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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey

To Smoothie or Not to Smoothie

Dec 30, 2014 08:14PM
The plethora of information on diet choices is nothing if not confusing. There are, unfortunately, many “dietary experts” whose recommendations fly in the face of common sense, history, and science. Smoothies are one such food touted as promoting good health. Our intuition, as well as history and science, should tell us the opposite.

Of course there is nothing wrong with a smoothie, if one has no inherent blood sugar problems. They are tasty, as are all things sugar. But, if you are drinking smoothies instead of eating food, you’ve already erred. “Food” is considered that from which a body is made. The human body is made of protein, fat, and water. Most smoothies have water, but most do not include enough fat or sufficient protein to feed us.

Sugar, a simple carbohydrate, is fuel, not food. The body stores fuel in fat cells if not used immediately in physical activity. When reading labels on prepared foods, it is important to note the carbohydrate count, which is the true sugar count. The “no added sugar” claim on a starchy product does not mean the body will not use the whole product as sugar. Any grain product is used by the body as pure sugar. Carbohydrates are simply sugar, and processed carbohydrates are simple sugars, meaning they are absorbed quickly and easily, causing blood sugar spikes, which lead to inflammation.

Blending and juicing are the processes by which fruits and vegetables and sometimes yogurt are combined. The key word here is “process.” All processed foods become a higher glycemic food than the original whole product. The more processed a food becomes, through blending, for example, the higher the glycemic value, meaning it causes a spike in the body’s blood sugar. Even healthy complex carbohydrates once processed are read by the body as simple sugar. Not a good choice for anyone with diabetes, hypoglycemia, heart problems, bowel problems, inflammatory conditions, or other blood sugar issues.

Plain and simple, smoothies are sugar. Those who love their daily smoothies report feeling great. We all get a spurt of energy from sugar, and it promotes the same sense of “high” as daily exercise, because “feel good” endorphins are released in the brain by these activities. But, are we being fed? Not so much.

The claim that blending releases vitamins and minerals from produce is a valid claim, if vitamins and minerals are there in the first place, and if the blending does not rip them apart in the process. Most experts agree that with the advent of chemical fertilizers combined with modern methods of storing and shipping, the vitamin and mineral content of produce cannot be guaranteed. That is why nutritional supplementation is more necessary today than ever. Even the storing and shipping of organic produce makes these products iffy on the nutrition scale.

Produce that includes some vitamins and minerals are also valuable to us for their fiber content. But, blending breaks down that fiber, and our bodies absorb it as sugar. Juicing separates the fiber, and it is discarded. The alkaline property of produce is also diminished by processing. The acidic effect that simple sugar has on the body offsets the alkaline properties of the produce. Even protein when overprocessed can result in blood sugar spikes. That is why I prefer real protein to protein bars or shakes.

The body will break down itself for the protein and fat it requires each day to replace dying cells, repair damaged cells, and grow new cells. When we fail to get sufficient protein daily, the body will steal protein from our muscles. If we don’t get enough protein while exercising, building our exterior muscles, the body breaks down our interior muscles such as arterial muscles, the heart, liver, lungs, and so on. It is easy to understand the source of organ insufficiency, weakened vessels, muscle deficiency and pain in a person not getting enough protein.

Our best stores of dietary fat are not along the waistline. That is stored sugar. Dietary fat is that which the body uses to build us. The best storage of dietary fat is in the brain and the myelin sheath protecting the nerves. We can look at our bodies and see that we are pure protein, fat, and water with various degrees of stored fuel, often in unwanted places.

History is filled with people living long, healthy lives eating real food and only as much fuel as required for daily activities. Today, we see people being advised to do the opposite. When one understands the science of that which the body is made, then what and how to eat makes perfect sense. I recommend eating as our ancestors did. For nutrition, alkalinity, and fiber, eat produce whole. For strong organs, muscles, and bones, eat nuts, beans, and free-range protein with raw dairy products four to six times a day. Include a fermented food with each meal for proper digestion, and eat every meal with plenty of natural fat. Our bodies are the best processors of food and fuel.

Dian Freeman has a private nutritional consultation practice in Morristown, NJ, and is currently working on her doctorate at Drew University. A health freedom advocate, Dian teaches a nutritional certification course, practices Ondamed and NES Health biofeedback, teaches, lectures widely, and may be reached at 973-267-4816, Connect at [email protected] or visit

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