Break up with Your Blender: Busting the Smoothie Myth

I love smoothies! Their cool, soothing, nutrition-packed awesomeness makes me feel alive and strong. This morning as I stood at my beloved Vitamix blender listening to its empowering whir, I read the label on the jar of my protein powder mix. I use a raw, organic protein powder mix. Sure, it tastes a little chalky, but it packs a punch: vitamins A, D, E and K, and 22 grams of protein-44% of my Daily Value! And only 110 calories.

To these 110 calories, I added a few more. Here’s the delicious list:
Almond Milk – 1 Cup – 60 calories
One Banana – 105 calories
Frozen Berries – 1 Cup – 85 calories
Grand Total = 360 calories

No wonder I feel so strong! That’s almost 400 calories! Hmm. That seems like a too many for something that is supposed to be healthy. Look at it this way, Vanilla ice cream has 137 calories per half cup; add a large waffle cone and you’re up to 258. I know that ice cream is not often condoned as a healthy breakfast, but it does have fewer calories. And it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is: a sweet treat.

A friend of mine is a fanatical nutritionist. She advocates again and again that we not drink our calories. Sadly, that includes wine, beer, and orange juice. The theories behind eating instead of drinking your calories are that the body needs the fiber that whole foods contain, and our bodies process solid foods and liquid foods differently. The sensation of satiety begins faster after eating solid foods than compared to liquid consumption and it lasts longer time period, delaying the return of hunger.

According to the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutritional Studies, research shows that “if you take exactly the same energy as a liquid instead of a solid, you will consume more calories later because the liquefied energy doesn’t satisfy your appetite as well as the solid food…you may [also] be changing the rate and effect of nutrient digestion in important ways. We know that for some food, like rice, if you mechanically turn it into a slurry [chewing] prior to consuming it, your body reacts with a significantly sharper and faster spike in blood sugar.”

The act of chewing is the first step in proper digestion and stimulates saliva production. In chewing, the body absorbs more of the available nutrients in a food. By taking “foods as liquids instead of solids you may be significantly changing the immediate blood sugar spike and subsequent blood sugar fall you experience (in a bad way).”

So, eat your fruits and save your lust for a cool, soothing drink for Blossom Water. At ten calories per serving and loaded with probiotics, you just can’t go wrong. No blender needed!