Here's What Happens When You Drink Smoothies Every Day

That growl of the blender first thing in the morning can only mean one thing: your day is off to a smooth(ie) start! Cold, sweet, and available in pretty pastel colors, a smoothie is a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Plus, the milkshake-like consistency will make you feel like you're treating yourself at an ice cream parlor, rather than just grabbing a quick breakfast in your kitchen. This isn't to say that a smoothie is only suitable as a first-thing-in-the-morning experience; as long as you're hungry and have access to a blender, you can enjoy this fresh and frosty beverage any time you choose. The question is...should you?

According to Katie Brown, Ed.D., RDN, the senior vice president of Sustainable Nutrition at National Dairy Council, there are pros and cons to regular smoothie consumption. In an interview with Mashed, Brown broke down how drinking a smoothie every day might affect your health.

You could be cheating your body out of the benefits of chewing

Smoothies are, well, smooth! And while this makes them the perfect thing to enjoy if you have issues with chewing (does there exist a better form of sustenance for after you've had dental surgery?), you might be missing out on the various health benefits that occur when you chew and swallow food the good old-fashioned way, Brown said. "If you can eat a meal or snack, then please do – there's something about eating whole foods that just can't be beat, including the enjoyment factor of having a meal with family as well as keeping our digestive system functioning well, because our bodies are meant to break down the foods we eat."

Chewing food increases how satisfied you feel when you eat, WebMD reported. It also allows all of the nutrients from your food to be absorbed by your body – so you get the most out of each bite. That's why, according to Brown, for some people, "drinking their meal is not as satisfying and they may not feel full long enough to hold them until their next meal."

You'll be choosing a healthy form of 'fast food'

The great thing about a smoothie is that it takes only moments to make, moments to drink, and moments to clean – making it the ideal "fast food" option – handily beating junk food and drive-thru when it comes to health benefits. "Smoothies absolutely have their place...and if for your lifestyle that's an everyday occurrence, that's just fine," Brown said. "For many people the speed and convenience of a nutrient-dense beverage on the go makes it a great choice for adults and littles alike."

This is why it really matters what's in your smoothie. If you're tossing fruits, vegetables, and sources of protein in your blender, you're making all the right choices, according to Brown. "For some, drinking their dairy, fruits and vegetables may be the answer," she said. "If you are making a smoothie with yogurt and/or milk, fruits and vegetables with a smaller number of mix-ins, this will be a smoothie you could have daily. It is when a smoothie becomes a calorie blast that you want to re-evaluate your recipes." Brown recommends tossing in seeds, peanut butter, or even tahini, to get a good dose of healthy fats.

You might not be eating a balanced diet

Smoothies, indeed, can be healthy, but depending on how you make yours, you might not be getting all the nutrients you need every day if a good chunk of your calorie intake comes from a blender or shaker cup. "Generally, eating whole foods from a variety of food groups and including sources of protein and fiber provides more satisfaction and can prolong hunger until the next meal," Brown said. "The important thing is to figure out what works for you. Both smoothies and meals with whole foods should provide some protein-sustaining energy, as long as a good source of protein is used as the smoothie base."

If you don't regularly nosh on fruits or vegetables, a smoothie can be the perfect complement to your diet, Brown added. "The biggest benefit is in helping people meet their daily servings for dairy, fruits and vegetables, because the real benefits come from these food groups," she explained, "yet about nine in 10 Americans fall short on daily recommendations for dairy, and vegetables and about eight in 10 fall short on fruits." So, any hesitations she might have about drinking rather than chewing those foods aside, Brown sees smoothies as a great choice for many Americans. "If the way to entice people to eat more of these nutrient-rich foods is by having a smoothie, then that's the beauty and benefit of the smoothie!" she said.