Smoothies: Are the Rumours True?

Smoothies, juicing, and detoxes are things we hear a lot about nowadays. Most of us love a smoothie, especially an expensive one in a three-pound meal deal.

Smoothies are also popular in current online culture and are promoted as extremely healthy, but are they that healthy? Or are they just very easy to integrate into online platforms because of tropical fruit's vivid colours and aesthetics?

Smoothies Are Nutrient Dense 

There are several reasons why smoothies and juices are so popular. They are not only tasty but also highly functional and suitable for people on the go with busy days that don’t have time to sit down and eat a balanced meal. A smoothie with your meal deal can make it a pretty balanced meal.

This is due to the high concentration of fruits and vegetables in a smoothie; even store-bought smoothies usually have a few whole fruits packed inside, which would seem like a lot to stomach if you were setting it all on a plate but being blended up makes it easy to consume. 

This means it's packed full of nutrients and antioxidants and often prebiotics from vegetables such as kale and spinach depending on the smoothie, meaning it can be good for you and great for your gut which studies have concluded.1

The Problem with Smoothies Being Nutrient Dense

The practicality of the smoothie is the issue. They are so easy to consume that you can have too much of a good thing. The NHS recommends a 150ml serving of a smoothie per day which is a lot less than the sizes they are often sold as.2

They seem very little, but if it hadn’t been blended, it would be a few pieces of fruit, making it seem a lot more reasonable.2

Use a Straw For Your Smoothie

As well as being packed with nutrients and fibre, smoothies can also be quite acidic, meaning precautions should be taken while enjoying them. A study found that smoothies produced significant enamel erosion on those regularly consuming smoothies.3

This means care should be taken, and using a straw is best to avoid too much contact with the teeth. 

Is Mixing Fruit and Vegetables Bad?

There has been quite a lot of discourse in recent times based on food combinations and the “Food-Combining” diet. This diet states that different food types need their allotted slots to create a better digestive environment.

Followers of this diet often claim that mixing certain foods will impair digestion, leading to the food going bad and causing disease in the long run. 

This diet's only factual claim is that different enzymes break down other foods. However, this doesn’t mean the digestive system picks and chooses which ones are released when you eat certain foods. All food goes through the same processes.4

So don’t worry about mixing fruits and vegetables because the impact is the exact opposite of toxicity; fruits and vegetables together have an abundance of antioxidants that allow your body to be rid of free radicals, which can cause disease and illness.5

As well as this, their high fibre content can help you to feel fuller, balance blood sugar and insulin levels and even lower cholesterol levels.6

Sip Your Smoothie Slowly 

As previously mentioned, smoothies are packed full of whole foods. This means they should be regarded as such; imagine sitting down and eating a whole banana, a mango, an apple and a fist full of kale and spinach in 2 minutes! Your stomach would most likely feel a bit funny. 

This is why it’s essential to sip a smoothie slowly for a half-hour to an hour; this way, your body can recognise the food and the nutrients that it's being fed. Likely, your stomach won't feel full after quickly drinking a smoothie until about an hour later. So, give it time.

In a study of two groups, participants were either assigned to add handfuls of jellybeans into their diet, and the other group was given full-sugar soft drinks.

The study concluded that those who ate the jelly beans had no increase in caloric intake alongside the addition of jelly beans. The soft drink group ate the same amount, meaning that the soft drinks put them in a caloric surplus, seemingly because the body struggled to recognise the additional calories in liquid form.7

The Bottom Line

It’s worth mentioning that if you like how a food or drink tastes, let yourself have it! The majority of food and drink is ok as long as it’s in moderation; don’t forget that overeating fibre, arguably one of the healthiest things for human beings, can cause digestive unrest and make you feel a bit funny.

The same goes for highly processed foods. They are absolutely fine for most people in moderation and in tune with your personal needs. 

Objectively, smoothies are a great addition to a diet that lacks fruit and veg, and studies have even stated that smoothies make it a lot easier for the body to absorb and put nutrients to good use.8 However, they are not too necessary for people whose diets already contain a good amount of fruit and vegetables. 

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have one, be mindful of how you feel and what you want, sip slowly and constantly use a straw if you want to keep your teeth in check.

References → 1

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