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Are Your Smoothies As Healthy As You Think?

Why eating whole fruits and vegetables are better than smoothies

When you eat raw fruits, your mouth and throat begin to secrete saliva. The liquid aids digestion, moistens your mouth, reduces infections in the mouth, throat, and helps protect your teeth and gums.

You have three primary pairs of salivary glands: the Parotid, Submandibular, and Sublingual. Your upper digestive system and esophagus also contain several smaller groups of saliva-secreting cells.

You may experience the following when you drink a smoothie:

1. Sluggish Digestion

A smoothie or juice can be downed quicker than eating a raw piece of fruit, however, by chewing the fruit you create saliva that aids in the digestion process.

As your gut flora continues to break down, you may notice that your digestion and metabolism are slowing down. Even immunity begins to weaken.

The saliva in your mouth is responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates and starches, which aids in their digestion. Amylase is an enzyme that breaks down complex carbohydrates (starches) into sugars that your body can more readily absorb.

Saliva also has a chemical called lingual lipase, which aids in the breakdown of fats.

2. Sugar spike, fatigue, sleepy feeling

The fruit smoothie will cause an insulin response because the sugar in fruits will help to raise blood sugar levels.

A short burst of energy will soon give way to a slump in which you become sleepy and weary. When you consume fruit whole, the dietary fiber in the pulp binds to the natural sugar in the fruit as it travels through your stomach.

This binding action makes it more difficult and elongates the time period for your body to absorb sugar. Therefore, if you eat the fruit whole, the sugar from the fruit will accumulate in your blood stream at a lower rate. Contrastingly, drinking straight fruit juice or smoothie leads to an abrupt increase in blood sugar levels.

As a result, the blood sugar increase leads to a blood sugar decrease (unless more food is consumed), bringing you back to hunger again.

3. Headaches, irritability

People who are sensitive to blood sugar levels may experience headaches, weakness, and irritability after drinking fruit juice or smoothies. These symptoms do not occur when the person eats the fruits whole.

While you may think that downing a fruit smoothie is a healthier choice than eating the whole fruit, it's important to consider how your body processes each. If you have issues with blood sugar levels, it's best to stick to eating the fruit whole. Otherwise, enjoy your smoothie!

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any lifestyle changes.

Source: Nishteswar, Karra. “Ayurvedic Concept of Food and Nutrition.” Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, vol. 6, no. 4, OMICS Publishing Group, 2016.

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