Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only. 
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition. 

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

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Jennifer Betesh has been working with raw food, juices, smoothies and detox for over two decades to help people heal. Today, she shares her expertise worldwide, offering lectures, workshops, training and one-on-one consultations at various health and detox retreat centers. She provides Iridology Readings & Health Coaching via Skype and Phone to clients and continues to educate, motivate and inspire others on their journey of healing. When she’s not working, you’ll find her hiking in the mountains, power-walking along the sea or globe-trotting to a new and exotic health destination.
12 replies
  1. Aiste
    Aiste says:

    Dear Jennifer Thompson,

    I do agree most of the soya and almond products here have too much added sugar and other ingredients.
    One thing I don’t understand it’s about “silk” organic soya milk. All ingredients seems great. 35cal in a cup its so little. Sugar only 1g. No artificial flavours added. The only suspicious ingredient is carrageenan, but as I have checked it is extracted from red edible seaweed and it is purely natural. I am big fan of natural ingredients and healthy eating, but your argument towards this item doesn’t really make any sense….

    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Dear Aiste,

      The keyword to remember in natural vs. unnatural is EXTRACTION. And, as you said yourself, carrageenan is a seaweed that has been EXTRACTED into an additive. If it was just whole, natural seaweed added, than you would see “seaweed” listed as the ingredient. But, you don’t.

      So what does the extraction process do?

      To create carrageenan (because it does not exist in nature on its own), you need chemical extracting solvents, high temperatures and lab equipment. The process involves extraction, precipitate, and desiccation. It is NOT natural. You must use CHEMICALS in the process. Carrageenan can only be made in a chemical laboratory.

      Don’t be fooled!

  2. Greg Wilson
    Greg Wilson says:

    Great website. I just saw a news snippet that was against “drinking out calories,” because it doesn’t send the same signal to the brain as food would. So, we stay hungry. I’m an avid juicer and green smoothie guy, now a little concerned. Thanks

    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Hi Greg,

      I like how Dr. Gabriel Cousins says it (I think maybe Edgar Cayce said it first before him…), “Chew your drinks and drink your food.”

      The point is to say that when you “chew” your drink by taking it in slowly, moving it around in the mouth before swallowing, that you can still signal your brain and wake up the stomach enzymes in the correct way.

      I hope that helps! Keep up the great work!

      My best,


  3. Chamanit
    Chamanit says:


    I have been soaking almonds overnight and making fresh almond milk for three years now. Your article has reenforced my determination to avoid processed foods.

  4. Marie
    Marie says:

    You might want to update the list. I bought /ORGANIC plant based protein SILK soymilk / and it doesn’t have anything GMO in it. Go on their website to see the one I’m talking about. It is no added sugar. Carrageenan free , low saturated fat, gluten free, cholesterol free.

    The biggest thing in smoothies is using a plant based protein powder as well. And not the whey protein. Anyway, this soymilk doesn’t have any of things you pointed above but this is the PLANT BASED silk organic soymilk. Much much better. 🙂

    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Dear Marie,

      The organic plant-based SILK soy milk you mentioned is far from perfect and I would recommend to avoid it. For one, it contains cane sugar. Also it has the mysterious “natural flavors” ingredient which we know can mean too many things to even mention. And although they did take out carrageenan, they replaced it with gellan gum, another emulsifier that in a study on rats showed it caused gut issues. Just the word “gum” should make you suspicious!

      And plant-based protein – a total disaster. Read Why I don’t use protein powders…and why you shouldn’t either!

      Better choices –
      1. Make your own organic almond or seed milk at home (here’s how)
      2. Choose a real WHOLE food plant-based diet and avoid extracted proteins with no fiber (like pea protein)
      3. Eat legumes (chickpeas, black beans, lentils) for real food options with fiber and protein

  5. Cent188
    Cent188 says:

    Wow! I make my smoothies with almond milk. I should as I read the ingredients when straight to my almond milk bottle. Behold cane sugar is listed?!? Oh my GOD!

    Thank you for listing

  6. Kaneadsha
    Kaneadsha says:

    Thank You so much for this information. As I was reading the recipes I was going to leave out all those items in my smoothie anyway because I don’t like the taste of them and use water instead or “lowfat” milk. I love almonds I can just eat a handful of those while I drink my smoothie.

  7. Zisca
    Zisca says:

    Thanks you! You just saved me $25 and who knows how many extra calories. I was about to click the subscribe button on a coconut water supply website, thinking I needed the coconut water to add to my green smoothies.

  8. Angel Valdez
    Angel Valdez says:

    Thanks so much for your helpful posts. I’ve always stayed away from natural flavors, I think it’s insane that food companies won’t even let us know where the “natural flavors” come from.

    I have ready your post on he Follow your heart products. I wanted to join the discussion, but unfortunately the comments were closed. I 100% agree that just because it is vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. I always ready the ingredients on food I buy and make sure it is vegan and organic. Awhile ago I got into the habit of just making sure it was vegan and organic, which I realize was a total mistake when I bought the Follow your Heart Vegan Caeser Dressing. When I got home I read the ingredients, containing all types of syrups and bad ingredients including alcohol. Which infuriated me because on their website, half of those ingredients aren’t listed for that product! No syrups, or the alcohol and many other ingredients weren’t included on the website Which was totally misleading. I then contacted the Follow your heart’s email and asked, why do the ingredients website differ from the actual ingredients on the store bought product, and what is the purpose for having toxic alcohol in your product? I also attached the photo of the ingredients on the store bought dressing, how they differ from the websites. They have never emailed me back.

    My eating lifestyle is vegan and organic, I am slowly transitioning into Fully raw. I have now decided to make that direct change because it seems now that even if a product is organic, (non raw foods) aren’t healthy.

    Thanks so much for your posts.


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