The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie Review – Is it the perfect way to start the day?
In this smoothie review I am taking a look at a smoothie that popsugar.com is calling “The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie“. The smoothie is the creation of Harley Pasternak, a personal trainer to many famous celebrities. He indeed has many best-selling books on diet and nutrition so it will be interesting to see just how nutritional this breakfast smoothie is. At first glance the smoothie looks to have many of the positive characteristics that I like to see in a smoothie, in particular, a great variety of ingredients. It does look very similar to one of my personal creations, “The Orchard Smoothie” and it does in fact share some of the ingredients so let’s dive in and take a look at the full list of ingredients!
The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie – Ingredients
The smoothie has a good variety of ingredients. In particular, I like the inclusion of cinnamon which adds a wonderful flavor smoothies. Remember, there are two different types of cinnamon that you can buy, ceylon and cassia. You should always try your best to buy ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon has an incredible amount of antioxidants (about 9 grams per 100 grams), cassia has none. However the more important reason that should persuade you not to consume cassia cinnamon is that it contains coumarin. Coumarin is a compound that is moderately toxic to the liver. One teaspoon could be more than the daily tolerable amount for some people.
The only other concern I have is with the amount of fructose the the apple and banana will contribute to the smoothie. Apples and bananas are both high in fructose and as a result will make the smoothie quite sweet. Having said that though the large serving of non-fat Greek yogurt will help to balance and neutralize some of that extra sweetness.
Nutrients and RDI Values for The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie
The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie achieved a score of 62 in the SmoothFuel Nutritional Test. The SmoothFuel Nutritional Score is a method I use to independently evaluate smoothie recipes based on the nutrients they contain without any bias. A score of 62 is not bad although it is certainly not perfect. A score like this mean that there are a lot of positive things about the smoothie but there are a few negatives too, so let’s take a look and see what is stopping this smoothie from actually being the PERFECT breakfast smoothie.
But first the positives. As I said to get a score in the 60’s means the smoothie is doing some things right. The total amount of calories in this smoothie is 362 kcal which represents about 14% of a 2,500 kcal diet, a fair amount, not too much and not too little. The smoothie scores well for its macro nutrients. It has a good amount of protein, this comes from the Greek yogurt and milk. Be careful to check the amount of protein in the Greek yogurt you buy as I have found that the quantity varies wildly between different brands. It has a low amount of saturated fat, choosing low fat milk and non-fat yogurts is a good way to cut out excess fats from your diet.
The majority of the vitamins that this smoothie contains come from the milk and greek yogurt. This smoothie has high amounts of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6 and B12. As you can see from the table there are many other vitamins present in the smoothie however they are in much lower quantities. The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie has a good mineral profile. Most of the major minerals can be found in good to high levels, in particular it has high amounts of calcium and phosphorus.
The last positive I have about this smoothie is the amount of antioxidants. This is thanks to the apple, the cinnamon and the almonds. In fact it may surprise you to learn that the apple contributes more than 10 times the amount of antioxidants than the cinnamon. Despite ceylon cinnamon having more than 9 grams of antioxidants per 100 grams in this smoothie the recipe calls for just a few grams so the amount of antioxidants is lowered greatly.
Simple Sugars. This smoothie contains a greater than desired amount of simple sugars. It has 45 grams of simple sugars. It also contains just under 12 grams of fructose. 12 grams of fructose is not a worrying amount, advice suggests that consuming up to 40 grams per day is safe.
For being the perfect breakfast smoothie it has low values of many vitamins and minerals. That’s not to say that a serving that represents 10% or your RDI is bad it just means that with a few small changes we can easily increase those numbers.
There is nothing about this smoothie that is truly worrying. The reason it had such an average SmoothFuel Score is because it just under performs a little bit in every category.
Changes I would make – The Perfect Breakfast Smoothie Version 2
Not too many changes but a few to make note of. Apples despite being an easy source of some antioxidants contain very little other vitamins and minerals, they are not very nutrient dense. With that in mind I changed them for blueberries. Blueberries have incredibly high amounts of polyphenols and antioxidants. I doubled the amount of almonds and added a 10 gram serving of walnuts. Walnuts contain a lot of good fats and have high amounts of omega 3 and 6. I also lowered the amount of Greek yogurt, this was simply to make way for the new ingredients and to lower the amount of sugar overall.
Overall I was able to increase its SmoothFuel score to a 77! The amount of calories also increased but the amount of carbohydrates and simple sugars decreased slightly. I was also able to increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, polyphenols, omega 3 and omega 6 (whilst maintaining a good ratio of omega 3 to omega 6). See for yourself in the table below.