curb cravings for sweet foods. In general, the sweeter the taste of the fruit, the higher it is in sugar. However, with just a few exceptions—overly ripe bananas and certain exotic tropical fruits—you really shouldn’t worry about the sugar content of fruit. That is, as long as you can the serving size in moderation.
The One Tropical Smoothie That’s Ridiculously Healthy For You
The exception to this rule is when you’re having a tropical smoothie. Most fruit and tropical smoothies contain several servings of fruit. Moreover, most fruit juices and smoothies contain no fiber and no fat. Fiber and fat slow down your digestion. They also slow blood sugar fluctuations.
So my recommendation is to avoid tropical smoothies at all costs.
With one exception: a Chef V Tropical Smoothie! What is the tropical smoothie from Chef V? It’s certainly not a large serving of just fruit juice. On the contrary, it contains the same 7 detoxifying green veggies in our Organic Green Drink.
Our Tropical Smoothie also contains blended mango, pineapple and a tiny bit of pineapple juice. Now here’s where some of the sugar phobia I mention above comes into play. You may come across an article online that says that mango and pineapple are two fruits that are fairly high in sugar. In fact, they might just be in the top 10 or so of the most popular fruits. But you know how when you step on a scale, it only reveals a number and not the whole picture (lean muscle mass, water weight, bone density)? Well, the amount of sugar in a fruit isn’t telling you the whole story either.
What’s missing from the dietary info is the high vitamin and mineral content. Moreover, a fruit’s amount of grams of sugar per serving does not reveal its glycemic load. The glycemic load estimates how much a certain food will raise your blood sugar after eating it. While a fruit may be fairly high in sugar, the amount that sugar will spike your blood glucose level will be minimal.
Pineapple and Mango: sweet duo make for a healthy tropical smoothie
Let’s take pineapple for example. While it rates medium on the glycemic index (one wedge of it has about 10 grams of sugar), it ranks very low (7) on the glycemic load scale.
Also, pineapple offers amazing health benefits. It’s very high in vitamin C and manganese. Manganese is critical for energy production. Pineapple also has fiber, thiamine, vitamin B6 and Copper.
But one all-star nutrient in pineapple that you may not have heard of is bromelain.
Bromelain is an enzyme in pineapple. It helps fight inflammation and can improve your digestion. Studies (such as this one) suggest it may encourage weight loss.
And why do I include mango in my Tropical Smoothie? Sure, the sweet taste helps. But I also added it to this healthy tropical smoothie because like pineapple, it offers many positive health outcomes. It can lower your cholesterol, clear your skin, prevent tumors, and improve digestion.
See why you shouldn’t be scared of fruit?
If you love the taste of tropical fruit but don’t want a large serving of it, try our Tropical Smoothie. Each 16 oz. serving contains only 6 grams of sugar plus a heaping serving of 7 dark leafy greens!
Life’s too short to deny yourself of the sweet (healthy) stuff. You can have your fruit and eat it (er, drink it in the Tropical Smoothie), too.
Ps. That’s our Mascot and Pup Mr. Coconut! He loves this tropical smoothie too!