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to think that smoothies are as good as other kinds of fruit and vegetables

(83 Posts)

...well they can be. I acknowledge that the nutritional value of smoothies can vary wildly.

The NHS doesn't think so

They think you should only count two of your five a day as smoothies.

Why on earth should it matter if it is blended or not?

My smoothies should definitely count. They usually contain plenty of veggies for a start (my kids only figured this out recently after drinking them for a decade or more) carrots, avocado, kale, red cabbage, spinach etc, a mix of frozen berries, mango, peach, peanut butter or yoghurt, citrus including some of the peel for the bioflavonoids (and flavour) sometimes wheat germ, lemon flavoured fish oil or flax if they are replacing a meal. They don't often have banana in them because DS#1 can't cope with much banana. They don't usually have juice in them because we don't often have it in the house. Sometimes I will include olive or sunflower oil in them if they are instead of a meal for the boys and unsweetened cocoa or carob for flavour.

Now admittedly it would be rare to have more than one a day except when I was trying to give DS some extra calories to replace those that were being burned up.

How is a bowl of cooked veg supposedly superior to this? If I blend a veggie smoothie then heat it it is soup, does that now count? By my reckoning it has less nutritional value now.

lozster Sun 28-Apr-13 09:49:53

The reasoning I have heard is that it is to do with the rate at which the food passes through the digestive tract. Liquids pass quickly and solids (even chewed) more slowly. The bod I heard said this was important as vitamins and minerals need to be in the system for different times in order to be absorbed. Hence for a smoothie dome but not all goodness will get out so they are ok as part of a mixed diet. Sounded plausible ?

RhondaJean Sun 28-Apr-13 09:46:42

Self, I think you nailed the reason for the advice up there when you said about commercially produced smoothies being little better than fruit juices.

plinkyplonks Sun 28-Apr-13 02:36:07

Aren't a lot of shop bought smoothies pasteurised ? Additionally, I think I read an article about juices and smoothies causing blood sugar spikes that you didn't get when eating fruit.

ParmaViolette Sun 28-Apr-13 02:07:56

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Recipes... hmm, don't actually follow them. My recipes usually involve digging in fridge and freezer to see what we have.

A typical smoothie would be something like the following.... (note, we have a vitamix so your mileage may vary with a less powerful blender)

half a carrot, rinsed
something green, small handful depending on how many to be served, spinach, kale, cabbage, napa cabbage etc. If the stuff is very green it tends to flavour the smoothie more and you need another flavour to cover it like pb and cocoa. My kids don't seem to notice red cabbage so that is often our choice or baby spinach. Corgettes can be used too or cucumber. They tend to baulk if they see corgettes going in but don't usually taste it once it is in. My kids love mint and lime together.

Something proteiny, almonds are an easy choice here and are mild tasting. Greek yoghurt is good, full fat is lower sugar and I usually add about half a cup per person. Peanut butter is easy, we have powdered that can be added, usually about a tablespoon each if no yoghurt.
I keep frozen fruit in all the time. Blueberries don't blend well without a powerful blender, if you don't mind the skins they are good. Frozen cherries are really good. If organic strawberries are in season I add them, if not I have frozen ones, they make the smoothie thick and milkshakey. Today I added peaches too because I had them. I also added a whole orange with about a third of the pith/peel.

Flavourings. We can get dried green ginger here which my kids like in smoothies, especially when lemon is added. I also add carob powder or unsweetened cocoa if I'm adding strong tasting veggies. Unsweetened cocoa and almonds and an avocado make for a really rich creamy smoothie with lots of 'good' fats. If I add cocoa I usually add vanilla or cinnamon.

I also keep wheat germ and ground flax seed in the freezer and steel cut oatmeal in the cupboard. I often add these to a)bulk it up and b)add some more nutrition. I add about a tablespoon.

Then I add liquid, milk if it is for breakfast or is low in protein or fat, water if not. Also some ice if there are mostly fresh unfrozen ingredients.

Savory ones usually involve rosemary, tomatoes and olive oil. spray on baking spray here is made from lecithin which is an excellent emulsifier. I use a couple of seconds worth of spray so that the olive/coconut oil will mix. I will often add oil to my fruit ones if I don't add some other kind of oil (PB, yoghurt etc) as my kids need the calories.

Ok home from track meet, a little on the mentally fried side so will reply to what I can.

Cell walls are damaged by cooking and freezing as well as blending. Try freezing a spinach leaf for a few minutes and taking it out again. Chewing can do it too. Apparently snacking is what is really bad for teeth. Xylitol can help with both and eating acidy things early on in the meal. Oh and the darling of nutritionalists, kale, can damage the protective layer on teeth.

Dates have TONS of sugar and the NHS reckon they count and don't include a limit. The three fresh dates on the list have 44g of sugar in them.

Willdoit, I read the blog post and it seems to say that eating slowly, not chewing is the key. My son took 20 minutes which is how long he would take to eat a meal.

Fredfred, I agree they can be very calorific, especially when I start adding PB and avocados and it can easy to over imbibe liquids. I don't drink more than a taster most of the time, just every now and again do I have a proper glassful because I REALLY don't need all that. My kids need the calories though, one is growing, the other does a ton of sports, about two hours a day and burns through calories.

I was under the impression that the sugar spikes depend on what you eat with the sugars and also what the GI is for that food. The berries/cherries/veggies that make up a large part of my smoothies are pretty low GI foods.

Re teeth being fine at 17. Mine were nowhere near fine at 17 sad( neither were my husbands so to have two kids without any cavities is a big achievement for us!

A quote from the daily mail (ugh) article

"But why is orange juice, for example, so bad?
The key issue is a lack of fibre. When we eat fruit, fibre forms a protective layer that acts as a barrier to the intestine.
This slows absorption of sugar, so the liver has a chance to catch up. In fizzy drinks, fruit juices and smoothies, the barrier has gone, which leads to the liver being overloaded."

There is a boatload of fibre in mine. We rarely have juice, I consider it pretty empty nutrition. We have a family birthday tomorrow so we will squeeze fresh juice but even then include plenty of pulp. We will also be having jam and croissants and cake, so really the juice is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Why am I bothered about the NHS. Well I am British and even though I currently live abroad I may come back some other time, or my kids might. Also we have a lot of family and friends there. Also if I wasn't still interested in Britain then I probably wouldn't be on mumsnet, eh?

FredFredGeorge Sat 27-Apr-13 21:46:16

OinkyPig There are way more carbohydrates (which is all sugar is!) in a Potato, there are similar amounts to an apple in most other root veg. So if it was a problem to process fruit, then it would be a problem to process root veg too - but no-one suggests mashed swede or beetroot is bad for you?

Making a smoothie doesn't change the sugars available, they are every bit as available as before. As far as the calories are concerned there's no difference between the sugar in the smoothie or the fruit. All that changes is the amount you consume.

It's pretty similar with the donut too - the difference is in the palatability so you tend to eat more, donuts are fine if you don't overeat - as long as you're getting all your nutrients (and certain fats and protein are more important than the vitamins found in fruit and veg) where the extra calories you need come from doesn't matter much.

Of course as soon as you start over-consuming and become overweight and have various other metabolic disorders what you eat and the timing of when you eat can have a bigger impact. But that's once you're already ill.

SmellsLikeWeenSpirits Sat 27-Apr-13 20:31:37

FredFred, that sounds believable

But surely the sugar in a donut is refined, processed and that in a fruit natural, therefore better in someway?

Oinkypig Sat 27-Apr-13 20:29:19

I think it's to do with the type of sugars so fruit has intrinsic sugar in its natural state, as soon as its processed at all including in smoothies or juice it becoms extrinsic ie. outside of the cells. Once that happens it can cause caries and is effectively like refined sugar. That's why although the amount of sugar is the same it's in a different form. It's not as much of a problem with veg as there generally isn't as much intrinsic sugar anyway. The smoothies the op talks about sound amazing but blending fruit does cause a difference in composition.

crashdoll Sat 27-Apr-13 19:38:59

Crash, it is impossible to provide studies that don't exist.

LOL at the irony. I'm on my uni database, so I'll have a lookie.

ivykaty44 Sat 27-Apr-13 19:36:55

but excusetpos - a smoothie and three and a half donuts will not be the same because eating three and a half donuts is not going to give you the sugar and the fibre it will only give you the sugar, drinking a smoothie will give you the = on sugar + the fibre and that is why it is not the same.

this man explains it very very well and why eating fibre and sugar in fruit is fine

Willdoitinaminute Sat 27-Apr-13 19:30:28

The physical act of of chewing is intrinsically important part of our complex digestive system. It initiates the release of enzymes necessary in digestive process both in the mouth and in the rest of the digestive system. The complex feedback mechanism results in the end result that when our bodies have eaten sufficiently our brains tell us we are full.
Recent studies suggest that lack of masticatory activity may well be adding to the increase in obesity. However healthy food is if we eat too much then we get fat. The following links gives the science.

FredFredGeorge Sat 27-Apr-13 19:20:50

The reason smoothies are not recommended is nothing due to any destruction of nutrients (indeed there's little to no chance than anyone is deficient in the nutrients contained in fruit smoothies - Vitamin D particularly which people might be isn't going to have any) Remember more nutrients is not better, you just need enough.

It's simply because the consumption of highly palatable easy to digest high carbohydrate food makes it easier to over-consume calories. And over-consumption of calories is the most significant problem in most peoples diet.

It's the same reason why potatoes are not counted - they contribute too many easy carbohydrates...

ExcuseTypos Sat 27-Apr-13 19:19:18

I was just giving examples from the link ivy in case peopel didn't want to click on the linkwink

But yes it's the Innocent smoothie which is worth 3.5 donuts which is relevant here.

KingRollo Sat 27-Apr-13 19:17:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ivykaty44 Sat 27-Apr-13 19:15:21

excuseypos - but the oj with = amount to 13 hobnobs in sugar has had the fibre taken out, we all know the fibre isn't in juice and that is why we shouldn't drink it.

whereas the smoothie hasn't had the fibre taken out, in the same way that vegetable soup hasn't had the fibre taken out.

it is the fibre that is important

ivykaty44 Sat 27-Apr-13 19:10:16

crashdoll it's basic science that blending fruit alters the make-up.
As it is basic please can you explain how this happens?

GogoGobo Sat 27-Apr-13 19:06:28

Ps excusetypos that tink to the daily mail is worse for my well being than smoothies grin

GogoGobo Sat 27-Apr-13 19:05:30

Thanks excusetypos that just explains why we all enjoy innocent smoothies on a Saturday morning with our pain au chocolate. Little weekend treat.

ExcuseTypos Sat 27-Apr-13 19:01:50

A Pret freshly squeezed orange juice has the same amount of sugar as 13 hobnobs.

A small bottle of Innocent smoothie has the same amount of sugar as 3.5 donuts!

daily mail link

krasnayaploshad Sat 27-Apr-13 19:01:49

OP, I too had no cavities at 17. It's a little early to be assuming your son is fine on the tooth enamel!!

GogoGobo Sat 27-Apr-13 18:58:30

OP your smoothies sound fab and I happily give innocent smoothies and home made ones to my Toddler. I think some people's views on nutrition sound way over the top. Home blended fruit Smoothie one away from Fanta? Heard it all now! Balance is key, little bit of everything is a healthy attitude to food

ExcuseTypos Sat 27-Apr-13 18:57:17

OP "Does it give a sugar spike if it also contains lots of fiber, protein and fat?"

Yes it does.

My dentist has been telling my dc for 15 years that smoothies and fruit juices are not great for teeth or your body, so this stuff isn't exactly new.

FoundAChopinLizt Sat 27-Apr-13 18:56:27

Sounds like I'll need to pack some loperamide after eating all thatgrin

EllieArroway Sat 27-Apr-13 18:56:23

Yes...come back later.

My breakfast depends upon it.

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