I am going to take an unpopular stance today. I am well aware that everyone, from my friends and family, celebrity chefs to food magazines have embraced the smoothie craze. Invented by sellers of blenders and diet lifestyles, the world has embraced smoothies as part of an apparently healthy and nutritious diet.
I am also aware that by now, smoothie lovers far and wide have stopped reading this post and moved on to something more supportive of their dietary choices. To those very few of you who are still reading, thank you!!
Who doesn’t remember their first Nutri-bullet and that smug, oh-so-healthy feeling we all got from sipping that drink in our cars as we battled rush hour traffic in our morning commute? Honestly, until Nutri-bullet came along, I had no idea that I was supposed to feel so stressed in the mornings that I needed to eat in my car. I had been in the habit of taking 10 minutes of calm for myself at my own kitchen table to enjoy a light breakfast before the days craziness began. But, clearly, that was incorrect, so I changed my routine to fit society expectations.
So, like (seemingly) everyone else, I started making smoothies, often packing an entire days worth of fruits and or veggies into a single serving. Wow!! I thought, thinking how health-smart I was. After a certain length of time, I began to wonder…’I just drank a serving of yogurt, half cup of apple juice, 1 banana and 1/2 cup of mixed berries. More than I would have eaten at a regular breakfast, yet I was starving by 9:30 or 10am. And, why haven’t I lost any weight?
I started doing some research . Turns out, smoothies are NOT the health elixir that we have been led to believe. In fact, they can be harmful to your health.
To quote from Colin Campbell from the Centre for Nutrition Studies “you will consume more calories later because the liquefied energy doesn’t satisfy your appetite as well as the solid food. In addition, you may be changing the rate and effect of nutrient digestion in important ways.”
Of course, the occasional smoothie in your life isn’t going to harm you, but before you embark on a smoothie based weight loss plan, Fitness Magazine.com offers 8 reasons NOT to do this, including potential digestive issues and the increased risk of developing gallstones because of your liquid diet.
If you add juice to your smoothie for “extra nutrition”, you should know that some juices on the market contain up to 72 grams of carbohydrates and 60 grams per serving. That’s comparable to about five slices of white bread—or a 20-ounce sugar-filled soda. Meanwhile, yogurt- or sherbet-heavy smoothies are little more than 600-plus-calorie messes with more carbs and sugar than you will find in not one but two candy bars.
As I continued to research this, I found that most smoothie pushers were selling something: blenders, juicers, protein powders to give your smoothie more staying power, diet plans with tall, fit blonde models as their spokesperson and horror of horrors, even Gordon Ramsay, who was the first I heard to speak out against smoothies is now publishing recipes for them. Sigh…whatever brings in the bucks, right?
In reality, smoothies are pre-digested food. Once you have put all those fruits and veggies thru your blender, you have destroyed the fibre content, altered the nutrients and basically given your stomach nothing to do but forward all that sugar directly into your system. No wonder we all feel so energized after downing one.
I could rail on for days against the smoothie, but I think you get my point: FOOD YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO CHEW IS HEALTHIER. If you are trying to loose weight, chewing your food is an excellent place to start. For your own sake, please, ditch your blender at least some times, and layer those ingredients into an 8 oz glass instead.
3 Tablespoons coconut granola
1 Teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground flax
1/2 banana, sliced
4 frozen strawberries, diced
1 teaspoon liquid honey (unfiltered if available)
Layer first 7 ingredients attractively into a glass. Top with honey. Sit down at your table and take 5 minutes to really taste your food. I think you will enjoy it.