Let’s Talk About Smoothies

Smoothies are all the rage these days, but are they really all they're cracked up to be? From the green vegetable variety to the more-like-milkshake fare, we've got the skinny on smoothies here.

Smoothie Power: The Benefits of Blending

Smoothies are “all the rage” these days, and for good reason! They can:
  • Increase nutrient absorption.
  • Prevent nutritional deficiencies.
  • Supplement nutritional gaps.
  • Enable nutritional gains.
  • Maximize quality nutrition.
  • Increase overall nutritional self-efficacy.
  • And more!

This is especially true for those with snack or mealtime limitations. For individuals with:

  • Limited meal options,
  • Limited time for meal preparation,
  • Short meal times,
  • Dietary Restrictions

Liquefied whole-food nutrition (e.g., whole food smoothies) can significantly support peak performance.

Sugary Scams: Syrupy Supplements & Milkshake Masquerades

The growing variety of content currently referred to as “a smoothie” severely jeopardizes the integrity of the word, causing many smoothies and smoothie powders to resemble little more than glorified milkshakes experienced by the body as “liquid sugar.”

For example, many commercial smoothies these days are:

  • Void of fiber.
  • Laden with artificial sugars or sweeteners.
  • Closer to milkshakes than smoothies.
  • Perceived by the body as “liquid sugar.”

It can be tempting to associate this deadly combination with negative health outcomes, including

  • Blood glucose and insulin spikes (that can lead to):
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Pre-diabetes and Diabetes.
  • Inflammation.
  • Weight gain.
  • And a host of other ailments.
Photo Credit: VIMEO

This possibility could occur from a combination of two main factors:

  1. High glycemic index (GI) ingredients (e.g., sugars or sugary ingredients that cause or enable a large load of sugar to rapidly enter the bloodstream).
  2. Lack of fiber (which can act as a buffer for sugars, enabling slower release into he bloodstream).

This could theoretically cause many smoothies to act in the body as milkshakes or sugar, inducing insulin spikes that can lead ultimately to insulin resistance, diabetes/prediabetes, inflammation, weight gain, and host of other ailments.

HOWEVER, this possibility is not actually supported by existing research.

Research on Glycemic Index:

Vega-López et al. (2018) examined evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCT) and human observational studies for associations between different glycemic index (GI) diets and:

The strongest intervention studies typically found little relationship between GI/glycemic response (GR) and physiological measures of disease risk, including:

  • Body weight.
  • Cardiometabolic disease risk, including:
  • Diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular disease risk.

Thus, the authors concluded “it is unlikely that the GI of a food or diet is linked to disease risk or health outcomes. “

Rather, “other measures of dietary quality – such as fiber or whole grains – may be more likely to predict health outcomes.”

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