Last week I talked about the pros and cons of fresh fruit and vegetable juicing now this week I want tackle the question “Are smoothies bad for you? ”
In an article I saw in a prominant UK newspaper recently about the rising obesity levels and fruit juice this statement caught my eye:
“Don’t assume that smoothies – made by pulping whole fruit – contain plenty of fibre. They’ve been so pulverised during manufacturing that the fibre content is similar to that of clear juice, allowing rapid absorption of sugar.”
Does blending destroy fiber?
Ever since smoothies have caught on as a way to detox and lose weight there have been questions asked about whether blending destroys the fiber contained in the fruit and vegetables.
Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, one of the stars of the film “Forks Over Knives” has stated “Avoid smoothies. The fiber is so finely pureed that its helpful properties are destroyed. The sugar is stripped from the fruit, bypasses salivary digestion and results in a surge of glucose and the accompanying fructose contributes to inflammation and hypertension.”
So many people have lost weight and turned their health around with healthy smoothies that I find that really hard to believe that they could be bad.
Smoothies for Cancer Patients
When I had my melanoma I saw a doctor who specialised in the natural treatment of cancer and he put all his patients on a regime of smoothies. I can’t belive that he would have done that if blending fruit and veg destroyed fiber causing those problems. It just does not make sense.
In fact, that was when I bought my VitaMix and changed from juicing to blending my fruit and veg. I juiced for years after I recovered from chronic fatigue with some intensive juicing but now I do prefer smoothies and I have a green smoothie every morning.
After doing some research I discovered that Dr Ed Blonz, a nutrition scientist and assistant clinical professor at the University of California, says “I don’t buy the argument that blending negates the benefits of the fiber in fruits (or vegetables or grains). The machine will most certainly reduce the size of fiber particles, but the fiber is still there. It is the unique way that the fiber molecules are bound together that’s the key.”
Well, I should imagine that he knows what he’s talking about wouldn’t you?
And Dr Joel Fuhrman, vegan nutrition researcher and author, promotes Green Smoothies. “Eating raw greens and fruits blended together to make a smooth, creamy treat is quick and convenient. The greatest benefit of blending is the increased absorption of important nutrients. By just chewing your food you absorb about 15 – 25% of the nutrients, but blending makes your body able to absorb up to 95%!”
Victoria Boutenko is credited with creating the green smoothie. Although she turned her family’s health around with a raw food diet when they fell ill with life-threatening diseases she noticed that their health had reached a plateau and that there was something missing from their raw diet.
She spent some considerable time studying the eating habits of wild chimpanzees because they share an estimated 99.4% of genes with humans. She noticed that they ate much more in the way of greens than humans.
Based on this fact she discovered that, although humans lacked the ability to chew their way through the amount of green leaves that the chimpanzees did, they could blend them and drink them.
Green Smoothies lowered blood pressure and lessened inflamation
In her book Green for Life, she describes a study she did with a doctor. They had about 40 patients drink green smoothies every day without changing anything else in their diets. All patients were medically examined before and after.
Besides weight loss, better sex drive and lower cholesterol, they all had lessened inflammation and lower blood pressure.
Seems like the fructose in their green smoothies didn’t cause them to have inflammation and hypertension that Dr. Esselstyn warns of.
Fibre particle size does not affect performance
On hearing the statement that blending destroys fiber Victoria delved into the scientific literature and came up with a study that concluded “particle size of the fiber source did not affect performance.”
She says that another published study found that both fine and coarse fiber have only 2% difference in performance, favoring the smaller fiber. The researchers stated “Fine bran causes less disturbance of gastric physiology than coarse bran” and discussed how finely ground fiber increases nutrient absorption, and reduces bloating, heartburn, and constipation.
Well there seems no doubt that blending does not destroy the fiber with all the negative health benefits that it would result in.
Smoothies fuel your body with powerful nutrients
To add more weight to the case for blending Kimberly Snyder, creator of the Glowing Lean System, says “Smoothies are perhaps the best way to fuel your body with the powerful nutrients it needs from whole plant foods…Blending a smoothie allows you to use the whole fruit or vegetable so you can make the most of their nutrition including that all-important element of cleansing fiber.”
So, Are Smoothies Bad For You?
We have to remember that there are healthy smoothies and not so healthy ones. Many commercially made smoothies contain cow’s milk, soy milk, yogurt, ice cream, sugar, artificial sweeteners, peanut butter and are of course made with tap water. You won’t do yourself any favors if you drink those. Far better to make you own.
Here’s a healthy green smoothie recipe for you to try:
Berry Good Green Smoothie
1 organic nectarine, stone removed
1 cup organic strawberries
1 cup organic raspberries
1 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 cup filtered water
Put the fruit into your blender with the greens on top. Add enough water to allow the blades to turn and blend until very smooth. Add more water if you like your smoothie thinner.
Green smoothies are a way of getting nutrients into your body so that the detox system can work better. Have you tried them yet?