Fibre was discussed in part one, and micro and phytonutrients in part two. This is the final part talking about some extra considerations when turning our produce into drinks.
Drinking your food can be easier than eating your food. What I mean by that is most people could consume more food in liquid form than in solid form (Flood-Obbagy et al 2009). Therefore making a smoothie can be a super easy way to get some fruits and veggies in if you struggle to eat them or meet your 5+ a day. This could also be beneficial to those who are just struggling to eat enough in general. For example, some athletes with a heavy training schedule may struggle to get enough from eating food alone, so for them a smoothie could be one way to pack in some much need nutrients.
Now because we can consume more by drinking our food we also run the risk of over consuming. For example, I could take my usual breakfast of oats, milk, peanut butter, and a banana, put it in a blender but with more of each ingredient plus other things and gulp it down. I’ve just eaten a lot more than I normally would for breakfast when I potentially didn’t need it, and may even still be hungry afterward. Doing this repeatedly could then lead to unwanted weight gain because I am now technically eating more. My recommendation here would be to ask yourself before making your drink, “Would I normally eat what I’m about to put in the blender?” If you are someone struggling to eat enough then still be mindful of what exactly you’re putting in your drink. Also, ask the question, "Does this satisfy me?", or are you going to go looking for something else to finish off breakfast. Something to note is sipping on your smoothie as opposed to gulping it down may also help make your smoothie a little more satisfying.
There is also the train of thought that by blending a bunch of fruits together we create a drink that is acidic and potentially detrimental to health of our teeth (Ali et al 2014). The effect our drink has on our teeth is very dependent on what the ingredients actually are and how often we are sipping away. Drinking with a straw and not sipping on your smoothie over the day could be two easy ways to reduce any effect we may have on our teeth.
The whole, unprocessed version of our fruits and vegetables should still be our first choice, but making our produce into drinks is an option to help get our 5+ a day. Different processing methods will affect different produce differently. In general, a smoothie/blended whole produce is closer to its natural state, and probably the healthier option over a juice that's not as filling and lacking fibre. In smoothies, fibre is still retained but its structure and potentially function is altered because of it. We still get a lot of micro and phytonutrients from blended produce but we cannot definitively say doing so will “unlock” all the nutrients “trapped” in our fruits and vegetable, as some appliance manufacturers would claim. I would suggest making your own smoothie so you are aware of the ingredients too. Some drink manufacturers have gone with the notion of “more is best” in terms of ingredients, and there are plenty of commercially available smoothies that contain a lot more than is necessary. Keep in mind the ease of over-consuming while drinking our foods and remember to ask yourself, "Would I normally eat everything I am putting into the blender?"
Thanks for reading.