The latest green smoothie debate! part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

Somebody on the internet says they don’t recommend green smoothies because apparently the fiber is too broken down. And the fruit causes blood sugar to spike. Please prove them wrong so I can keep enjoying them.


Answer:   We have gotten this question several times this week, via email, but with at least three different sources saying that. The three sources are Caldwell Esselstyn (one of my heroes), a nutritionist, and a new diet plan.

Every time something becomes wildly popular, like green smoothies have, there is eventually a backlash. This happens with everything, from science to religion to pop culture. Critics spring up and evaluate the original claims of a new product, trend, or habit. And through the free flow of information, the truth emerges, although many people are frustrated and become disillusioned before that occurs.

An example is that this week, Matthew forwarded me a link to a five-page New York Times article, as he often does, regarding the dangers of yoga, the serious injuries that can result.   (My take-away, by the way, is not to push yourself in yoga class for the sake of your ego, or hold poses for long periods of time or do the uber-daring ones that push limits. I personally like to warm my muscles up with a little cardio before yoga, too.)

GSG reader Carly asked me to prove her source wrong saying that green smoothies are bad. I’m more likely to be able to do that than the doubters are, as I’ve not seen any data to support the idea that blending greens is not helpful—or even harmful.

My research with 175 green smoothie drinkers, published in The Green Smoothies Diet, shows 95.4% stating there was a noticeably positive impact on their health or quality of life, simply from drinking green smoothies regularly.

The top three health benefits reported were more energy (85%), improved digestion (79.5%), fewer cravings for sweets and processed foods (65%), more positive/stable mood (54%), weight loss (50%), and improvement in skin tone (50%).

If someone has real data on how fiber is “destroyed” in green smoothies, please point me to it. Matter can be neither created nor destroyed. The fiber didn’t go anywhere. The soluble fiber still turns to gel during digestion and slows digestion and impact on the blood sugar of the fruit (or other sugars you may eat with the meal). That soluble fiber binds to bile and removes it.

Insoluble fiber is blended, and could possibly be less effective at sweeping the GI tract, but it is still there, binding to bile increasing stool bulk.

More on this tomorrow.

5 thoughts on “The latest green smoothie debate! part 1 of 3

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  1. Just a quick real life example on the blood sugar issue…A few months back, when I was still pregnant, I went in for an appt around 28 weeks. It is during this time they do the gestational diabetes test where you are supposed to go in fasting and drink the nasty sugar drink and get your blood drawn to check for gestational diabetes. Because my appt was a few days before I was 28 weeks, and there was poor planning, they hadn’t planned on giving me the test that day and I didn’t go into the appt fasting. However, when I arrived at my appt and my midwife realized how close I was to 28 weeks she suggested we just go ahead with the test if I had the time so I didn’t have to come back in so soon. Less than an hour before, I had downed at least half a quart of green smoothie, chalk full of fruit. In fact, that is the only thing I had eaten yet that day. I told this to the midwife and she said we might as well try anyway and if my blood sugar looked too high we’d try again when I was fasting. Guess what, not only did my blood sugar test look normal, my blood sugar was lower than they normally see (still within a healthy range). I have never had a problem with hypoglycemia so, from my view, that green smoothie did nothing to spike my blood glucose at all. I am not a health care professional, and I realize this is just an anecdote from a stranger, but I highly doubt green smoothies are anything but good for you, as long as you are packing them with greens and other unprocessed plant-derived food.

    1. Sabrina, yes, people think blood sugar is only how many sugars you eat…..but greens are powerful in their ability to moderate blood sugars, so I don’t think GS’s are exactly the same of their parts. Interesting anecdote, good for you! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Autumn, yes, a few people have told us about that one in the last few months, and that’s the nutritionist I’m referring to.

  2. I started making green smoothies occasionally earlier this year. Because of a host of health problems, just over a week ago I started consuming them more earnestly. At the same time, I cut out gluten and white sugar and artificial sweeteners. I am drinking at least a quart a day and eating many vegetables and greens at other times as well. Wow. What a difference! Definitely it has helped my blood sugar, not made it worse. I’m on such an even keel, I’m sleeping great and having no GERD symptoms or blood sugar swings. I am not craving sugar or unhealthy carbs at all. I am amazed at how good I feel. I think the truth is evident in the difference it makes–why would I stop drinking them when I feel so good, just because someone says I shouldn’t feel this way?

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