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A Word on Fruit & Veggie Blends

        Since fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients, they are regarded as an excellent way to meet our calorie needs. What’s more, given their low calorie density compared to many other foods, they can fill you up without fattening you up! This is true with an important exception. In recent years, awareness of the health benefits of fruits and vegetables has manifested into the trend of blending these foods into tasty heath smoothies and shakes. This is excellent in terms of delivering needed nutrients into the body. In terms of total health, however, this is not the best dietary plan as it can translate to weight gain. How, you ask? Simple.
            Blending food into fluids usually results in consuming more calories than you would otherwise eat. That is, our bodies have indicators that tell us when we’re full based on calorie intake. However, these indicators are not immediate since our stomachs don’t immediately absorb what goes down the hatch. They take time. This is where the health recommendation of eating slowly comes from. Eating slowly gives the body time to realize fullness, or satiety, often limiting calorie intake. Well, eating blended food is essentially the very opposite of eating slowly. When we drink a smoothie, we begin dumping a whole bunch of calories into the body before giving it a chance to tell us we’re full. You can observe this firsthand by simply sitting down and attempting to eat the ingredients that go into a typical large veggie/fruit blend or smoothie. While easy to drink, in their unblended form the ingredients will likely fill you up before you can finish them all…the apple, the banana, the carrots, the kale, etc. And maybe the blended drink is only one part of a larger meal.
         What’s more, while veggies/fruits are high in beneficial nutrients, blending them increases their glycemic index, meaning that they rapidly release simple sugars into the body. This leads to insulin spikes and the over absorption of blood glucose which means that you do not stay full for as long a period before craving another meal, not to mention increases your risk of diabetes. In brief, fruit and veggie blends, while tasty and great for delivering nutrients, can be dangerous from a weight gain standpoint. So if your New Year resolution involves weight loss, eat lots of fruits and veggies, but think twice before blending them. Instead, eat them in their whole forms.

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                                                                                Shahir Masri, M.S.

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