Smoothies have become an increasingly popular choice for folks looking for a fast alternative for breakfast and between-meal snacks. Simply blend frozen fruit, yogurt and ice, and you’ve got a tasty and seemingly healthy treat! Many people associate smoothies with a healthier diet and attribute health benefits to their use. As with most things in life, however, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true.Depending upon how you (or your barista) make the smoothies, they may or may not be healthy or beneficial. If you prefer a smoothie with added sugar or syrups, you may actually be adding unnecessary calories to your daily regimen.Additionally, some nutritionists have raised concerns about how dietary fiber breaks down when fruits and vegetables are pureed into a smoothie. Scientists believe that breaking down these fibers may change how fast your body absorbs the naturally-occurring carbohydrates found in fruits and vegetables. This means it may create a higher peak level of blood glucose (blood sugar) than if you were eating whole fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, whole fruits and vegetables with intact fiber content will help you feel fuller for longer. The longer you feel full, the less likely you’ll be to grab a between-meal snack.Smoothies are a nice option when you’re on the go, or as a recovery drink after a workout. In order to minimize cravings and to recover faster after a workout, however, make sure to get some protein along with carbohydrates. Protein powders added to smoothies may sound appealing, but be careful – not all proteins are created equal. Because protein supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, they may vary in quality and safety. There have, unfortunately, been reports of protein supplements containing unwanted levels of lead, cadmium, mercury and arsenic – not things you want in that tropical fruit smoothie. Bottom line: variety and moderation is key. If you enjoy having a smoothie made with fresh fruits and vegetables now and then, go for it. Be sure to also include fresh whole fruits and vegetables in your diet for a great source of fiber! George Garrow, MD joined Primary Health Network in March 2016 as Chief Medical Officer. He earned his medical degree from The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. You can catch Dr. Garrow in PHN’s most recent commercial, and he also appeared as an extra in the television drama “The West Wing”!