Nutritionist warns: 3 ingredients that can make your smoothies far less healthy

Smoothies are a popular choice for breakfast or a snack because they are ostensibly healthy and so easy to make. There is no need to follow a recipe; you can just toss in the organic fruits and vegetables that you have on hand, along with some yogurt into a blender and you’re all set, right? While smoothies do have the potential to be a great and easy way to nourish your body, a lot of people are turning these healthy concoctions into something that could do their body a lot of harm without even realizing it.

Here is a look at the top three ingredients that nutritionists say you should stop putting in your smoothies right away if you want to be healthy, along with some substitutions that will get you on the right track. (RELATED: See for more news about healthy vs. risky ingredients.)

Flavored Yogurt

Yogurt features prominently in many smoothies because of its high protein content and the creamy texture it lends to the beverage. However, if you’re using flavored yogurt, you are veering into dessert territory. The American Heart Association says that women should only eat around 25 grams of added sugars each day, and some types of flavored yogurt have 26 grams in just one 6-ounce container!

If you want that creamy texture without any of the dangerous sugar, opt for low-fat Greek yogurt, which normally has around 6 grams of sugar per serving. You’ll also need to pay attention to portion sizes; check the labels carefully to make sure your yogurt of choice is within an acceptable range.

Frozen Yogurt

Another mistake that many people make is putting frozen yogurt in their smoothies, thinking that they are doing themselves a favor by forgoing ice cream. While it is true that frozen yogurt is a healthier alternative to ice cream, it still has no place in a healthy smoothie. It does not provide much in the way of nourishment, and it also has an unacceptable amount of sugar and calories. If you want your smoothie to be refreshing on a hot day, ditch the frozen yogurt and add some plain yogurt and crushed ice instead. You’ll still get that cool and creamy consistency you crave without any unnecessary sugar. Let the organic fruits you add provide the sweetness instead.

Artificial Sweeteners

Smoothies are not dessert, and there really is no reason to add sugar of any type if you are using fruit, which is naturally sweet. While adding honey or table sugar is overkill, turning to an artificial sweetener is an even bigger mistake that could have serious consequences for your health. It doesn’t matter which one you turn to – they have all been linked with a variety of side effects and illnesses. Aspartame has been linked to cancer and promotes weight gain, while sucralose has been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and cancer. Why take the risk when a smoothie is naturally sweet in the first place? By adding up to a cup of your favorite organic fruit, your smoothie will be plenty sweet and won’t adversely affect your health. (RELATED: Find more news about artificial sweeteners at

While these are the three biggest offenders, there are a few other ingredients that you should stop adding to your smoothies. Dried fruit, for example, can have quite a lot of added sugar, as can some juices. Instead, you can also experiment with healthy add-ins like apple cider vinegar and kale. Some people like to add turmeric, hemp seeds, or organic chia seeds to their smoothies. Part of the fun of making a smoothie is experimenting. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that anything that goes into your blender is completely natural.

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