Saturday, July 14

There's No Such Thing As An Innocent Smoothie!

A typical fruit smoothie in the supermarket, though Innocent? You decide.

Well it will come as a surprise to most of you but there really is no such thing as an “innocent” smoothie.

"Some carbs are fast, some carbs are furious, some carbs are both but the best are neither" Paul Khanna

Deep breath now here’s a little science, you may not like it but it's very necessary.

Fast Carbs

We are looking at the speed these refined carbohydrates hit our stomach. When this is too fast (like when they are liquified – think smoothie, think liquid food) we face a big problem in that we will overeat. We will eat too may carbs overall. We can’t help it and the net result of that is we will get fat.
This is because too many carbs reaching the stomach too fast sets up a chain reaction – think panic. Our bodies must release lots of insulin to drive the sugar out of the blood stream and too much insulin means that our bodies will convert some of the excess into body fat.  There is no where else for it to go. 


Another reason that fast carbs cause a problem is that too many are consumed before leptin has a chance to warn us that we are taking on too much. Leptin is our body’s natural “fuel guage” but we have to give it a chance to work. Too much food consumed too quickly slips in under the leptin radar and the consequence of that is we overeat. Leptin is there to help us. By preventing us from eating too much , insulin levels are kept low and we get back to burning our fat stores. Remember when inuslin is present we stop burning our body fat for fuel.
It’s hard to measure but there does seem to be a 20 minute delay for our brain to register that it’s full.  Top tip: eat meals and don’t snack.

Natural Liquid Food?

In nature ready to drink liquid food is in short supply for very good reason. It is mainly limited to the milk of mammals and things like pulped regurgitated mush some animal and bird mothers feed their young. In all of these cases the delivered food is highly concentrated and digested very quickly thus resulting in rapid growth. Just what you want if you're a developing youngster, though perhaps not so good if you're not.

Now call in at your local supermarket – we hit Asda this afternoon. And guess what? There is a whole wall of liquid carbs masquerading as healthy. Take a look at some of the packaging for children. Stuck to understand the implications? Well try this TV show which tells the tale quietly and succinctly of how the marketing of such products is targetted at those of us who want to eat healthy and lose a few pounds.

That breakfast smoothie. Each carton proudly lists the number of fruits in each serving. 

Each piece of fruit contains sugar, that is fructose. Think of each glassful we drink as being a glassful of sugar.  

Now watch the inulsin response. Unless we match this with protein we are going to be hungry fast and the insulin spike will deliver a sugar craving urging us to find something else sweet .
Liquified carbs travel fast because they slip down our throats. Like a seagull eating fish. Solid or semi-solid foods travel through our digestive system much more slowly, in waves, a much slower, pulse-like process called peristalsis. Not so hungry then.

Lots of stuff soften’s food: cooking, mashing, chopping, processing. What’s important to realise is that the softer the carbs the easier it is to overeat and trigger that insulin response. And like we say when insulin is present, we stop buring our fat stores. Put simply, drinking food should be kept to a minimum, particularly if your diabetic or concerned about your weight.

So do yourself a favour, the next time you hit the supermarket turn left at the smoothie aisle and just keep walking.

Related Articles:

Fruit Sugar The Enemy Within
The Temptation Of Eve
5-a-Day, No Way!
How Refined Carbohydrates Make Us Fat

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