Are Naked smoothies actually good for you?

Jack Bushell
  · 30,8 K
Nutrition BSc, King's College London. @masha_budr  · 15 февр 2017

First, let's answer the more general question: "Are smoothies good for you?

Smoothies are crushed fruit and/or vegetables blended with ice with the addition of other things, such as yoghurt, milk, nuts etc. So, basically, a smoothie is a juice with lots of extra stuff added to it. Smoothies are a good source of vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and can count towards one of your 5-a-day.  However, smoothies and juices contain quite a lot of naturally occurring sugars, so it is recommended to limit the intake of juices/smoothies to one glass (150 ml a day). 

Let's see the structure of the plant cell compared to the animal cell. 

Plant cell vs. animal cell. Source

As you can see, these cells are pretty similar, but there is one crucial bit, that is different - the cell wall (shown in red in the cell on the left). It serves primarily as support and protection of the cell, protects it from the mechanical stress and acts as a filter. Humans can't digest cell walls and cell walls are the base of dietary fibre. Sugars in plants stored inside the cells and released when the cell wall is broken. Basically, when we make a juice or a smoothie, we extract all the juice present inside the cell and with that, we get all the sugars present. High consumption of free sugars leads to the tooth decay as well as other sad consequences. And this is the reason why is it better to eat a fruit rather than drink a juice made of it. 

However, because smoothies are higher in fibre and other nutrients, they are considered generally to be a better option than juice and, of course, sugary drink. The problem most of the time is that industrially produced smoothies and juices have added sugar to make products more palatable. Is this the case with Naked? 

I went to the Naked website and I saw this: 

This sounds like a good news to us, but let's dig more. Let's see, what one bottle of Naked smoothie provides in terms of daily nutrition: 

For example, Red Machine

First, the bottle is 450 ml and according to the dietary recommendations, you supposed to drink only 1/3 of it. Second, if you actually drink the whole bottle of it, that means that you consume whopping 49.95 g of sugars (!!!). Even though they are naturally occurring, it still quite a lot. The daily recommendations suggest that added sugars should not exceed more than 5% of the total energy intake per day, approximately 100 calories or 25 grammes. Imagine the impact of drinking the whole bottle in once. Sugary foods contribute to health conditions such as tooth decay, but also may contribute to the excessive calorific intake leading to you being overweight. Therefore, according to the recommendations, it is only healthy to drink 1/3 of the bottle with a meal and then it can be considered 'healthy'. 

I will just double check for the sake of the science if the numbers add up. To do this I will use a Nutritics software - it's an app that lot's of dietitians and nutritionist use to calculate nutritional composition of foods and diets. I have added all the ingredients listed on the website for the same smoothie and calculated the nutritional value. 

Nutritional composition of 37 Grapes, 4 Raspberries, 2 Cranberries, 2 Apples, 1 Strawberry, 1/2 Orange and 1 Banana. Nutritics.

Seems to be very close to the information Naked provide at their website (scroll up to compare). 

So, my verdict is - Naked smoothies are a healthier option, but only as long as you don't drink too much of it. Pros - they don't add sugar to their smoothies (which is rare and is a good thing), they use a variety of fruits in their drinks (also a good thing). However, portions are big (3 times more than the recommended daily juice/smoothie intake).

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