Just like salads – they’re as healthy as what you make them with…
Smoothies have an overblown reputation as a “healthy” food, but they aren’t all bad either. There are ways to improve their nutritional value while cutting some of the sugar, especially if you make them yourself. But for most standard-issue smoothies, I tend to side with your friends: sugar content is often at “no better than a Coke” levels.
That’s no exaggeration. A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams of sugar, which is on par with Starbucks’ new, kale-optional 16-ounce smoothie offerings: 32 grams in the sweet greens flavor, 42 grams in mango carrot. (I’m using Starbucks as my smoothie example because they seem to be a fair example of store-bought smoothies. I’m sure smoothie fans will share their favorite brands in the comments.)
Homemade smoothies don’t necessarily fare better: the recipes in Prevention’s slideshow of “20 Super-Healthy Smoothies” average 28 grams of sugar per serving, and the number would probably be higher if their serving sizes were more realistic.
…Ultimately the decision on whether something is “healthy” comes down to whether it helps you meet the goals you’ve set for yourself. If you’re avoiding sugar (which I would argue helps with many goals, including weight loss and staving off diabetes), you’re probably best steering clear of store-bought smoothies, and being more conscious of what you’re putting in the ones you make at home.
Source: Are Smoothies Healthy?
At its core, I think of a smoothie as a meal replacement so it’s less about sugar, and more about packaging. My advice is to ‘turn down’ the empty calories, fat, and extra sugar. Keep in mind the effect of juicing – more vitamins, calories, and sugar.