Blended Fruit vs Whole Fruit
Blending vs eating whole foods does not have the same health benefits. Altering the structure of vegetables and fruits versus eating them whole affects how your body processes them. This can result in you missing out on important nutrients or not feeling as full.
Many health plans and diets include green smoothies with superfoods and lots of fruit. So why aren’t they as good as they seem?
Blended Fruit vs Whole Fruit
There is a massive health difference between blending vegetables vs eating them whole. You actually deprive your body of some of the health benefits of eating whole fruit and vegetables when you blend them. Yes, even if you are blending the entire thing.
Changing the structure of something affects how good it is for your body because of the different way your body processes liquids.
Juice vs Smoothies
Blended smoothies still have more nutritional value than fruit juices. This is because the smoothie retains more of the fibre structure of the original vegetable or fruit and gives your body a chance to digest it.
Drinking too much fruit juice is actually just a sugar hit. As you probably already know, it can result in an energy and hunger crash later, which will make you feel like eating again.
Blending fruit or other foods to consume them in a smoothie limits your body’s chance to digest their fibre. Fibre is incredibly important in every diet, encouraging your body to work hard to digest your food and process all of the nutrients you’re giving it.
When you consume blended food or vegetables, your body doesn’t need to break it down as much and you will miss out on some of the nourishment as a result.
Your body will be less able to regulate your blood sugar when you alter the fibre-structure of the whole food or veggies. Consuming a smoothie leads to an immediate spike in your blood sugar levels, which can lead to feeling some tense energy.
Unless you’re diabetic, this isn’t a problem in itself.
However, to combat the spike your body will overreact with insulin. This leads to an immediate drop in your blood sugar.
The low blood sugar levels then makes you feel tired, irritable and can result in food cravings.
When your blood sugar drops too low, your body goes into panic mode and begins to store fat. This is an evolutionary defense of your body to store fat when it doesn’t know when it’s getting its next meal.
Fruit juices are particularly high in sugar. Smoothies, while better than fruit juices, are still going to have the same effect.
An important factor to consider when comparing smoothies versus whole fruits is how satisfied either will make you feel.
Some studies show that chewing can lead to you feeling more full. This is because it results in more time for your body to release the hormone that tells your brain you’ve eaten enough.
Similarly, drinking fruit or whole foods takes less time than if you’re actually chewing and eating them. This means you’re more likely to feel like you’re still hungry after finishing your blended meal.
Consuming blended fruit, vegetables or other foods can lead to increased snacking. This has to do with the mentioned problems with blood sugar and that feeling of ‘fullness’.
When your blood sugar falls, it’s normal to feel like you have to eat something to counteract it. Unfortunately this can lead to overeating; it’s all about how and what you eat.
If you’re not feeling satisfied from your blended food or fruit you’re more likely to eat again sooner. It’s helpful to wait up to 20 minutes after eating to check if you really are hungry or if the satiety signal just hasn’t reached your brain yet.
This applies to smoothies as well.
Berries: An exception to the rule
Along with bananas, blended berries do not have the same negative affects as many other fruit and veggies. Research shows that a phytonutrient in blueberries, raspberries and other berries helps to control sugar levels in the blood by slowing sugar absorption.
While your sugar levels are safe, berries and bananas will still provide more fibre if you eat them whole.
Can You Just Drink Slower?
So if eating a fruit whole allows your body more time to digest it, can you get the same health benefits by consuming your blended drink slowly?
An interesting study investigated this theory to find out whether the body would have the same blood sugar crash if the blended drink were consumed over a longer period of time.
It found that the same blood sugar spike and then crash occurred. This led researchers to believe the problem can mostly be attributed to the way the fibre has been broken down by the blending process.
Are there any benefits?
Studies have not been conclusive whether all of these rules will apply to every food. For example, bananas are loaded with potassium and provide slow energy release. If you consume blended banana the blood sugar spike will not occur as dramatically.
Blending whole foods vs eating them is not better before you. Blending vegetables vs eating whole is going to affect your blood sugar, digestion and how full you feel. Your body doesn’t exert much energy to break down something which is already blended; it’s almost as if its pre-digested. Read about top portable blenders.
Particularly if you’re counting calories, this means smoothies are not as healthy as many modern diets will have you believe. Also, because drinking liquid takes less time to digest it gives your body less chance to absorb the nutrients.
In short, altering the structure of whole foods, fruits and vegetables into a blended drink destroys the fibre structure of these foods and trips up your blood sugar. It confuses the hormones that tell you when you’re hungry or not.