Are smoothies making you fat?

Blending destroys from 85-92% of enzymes

When you drop an apple on the ground it bruises, yet for some reason we believe when you place that same apple in a blender and turn it on, so that metal blade spins at 37,000 times per minute, it does no damage?

Brian Clements, a biochemist from Hippocrates Health Retreat came out with a statement several years ago, that blending fruits destroyed up to 85-92% of the enzymes and nutrients.

At the time this went down like a bomb among the smoothie and juice brigade. It was a very controversial statement since I did love my morning smoothie. (I am sure, I am not alone)

I decided back then to investigate this further, firstly to see if there was any truth behind it and secondly to see if my morning smoothie routine was not as wonderful as I had once believed.

The first thing I looked at was the difference between slow juicers and fast juicers, to my surprise there was some science showing that the slow juicers did produce substantially less nutrient loss that their fast counterparts.

If we compare some of these fast juicers with blenders at the speed and power they generate, this indeed does make sense.

It was also shown that the cyclone effect of the blender literally pulls oxygen into your smoothie as its blending, which is similar to cutting an apple and watching it brown, only on turbo. This oxidation is destroying the nutrition in your precious smoothie, the faster and more powerful the blender, the greater the destruction.

I decided to juice and blend less, making a conscious effort to eat anything that I would typically blend or juice in its whole form.

If I typically put an egg, banana, nuts, seeds and milk in a banana. I would do the same, this time chewing. I made an egg nog and sipped it slowly after I had eaten my fruit with a few activated nuts and seeds.

The result was incredible, I lost weight and fast, about 10kgs over 2 1/2 months.

Old habits die hard!

After a few months of this I reverted back to my smoothies, lets face it, they are just so practical and time efficient when you are in a rush.

They store in a thermos well, so it makes sense to make a smoothie, put it in a thermos, walk out the door, and consume it later after the gym, driving to work or at work as breakfast.

More science

Then a few months back, another media scandal. This time it was focusing on blending breaking down the insoluble fibre and a Doctor Robert Lustig with the incriminating accusations.

A little biochemistry

There are two types of fibre in food.

Soluble fibre- dissolves in water and slows down a foods digestion and absorption.

Insoluble fibre- the undigestible stringy parts help move the food through the intestines providing roughage.

Hang on, isn't the fibre still there?

Yes, the insoluble fibre is still there but it has been broken down into smithereens. These  two fibres would normally combine to form a gel that further aids to slow the release of sugar into the blood stream, on its journey through the digestive system.

This gel doesn't form when the fruits and vegetables are blended, which means faster sugar absorption.

Typically an apple has a glycemic load of 6, a can of coke 16, and now the bad news, juices and smoothies possibly up to 30.

To slow down this rush of sugar absorption, you can add a little fat into the mix, such as an 1/2 avocado, or some seed/nuts or possibly some coconut cream.

Its always comes back to eating the whole food

Once again we have come full circle and the ultimate answer is to eat your food. Calories from liquids do not not fill you up as much as calories from whole foods, so they have a lower satiety level.

Meaning you consume more!!

I know myself from past experience, blending enables me to get more food into a smoothie than I would typically eat if I was consuming the whole food. It just does't make sense not to finish that extra glass left over in a smoothie container, after all, those ingredients cost a lot, and they were organic!

When you chew you release more enzymes, you keep your teeth and gums strong through exercise.

You slow down, and you naturally eat less, without spiking your blood sugar and insulin, all markers for diabetes and producing a fatty liver.

If you do show signs of weight gain, a fatty liver or diabetes, I would definitely be opting for reducing your smoothie consumption on a weekly basis.

It is however better to get some nutrition than none, so a recreational smoothie now and then will do no harm, but overall try and eat your food, at least 85% of the time.




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My name is Blair Harvey and I have had the pleasure of working at one of Australia's best Health Retreat's for the past fourteen wonderful years. Over those years I have had the delight of working with a spectacular kitchen team, we all have an immense passion for cooking good healthy food that is unique and tantalizing to your taste buds. Together we have not only developed our skills in cooking wholesome, nourishing and out right delicious foods, but we have been committed to broadening our knowledge of healing with whole foods and exploring the beauty of healthy living. Because of our enthusiasm in the benefits of foods and there healing properties I developed a blog to help us SHARE what we have learnt with the rest of the world.

You will find tasty gems of wisdom on health, food and healing, helping to expand your mind and revitalize your knowledge of healthy eating.