Low Sugar and Low Fructose Green Smoothies

“I am wondering if you have a specific set of green smoothie recipes that are low/no fructose. I’ve read that fructose promotes weight gain and some health experts recommend strict limits even on fruit intake.” – Rose

Apple-DandelionI am asked the “fructose question” quite often. And as you know, fruits (and green smoothies) contain fructose, so readers who want to lose weight are concerned about the fructose content in my green smoothie recipes. However, the concern about fruit is unfounded.

Based on the published scientific studies on fructose that I have read, as well as my personal experience, I have found zero evidence that the fructose contained in fresh, whole fruits and green smoothies is problematic for healthy individuals. The scientific studies on fructose that are often cited used isolated or concentrated fructose, and not whole foods like fruit.

There are no scientific studies linking the consumption of bananas, for instance, with obesity or weight gain in humans who consume a whole foods diet. When it comes to weight loss, fresh fruits and green smoothies cause no issues from the fructose alone.

Fruit Sugar Is Not The Same Thing As Table Sugar Or Corn Syrup

It is important to differentiate between “fructose”, which is pure, isolated or concentrated sugar found in high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), agave syrup/nectar and other sweeteners and the fructose which is one of many components of fresh, whole foods.

Fresh fruits and green smoothies contain antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and other plant compounds that provide health and weight loss benefits that far outweigh any potential harm from the fructose content (which has never been demonstrated), and even mitigates it.

Personally, I’ve lost 40 pounds while drinking green smoothies and eating lots of fruit. My triglycerides are within a very healthy range. My blood work is and has always been normal in regards to any blood markers for liver function, triglycerides, metabolism, etc.

And I’m not a special case. Just read through the stories from others published on Incredible Smoothies and you’ll quickly see that fruit-based green smoothies are instrumental in dramatic weight loss. You can read about how Jeff lost 108 pounds in 9 months, Jill lost 43 pounds, Hilda lost 40, Caroll lost 30 and Liana lost 25. And these are just a handful of the thousands of weight loss stories I’ve heard from people who have embraced the fruit-based green smoothie lifestyle.

Through reading these stories, you’ll see that they all drink very large green smoothies on a regular basis and they use a lot of fresh, whole fruits.

When It’s Appropriate To Reduce Fruit Consumption

Now the ONLY reasons I would recommend that someone reduce or eliminate fruit intake is if 1) a doctor has diagnosed them with fructose malabsorption (not a common problem) or other condition where the body reacts negatively to otherwise normal amounts of fructose, or 2) if they are diagnosed with a metabolic disorder like diabetes and need to tightly control overall carbohydrate intake per meal based on postprandial blood sugar monitoring (check out these diabetic-friendly green smoothie recipes).

There is no evidence that drinking green smoothies, or eating a lot of fruit, causes health problems related to weight gain or metabolic disorder in healthy individuals.

Why Sweet Fruit Is Critical For Weight Loss Smoothies

It’s virtually impossible to make a “low fructose” green smoothie that is appropriate for weight loss. You could make one by blending vegetables (minus any “high-sugar” root vegetables like carrots and beets), but it may not be terribly palatable – particularly if you use leafy greens like kale or dandelion.

The fruit component of a green smoothie serves many functions for weight loss and overall health, among them is masking the flavors of bitter (but highly nutritious) greens.

The other problem with low/no fruit green smoothies is that they do not contain sufficient calories to be a meal. Green smoothie meals (but NOT a strict, green smoothie-only diet) were instrumental in my weight loss. Green smoothie meals (but not green smoothie-only diets or fasts) are a foundation to what I promote for weight loss.

No/low fruit green smoothies do not contain sufficient calories, so they have limited, if any, effect on overall calorie intake. They can’t be meals, so you’ll either risk being severely calorie deficient if you bulk up on blended vegetable fiber or you’ll end up getting hungry between meals and will not be able to comply with the necessary dietary changes I promote in order to lose weight.

Fruit Is Not Sugary Junk Food

The blanket statements made by some Internet health gurus warning otherwise healthy people about the “dangers” of consuming fructose from fruit, and low/no fructose intake recommendations, are inconsistent with my green smoothie weight loss plan.

Such statements are inconsistent with the results I’ve seen from thousands who have used green smoothies and my Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program. They’re inconsistent with the peer-reviewed, scientific research that I’ve kept up with over the years.

It is a short-sighted mistake to lump fresh, whole fruits in with junk food like cookies, soda/pop, and candy bars simply because they all have something in common, and that is fructose. An apple or a banana does not have the weight-gaining properties of a glazed donut. Fruit isn’t “sugary junk food”, as I’ve shockingly heard some people proclaim!

So stop worrying about isolated components of whole foods and just enjoy eating a healthy diet. And go make yourself a fruit-based, weight loss green smoothie!


Tracy Russell is the creator of the Green Smoothie Weight Loss Program, The 30-Day Whole Foods Challenge, and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She is passionate about helping people improve their health with green smoothies and a whole foods lifestyle.