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"Healthy" Ingredients That Turn Your Smoothies Into Junk Food

7 Ingredients That Turn Your Smoothies Into Junk Food

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We love a good smoothie (even more so if it features one of these Super Boosters)โ€”with plenty of protein and a good balance of nutrients, it's a perfect meal replacement, and less substantial blends can serve as a satisfying on-the-go snack. But it's easy to start throwing anything we think is healthy into our blenders without tacking it on to our mental count of nutrients and cals. If it's in liquid form, it doesn't count, right? Wrong.

LeAnn Weintraub, Los Angeles-based R.D. set us straight with some serious smoothie intel. Heaps of leafy greens, portioned dollops of nut butters, and low-cal fiber boosts like flax seeds get a thumbs up, but these common culprits can turn a good-for-you, tasty treat into a sugary, fat-ridden bomb more worthy of a spot on the dessert menu. (P.S. Half Your Calorie Intake May Be Coming From Coffee. Yikes.)

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Non-Fat and "Fruit on the Bottom" Yogurt

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Flavored yogurts are loaded with sugar (some have as much as 29 grams per serving, 4 more than your recommended daily allowance!), so opt for the plain variety instead. Use 2% or full fat yogurts instead of fat-free versions to help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A,E,D, and K. (Love your yogurt Greek? Try one of these 7 Ways to Enjoy Greek Yogurt for Lunch.)

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Protein Powder

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If you're mindful of your protein intake throughout the day, you're likely getting enough of the long-lasting good stuff from natural sources like fish and lean meats. Throwing in powder can just lead to extra (and empty) calories. (Another reason to avoid: Protein Powder Makes Your Farts Stink.)

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Milk

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In green smoothies, milk inhibits iron absorption from the leaves of greens like kale and spinach. Use water or coconut water instead and save your favorite milk (almond, coconut, soy, etc.) for fruit-based smoothies. (For those, use one of these 13 Types of Milk That Do Your Body Good.)

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Fruit Juice

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Sure, a small splash of fruit juice can provide concentrated flavor. But use it entirely in place of whole fruits and you'll be racking up roughly 25 extra grams of carbohydrates and forgoing all of the satiating fiber real fruits provide.

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Coconut Oil

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Thanks to this popular coconut by-product's superfood rep, many people get very heavy-handed with it. While it does have lots of nutritional value when used in moderation, just one tablespoon has approximately 12 grams of saturated fat and 120 calories. The end game? Dumping it into your daily smoothie can lead to weight gain over time. (Find out Everything You Need to Know About Coconut Oil.)

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Honey

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Yes, honey may be a natural sugar, but it's still a sugar. One tablespoon contains 17 grams of the stuff, almost the same as an ounce of dark chocolate. Plus, it's super high in artifical syrups that do your body harm. (In fact, Honey May Be Just as Bad as High Fructose Corn Syrup.)

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Green Powders

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The best kinds of greens are the whole kind, not the powdered alternatives. People often load up on superfood powders without realizing that they're highly processed and don't live up to their nutritional claims. (Get the scoop: Green Powders vs. Green Juices.)

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