Today I will pay attention to our favorite topic- fruits and the latest trend of turning every piece of fruit or vegetable into a smoothie. Those might be a really quick and easy way to full yourself, how healthy you are living and how you are eating enough fruits and veggies. But in reality is this the most appropriate way to eat your food?
I’ve never been keen on drinking my food. Just writing it sounds weird.
There are a bunch of reasons about it. Let’s start with the most obvious( if you want skip the introduction, and jump down to the science). In order to prepare yourself a fresh of carrots for example, you need at least 4-5 carrots. After that, you are probably gonna drink, the cup of carrot juice, in no time. Half an hour later you will wonder what else you could drink or eat.
On the other hand, if you just peal a carrot, I am sure that you won’t be able to eat more than 1-2 carrots and you will feel kind of full.
This would mean, that in order to prepare a smoothie or a fresh, we need to use a bigger quantity of products. But the increased quantity, is not equal to increased satiety. Fruits and veggies are a lot more satiating when you eat them in their natural state.
Another reason, that I’d call the main “diseases” of our contemporary society, is drinking and eating, because we are bored and we have nothing else to do.
The other day I saw how a woman, who was obese, literally ate a Twix bar, in less than 30 seconds. And don’t get me wrong! I don’t blame her for eating the Twix. If she feels like eating it, because she finds it tasty, she is free to do it. The thing is that she didn’t feel any pleasure of eating the bar. She was obviously trying to run away from reality, from something that brings a negative emotion, by doing something else, which hypothetically was supposed to bring her positive emotions- to eat something.
Back in the days, I used to eat like this as well- I never took the time to chew my food or feel its taste. I was just eating, so I could drawn my negative emotions and the thoughts that overtook my mind. Thus, no amount of food could fill me up. Just because I wasn’t trying to satiate my physical hunger, but my emotional hunger.
What I wanted to say is, that eating shouldn’t be belittled and turned into an unconscious act, that we do between other things.
All veggies and fruits, that we put in a blender and then pour in a cup, lose their taste, when we just take a sip every now and then, while watching TV, working on the PC or talking to somebody on the phone.
I love observing how kids eat- the pleasure that they emanate, while chewing each bite; the time they take to eat and the way they experience its real taste.
What Can We Learn from Kids about The Act of Eating?
Have you paid attention to the way a kid eats an apple? Kids are capable of eating half an apple, for as long as 30 minutes- they enjoy the act of eating, they eat in small bites; chew enough and thus they get to experience the taste of food.
And what are we doing? We just grab an apple, and three or four bites later, or 2-3 minutes later, we have already forgotten that we ate an apple.
Why would we turn some kind of food, that brings enough pleasure in its natural state, in a liquid, which we will unconsciously drink later on?
The pleasure is far greater, when you take the time to eat a carrot, the way a kid would eat it and experience the taste, instead of blending one pound of carrots and then drinking them.
Besides that, the time we take to chew ( especially when it comes to carbs, which digestion starts, when salivary and food mix together), is really important for our digestion and the way this food will be absorbed in our body; it is really important because of the hormones that are being released and the signals that are being sent to our brain; the feeling of satiety or hunger that follows them.
Who Said Science and Fiber?
And now, we are finally at a point to discuss the more scientific part and why the habit of drinking our food, in the form of a smoothie is not the best alternative.
Probably you’ve heard how everybody says that fiber is really important. This is one of the reasons why we are constantly encouraged to eat grains. Hypothetically, they claim that grains are good because of their fiber content. The topic of today’s post aren’t grains and myths about grains, so I will stay away from a further discussion. I will just tell you that you shouldn’t take everything as the one and only truth(read more HERE).
Fiber can not be digested or absorbed. It goes through the digestive system by going through minimal alteration.
There are two types of fiber- soluble and insoluble. Logically, soluble fiber dissolve in water and insoluble do not.
As you already suppose, different types of fiber, have a different consequence on your body and your health.
Soluble fiber, slow down digestion and then they undergo fermentation by bacteria in the colon, and the end product are gases.
Besides the difference in being soluble or not, fiber differ when it comes to their content. Soluble fiber, contain strings of glucose molecules, which in fact absorb water and become something like gelatin- a viscous substance.
Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, contain polysaccharides ( think cellulose- cabbage, celery and so forth).
Some time ago, one of my friends Nikolay Kolev, gave me Dr. Lustig’s book- Fat Chance. In that book, for the first time, I found a really good explanation of why soluble and insoluble fiber have such a great importance and why when it comes to the way they are metabolized, they work in pairs.
Here is a short extract from the book:
“The insoluble fiber forms a latticework for the soluble fiber to sit on, while the soluble fiber bridges the gaps in the latticework to maintain its integrity—kind of like the hair catcher on your shower drain.
Without it, the hair goes down the drain rapidly. But when the hair catcher catches the hair, now you’ve got a stopped-up bathtub. In the case of fiber, however, inhibiting the rate of flux from the intestine crossing into the bloodstream is a good thing. It gives the liver a chance to fully metabolize what’s coming in, so there’s no “overflow.”
Unfortunately, the majority of the foods we are consume today lack fiber of any sort.
Refined grains are stripped of both the bran and the germ in the process of milling. This gives them a finer texture and extends their shelf life while taking out various micronutrients (see chapter 14) and, in particular, fiber. Refined grains include white rice, white flour, pasta, potatoes, and many of the cookies, crackers, and cereals that stock your pantry. “Enriched” grains may replace some of the nutrients removed, but once the fiber is taken out you can’t put it back in.”- pg.128-129
So, if you eat the whole grain, it will be slowly stripped in the process of digestion and this will lead to a lower concentration of glucose. When the bran is missing and you eat the grain without it, then your liver will be “flooded” with glucose and this leads to its sharp peaks. This in turn raises your insulin levels, and from here on you know how the cycle goes.
Fruits! Who Wants a Smoothie?
Fruits! They are also considered healthy, because of their fiber content.
I’ve said it before, when I’ve talked about fats( read HERE), that it is no coincidence that nature, created a particular food the way it is found in nature- i.e. why steaks have fat; why dairy products are full fat; why fruits have fiber and so forth.
You already know that I am not a big fan of fruits as a staple of your diet(read HERE why). I accept them, as a sporadic dessert or just a piece of fruit a day ( at the most), consumed in the second part of the day(read HERE why).
Fruits in such quantity wouldn’t harm you. The reason is that even though fructose is not the best thing, the fiber content in fruits, balances its presence.
If you eat the fruit, the way it comes from nature- the whole apple; the orange spread in pieces, not in a liquid form as a fresh juice, then fructose won’t harm you.
By eating fruits in their natural state, you guarantee yourself, that you won’t overwork your liver, by providing it with a massive amount of fructose, which it couldn’t manage.
What happens when the trend takes over and everybody starts blending their food and turn it into a smoothie?
These liquids do not contain enough fiber!
When you squeeze the fruit, you take away the fiber- the most important thing that they contain. As you know, your body doesn’t care if fructose comes from corn syrup, fruits or something else. It is still fructose. In the absence of fiber, this has a negative consequence on your health.
What you take away, when you squeeze your fruits and veggies, is the insoluble fiber- the once forming the latticework, I mentioned above. This in turn leads to the faster absorption of the fruit sugar ( remember the example about the shower drain- now there isn’t anything to catch the soluble fiber and they “flood” your digestive system.)
If you really want to take the most out of eating fruits and vegetables, then do exactly this- eat them! Do not drink them!
Sure, I am not saying that if you have a smoothie every once in a while, you will get health problems. The thing is that smoothies are becoming the staple of many people’s diets, which is not recommended!
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