The hidden calories and fat in “healthy” smoothies

This picture of a healthy smoothie angers me. It makes me furious with rage and I fear for society. Just look at this smoothie. I did not make it. I did not drink it. It was made by theveganchemist and this is not going to be a critical post, merely a deconstruction on what is truly ‘healthy’.


This smoothie contains:

  • Frozen bananas
  • Cacao
  • Spinach
  • Almond milk
  • Dark chocolate chips

It looks pretty good, don’t you think?

The vegan chemist is actually a seriously good blogger, I urge you to check out Cristina’s great blog, particularly if you are a health nut. I used to be a vegan health nut – in fact, I used to eat a very strict vegan diet, check out this post for a breakdown of what a super healthy vegan eats (FYI, yes the calories are low).

Now, I do not eat healthy food anymore, and I have never been happier. I recently wrote an article about a professor who ate an all junk food diet and lost weight. Yes, he was a scientist and nutrition teacher. The point is – I truly believe that you can eat whatever you want – but you must watch your portions.

Let’s compare the Vegan Chemist’s smoothie above, calorie by calorie, gram of fat by gram of fat, portion of salt to portion of salt – you get my drift – to a Hungry Jack’s chocolate thick shake.

Hungry Jack’s Medium Chocolate Shake:

  • 305 grams of total weight
  • 431 calories or 1807 kilojoules
  • 12.7 grams of protein
  • 11 grams of fat
  • 7.5 grams of saturated fat
  • 69.4 grams of sugar
  • 314 milligrams of sodium


How does the ‘healthy’ smoothie compare?

So – when I added up the calories from  the vegan chemist’s smoothie – I got this:

  • 305 total calories – 32% from fat, 9% from protein and 58% from carbs.

Well, that surprised me!

It seems that the veganchemist’s smoothie did check out. But be aware – a 300 calorie smoothie is still a 300 calorie smoothie. It is not the sort of thing you want to be eating on top of your regular meals – this has to be instead of a meal.

Well done vegan chemist – you got me!

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  1. May 23, 2014

    You do know that was actually a homemade ice cream and NOT a smoothie, right?

    1. May 23, 2014

      Thanks for your comment, DoM – yep – you raise a very good point – this has a spoon, therefore it looks like a runny ice cream rather than a thick smoothie. I think something like this should be enjoyed as a treat – not as a meal replacement. Personally I would rather eat “real” food than milky/chocolately concoctions – but whatever floats your boat!

      Have a great weekend.

      x x Alyce

  2. Robin
    May 23, 2014

    This post made me sad. To think that anyone would criticize a meal/snack like this frustrates me. In no way, shape, or form would I say that this banana ice cream (not a smoothie) is anything less than 100% healthy. Health does not mean low calorie/fat/sugar. Health does not mean weight loss. Health means the ingredients which we choose to nourish our bodies with. Do you have any idea what the ingredients are in a commercial shake? They’re horrifying. And they certainly don’t contain spinach. Just wanted to point out that just because something may not, to you, appear “low calorie” enough to add to a normal meal plan, it is not an unhealthy choice, even for someone looking to lose weight.

    1. May 23, 2014

      Hi Robin-

      Thanks for your comment. I agree that most people feel that there is a legitimate reason to think about the things we choose to nourish our bodies with, arther than focusing on calories/fat and sugar. However – I would like to point out that there is a growing trend that agrees with me. Take this article from the SMH: “It’s possible to have too much healthy food” (link)

      Too often, people blast themselves with grains, nuts, milks, seeds and oils thinking that they are doing their bodies a favour when really, they should be moderating their intake to bring their weight under control. Thanks for your comments – and I do agree that we need to spend time getting to know exactly what’s in our food. A smoothie like this is fine – but I’d prefer real food.

      Have a great day and thanks again for your comments.


  3. Cece
    May 24, 2014

    “A smoothie like this is fine – but id prefer real food”

    Lol it’s NOT a smoothie it’s an ice cream smh
    and it’s healthier to eat ice cream that’s 300cals and made of real, natural, healthy ingrediants then to eat a 100 calorie ice cream made of a million, processed ingredients.
    I really hope your followers will do their own research so they can realize that just because something is lower calories does NOT make it healthy.
    If someone works out and has a deficient to eat this as a meal why hate on it? It’s still healthier then a 100 calorie pack of cookies.

    1. May 25, 2014

      Hi Cece-

      You have one of my favourite names and I am grateful that you took the time to comment on this post. I know that the majority of people would agree with your POV – which is, in part, why I wrote this post. For the record, we hear a lot about ‘natural’ foods – I’m sure you know (if you drink it) that almond milk is highly processed – more so than most commercial dairy milks.

      I stand by my reasoning that for people who are overweight, focusing on energy content should be paramount. All calories count.

      Anyway, I do agree with you that some foods are healthier than others – it’s just that a lot of “health” foods are high in cals and highly processed.

      And you are right – we should all do our own research. Thanks for your comments and have a great day.


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