Are Green Smoothies Bad for You?


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  • Hi Dr. Greger, I have heard that drinking foods, like smoothies and juices, causes weight gain because of that:
    1. The saturation signal becomes deranged when the fuel comes as liquid
    2. You get to much sugar in the blood at once, causing the blood sugar first rising and then rapidly decline. And that will make you feel satisfied a shorter time
    3.It requires less energy for the digestion

    If we make an example. Zack and Julia always eat ten bananas for their lunch. Zack just peels them but Julia always blends them to a smoothie. Lets say they would do this every day in one year. Does that mean that Julia would fell less saturation after her lunch and therefor eat more calories for her dinner and gain more weight than Zack? We assume that those two persons have totally identical bodies, metabolisms and lifestyles.

    What do you think about this?

  • I think Greger, with or without his whiskers, is making a mountain out of a molehill. Technically, pulverizing foods into small particles does allow for more rapid digestion which, in the case of carbohydrates, does let the sugars enter the bloodstream more quickly triggering a possible insulin response. The same with chewing food, as he says. (In point of fact, if you want really Slow digestion, causing the nutrients to enter the bloodstream Very slowly, you'd stick with proteins and fats, not carbs at all; but that's another story).

    Insofar as eating Any food…regardless of what it is… 'technically' causes cell damage through the actions of free-radicals not neutralized by anti-oxidants, you Could say that eating food itself can lead to cancer; maybe we should stop eating completely. (Hooray for cholesterol, which repairs the damage caused as a result of insufficient anti-oxidants.) The question is, how relevant to real day-to-day life is all this Technical stuff? You live in the real world, not a laboratory.

    Unless you're a fanatic who consumes nothing but smoothies three or four or five times a day, having a smoothie from time to time is 'practically' safe. Having a bag of potato chips from time to time is safe. Ditto for white bread, a can of soda, a candy bar, a pizza or an ice cream soda with whipped cream topping. And, for that matter, meat. The point is not to make smoothies a regular, full-time and nothing-but part of your eating habits.

    Sometimes 'techically' can get in the way of 'real life'.

  • Hi Dr. Greger,

    I have a question: if you are chewing the fruit VERY well, could that be compared to drink a smoothie slowly and lead to a faster absorption of the sugar or even blood sugar spikes?

    In this video,

    , you say "no matter how much we chew, the nutrients stay attached to the fiber" (1:28). If the nutrients still are attached to the fiber, I suppose that the fructose will do as well? As long as the fructose molecules do not easier get separated? You even say that the nutrients still attach to the fiber after using a high speed blender in 5 minutes (1:40)!? I think it is a bit contradictory when you tell, in your video "are green smoothies good for you", that some nutrients are stuck in the cell walls and can only be released when the fruits and vegetables are disrupted. And thats why blending is a great way to maximize your uptake of nutrients? Though I have read that soluble vitamins are destroyed when you mix them in a blender?

    You show that chewing very well, can speed up the absorption of sugar (2:55). "The smaller particles causes faster gastric emptying and produces greater glycemic and IRs". But if we assume that the fiber is still attached to the fructose, that is not the issue. The faster absorption must be caused by that the teeth have helped the digestion with the breakdown of the food, and thats a positive thing!? And if look at smoothies again, it is obviously that the faster consumption leads to a higher blood sugar. If this is the case, then I personally think it is a very strange advice to recommend people with diabetes to not chew their food properly. Instead they could just be told to eat slower!? But chewing very well also means eating during a longer period of time, would not this compensate for the faster sugar absorption caused by eating smaller particles?

  • "Eat beans" sounds easy enough. But let me help the majority of you who decide to eat more beans/legumes. SPROUT THEM FIRST! I could not handle eating 1 or 2 cups of cooked beans a day because my gas would be so bad. I'm not just talking about farting, but my stomach would really hurt. Then I started sprouting my beans before cooking them, and like magic I have ZERO digestive problems with them. This is why sprouting is a common practice in the rest of the world.

  • Boy, for a simple yes or no question about green smoothies this got way too complicated.  Where does rice and wheat come into the picture?  This is about GREEN SMOOTHIES.  I will see if this is answered at the end of the video.

  • IMO, you're eating less greens in a smoothie than just eating a salad. The average salad has at least 2 cups of spinach or kale while a smoothie is lesss than 1/2 cup of greens.

  • I tried to eat green smoothies but I think they are disgusting. Any ideas for how to make them nicer to eat? I tried to add fruit to it to make it more sweet but it was still disgusting.

  • every time I have consumed a green smoothie, I have gotten violently ill. 30 minutes post consumption, I developed a fever and began vomiting. I figured the first time was a fluke, but it kept happening.

  • What about those powdered greens that you just add to water, juice, etc and that are so popular (and expensive), are they just as effective, or even more, as eating whole veggies?

  • I'm so conflicted. I hate eating leafy greens so I just spent $60 on a new blender so I could liquefy them and make them easier to consume. Now I'm afraid of starving my gut flora of nutrients. Some guidance would be appreciated.

  • Is chewing gum really good for you? According to the ADA, chewing trident sugarless gum 20 minutes after eating is preventative in cavities, I think supposedly because of extra the saliva stimulation and the way that the gum picks up bits of food and bacteria and also because it has xylitol which is harmful to bacteria. Do you agree, or disagree, or seen any studies on the benefits of this? Thank you!

  • Smoothies suck !!! I had green smoothies every day for a year ,used to blend everything with great recipes and stuff , started feeling not that good, it progressed to having reactive hypoglycemia even though fruit content was balanced, it developed then to histamine intolerance , heart palpitations and more … it ruined my gut flora !!! It took me one year to repair the damage . Strangely I was blending and rotating at least 400 g of spinach / kale / parsley etc all organic and the best available and my blood test turned out a disaster : magnesium and other minerals were almost 0 in my blood !!! Never again , human body evolved chewing not blending

  • ok… now i get it…. my grandmother always used to say never eat fine flour wet or dry of anything…. she always preferred coarse grains, fruits, n vegetables…..

  • disclaimer: sry for bad english, i am not a native speaker :')
    Hey Doc, the physican of my kids recommends to give my baby son melting flakes or baby oats instead of whole oaks. i should do this until he is 3 years old. he sais the reason for this is that little kids cant absorb their nutrions from whole oaks. but those baby oats are a highly processed food in my opinion. can you maybe make a video on plantbased diet for kids age 6 months to 3 years? i am on a whole plantfood based diet since 9 weeks now an feel great. but so confused what to feed my kids now.

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