Does it matter how you drink your Smoothie?
Up until I read a recent blog post I assumed that a smoothie was just as filling as a solid meal would be. A 600 calorie smoothie and a 600 calorie solid meal would basically have the same metabolic effect.
However, in an intriguing twist, it turns out that drinking your calories leads to consuming more calories in a day than eating the same amount of calories in solid form. I had known this in terms of soft drinks and fruit juices, but somehow I did not translate that fact to apply to smoothies.
But indeed it is true for smoothies too!
Dr. Michael Greger physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues publishes videos and blogs at nutritionfacts.org.
A fascinating blog post and video (linked below) published by Dr. Greger discusses a scientific study which compares a solid meal of fruit with glasses of water to drink, versus a smoothie made with the same fruit and water into a smoothie. The smoothie turned out to be less filling, even though it was the same amount of food.
This of course means you are likely to eat more calories during the rest of the day with the smoothie since your body is perceiving less calories consumed based on the diminished satiety signal.
Does this leave any hope for the beloved smoothie?
Since smoothies are very popular (and convenient) this could be really bad news. However, it turns out you may not have to give them up after all.
It has also been known for some time that soup is a highly filling type of food, and that people who start their meal with an entree of soup tend to eat less of the following courses than people who don’t have the soup entree.
The reason for this is thought to be the time factor – it just takes a lot longer to eat a bowl of soup with a spoon than to drink a liquid of the same volume.
The third arm of the study discussed above introduced a soup-like version of the same food and water combination, and indeed this was just as filling as the solid food version was.
So, drink your smoothie very slowly, a sip at a time over the same period of time as it would take to eat a bowl of soup and the liquid calorie effect disappears!
Eating slowly is one of the foundational habits I focus on in my PN ProCoach nutrition coaching program. Improving satiety with less calories leaves you satisfied while cutting your calories as a bonus.
So go ahead and have that smoothie – just leave time to drink it a little at a time!