Liquid Calories: Do Smoothies Lead to Weight Gain?

Liquid Calories: Do Smoothies Lead to Weight Gain?
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If our body doesn’t register liquid calories as well, why are blended soups more satiating than the same ingredients eaten in solid form?

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A famous study in 2000 compared the impact of soda versus jellybeans. They had people add 28 extra spoonfuls of sugar to their daily diet in the form of jellybeans or soda pop. Then, they measured how many calories they ate over the rest of the day to see if their bodies would compensate for all that extra sugar. This is how many calories the jellybeans group was eating before the study started. But when eating handfuls of jellybeans, their bodies registered all those extra calories, so they ended up eating less of everything else throughout the day. So, even adding the jellybean calories, they were eating pretty much the same number of calories before and after adding the jelly beans to their diet. But in the soda group, this is how much they started eating, and despite all the added calories from the cans of soda they were drinking every day, they kept eating about the same amount. So, with the soda calories added in, no wonder they gained weight after a month of drinking soda. Their bodies didn’t seem to recognize the extra calories when they were in liquid form, so didn’t compensate for them by reducing their appetite so they’d eat less the rest of the day. This lack of regulation may be used to your advantage, the researchers suggest, if you want to get fat. But what if you don’t?

If you drink a smoothie for breakfast instead of a solid meal, will your body think you skipped breakfast and make you so ravenous at lunch you’d eat more than you normally would and end up gaining weight? Okay, well, first, is this solid versus liquid calorie effect real? Soda and jelly beans don’t just differ by physical form—they have different ingredients. That’s a problem with a lot of these kinds of studies. They use dissimilar foods. Like this study comparing liquid to solid breakfasts; they either got fruit juices and skim milk for breakfast, or oatmeal with blueberries and apples in it. And lo and behold, study subjects were less hungry after the oatmeal. Duh. That may not be a solid versus liquid effect; those are completely different foods. To test for a solid versus liquid effect you’d have to use the exact same food in just two different forms. Even this study was flawed. It purported to show that eating apples before a meal is so good at filling you up that you eat fewer calories overall, but that puréed apples weren’t as effective. But they didn’t just blend the apples, they baked them for 45 minutes first, which may change how the body handles them. I had seen all these studies but was just not convinced there was a solid versus liquid effect. And then, this study was published.

A solid fruit salad, with raw apples, apricots and bananas, with three cups of water to drink—or, take two cups of that water, add it to the fruit, make a fruit smoothie, and then just drink that third cup of water. So the identical meal: one in solid form; one in smoothie form. What happened?

People felt significantly less full after the smoothie. Same amount of foods, same amount of fiber, but in smoothie form it just didn’t fill people up as much as eating fruit au naturel. Originally, we thought it was the lack of chewing. The act of chewing itself may be a satiety signal, an I’ve-eaten-enough signal. And indeed, comparing 35 chews per mouthful to 10 chews per mouthful, if you ask people to eat pasta until they feel comfortably full, those forced to chew 35 times per bite ended up eating about a third of a cup less pasta. So, there we have it: we have the proof of the solid versus liquid effect, we have the mechanism, and, as so often happens in science, just when we have everything neatly wrapped up with a bow, a paradox arises. In this case, the great soup paradox.

Soup, puréed, blended soup, essentially a hot green smoothie of blended vegetables is more satiating than the same veggies in solid form. The same meal in liquid form was more filling than in solid form. So, it can’t be the chewing—in fact, there doesn’t appear to be a solid versus liquid effect at all, since cold smoothies appear to be less filling, but hot smoothies appear to be more filling.

So filling, that when people have soup as a first course, they eat so much less of the main course, that even when you add in the calories of the soup, they eat fewer calories overall.

So, how can we explain this paradox? Maybe puréed fruit is less filling than solid, but puréed vegetables are more filling? I guess you could try making apple soup or something, but who’s going to do that? Purdue University. To prepare apple soup, they mixed about a cup of apple juice with two cups of applesauce, liquefied it in a blender, and heated it up. If you have people eat three actual apples instead, they start out pretty hungry, but within 15 minutes of apple eating, they were hardly hungry at all. Drinking three cups of apple juice didn’t cut hunger much at all, but what about the soup, which was pretty much just hot apple juice with applesauce mixed in? It cut hunger almost as much as the whole apples, even more than an hour later, and even beat out whole apples for decreasing overall calorie intake for the day. What’s so special about soup? What does eating soup have in common with prolonged chewing that differentiates them­ from smoothie drinking? Time. It took about twice as long to chew that many times, and think how long it takes to eat a bowl of soup compared to drinking a smoothie? Eating slower reduces calorie intake.

Or, maybe we just imagine soup to be filling and so, like a placebo effect it is. Feelings like hunger and fullness are subjective. People tend to report hunger more in accordance with how many calories they think something has rather than the actual caloric content. If you study people with no short-term memory, like in that movie Memento, where they don’t remember what happened more than a minute ago, they can overdose on food, because they forgot they just ate, which shows what poor judges we are of our own hunger. And it’s not just subjective effects. In this famous study, “Mind Over Milkshakes,” if you offer people two milkshakes, one described as indulgent—decadence you deserve, the other sensible—guilt-free satisfaction, people have different hormonal responses to them, even though they were being fooled and given the exact same milkshake.

And finally, maybe it was just because the soup was hot, and warmer foods may be more satiating. So, how do we figure out if the solution to the soup mystery was time, thought, or temperature? If only this study had a third group. They had a solid-eating group, and a liquid-drinking group. If only they had a liquid-eating group too. They did. They also offered the fruit smoothie in a bowl, cold, to be eaten with a spoon—very unsoup-like. So if it was thought or temperature, the fullness rating would be down by the liquid drinking—the smoothie. But if it was just the slowed eating rate that made soup as filling as solid food, then the number would be up closer to the solid-eating group. And it was exactly as high, meaning the only real reason smoothies aren’t as filling is because we gulp them down. But if we sip them slowly over time, they can be just as filling as if we ate the fruits and veggies solid.

Wow, this study thought of everything! You don’t know the half of it. They also wanted to see if it would work with high-fat smoothies. So, what, almond butter or walnuts? No, they used a liquefied fat smoothie of steamed pork belly. I guess sometimes smoothies can suppress your appetite.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Skitterphoto via Pixabay.

A famous study in 2000 compared the impact of soda versus jellybeans. They had people add 28 extra spoonfuls of sugar to their daily diet in the form of jellybeans or soda pop. Then, they measured how many calories they ate over the rest of the day to see if their bodies would compensate for all that extra sugar. This is how many calories the jellybeans group was eating before the study started. But when eating handfuls of jellybeans, their bodies registered all those extra calories, so they ended up eating less of everything else throughout the day. So, even adding the jellybean calories, they were eating pretty much the same number of calories before and after adding the jelly beans to their diet. But in the soda group, this is how much they started eating, and despite all the added calories from the cans of soda they were drinking every day, they kept eating about the same amount. So, with the soda calories added in, no wonder they gained weight after a month of drinking soda. Their bodies didn’t seem to recognize the extra calories when they were in liquid form, so didn’t compensate for them by reducing their appetite so they’d eat less the rest of the day. This lack of regulation may be used to your advantage, the researchers suggest, if you want to get fat. But what if you don’t?

If you drink a smoothie for breakfast instead of a solid meal, will your body think you skipped breakfast and make you so ravenous at lunch you’d eat more than you normally would and end up gaining weight? Okay, well, first, is this solid versus liquid calorie effect real? Soda and jelly beans don’t just differ by physical form—they have different ingredients. That’s a problem with a lot of these kinds of studies. They use dissimilar foods. Like this study comparing liquid to solid breakfasts; they either got fruit juices and skim milk for breakfast, or oatmeal with blueberries and apples in it. And lo and behold, study subjects were less hungry after the oatmeal. Duh. That may not be a solid versus liquid effect; those are completely different foods. To test for a solid versus liquid effect you’d have to use the exact same food in just two different forms. Even this study was flawed. It purported to show that eating apples before a meal is so good at filling you up that you eat fewer calories overall, but that puréed apples weren’t as effective. But they didn’t just blend the apples, they baked them for 45 minutes first, which may change how the body handles them. I had seen all these studies but was just not convinced there was a solid versus liquid effect. And then, this study was published.

A solid fruit salad, with raw apples, apricots and bananas, with three cups of water to drink—or, take two cups of that water, add it to the fruit, make a fruit smoothie, and then just drink that third cup of water. So the identical meal: one in solid form; one in smoothie form. What happened?

People felt significantly less full after the smoothie. Same amount of foods, same amount of fiber, but in smoothie form it just didn’t fill people up as much as eating fruit au naturel. Originally, we thought it was the lack of chewing. The act of chewing itself may be a satiety signal, an I’ve-eaten-enough signal. And indeed, comparing 35 chews per mouthful to 10 chews per mouthful, if you ask people to eat pasta until they feel comfortably full, those forced to chew 35 times per bite ended up eating about a third of a cup less pasta. So, there we have it: we have the proof of the solid versus liquid effect, we have the mechanism, and, as so often happens in science, just when we have everything neatly wrapped up with a bow, a paradox arises. In this case, the great soup paradox.

Soup, puréed, blended soup, essentially a hot green smoothie of blended vegetables is more satiating than the same veggies in solid form. The same meal in liquid form was more filling than in solid form. So, it can’t be the chewing—in fact, there doesn’t appear to be a solid versus liquid effect at all, since cold smoothies appear to be less filling, but hot smoothies appear to be more filling.

So filling, that when people have soup as a first course, they eat so much less of the main course, that even when you add in the calories of the soup, they eat fewer calories overall.

So, how can we explain this paradox? Maybe puréed fruit is less filling than solid, but puréed vegetables are more filling? I guess you could try making apple soup or something, but who’s going to do that? Purdue University. To prepare apple soup, they mixed about a cup of apple juice with two cups of applesauce, liquefied it in a blender, and heated it up. If you have people eat three actual apples instead, they start out pretty hungry, but within 15 minutes of apple eating, they were hardly hungry at all. Drinking three cups of apple juice didn’t cut hunger much at all, but what about the soup, which was pretty much just hot apple juice with applesauce mixed in? It cut hunger almost as much as the whole apples, even more than an hour later, and even beat out whole apples for decreasing overall calorie intake for the day. What’s so special about soup? What does eating soup have in common with prolonged chewing that differentiates them­ from smoothie drinking? Time. It took about twice as long to chew that many times, and think how long it takes to eat a bowl of soup compared to drinking a smoothie? Eating slower reduces calorie intake.

Or, maybe we just imagine soup to be filling and so, like a placebo effect it is. Feelings like hunger and fullness are subjective. People tend to report hunger more in accordance with how many calories they think something has rather than the actual caloric content. If you study people with no short-term memory, like in that movie Memento, where they don’t remember what happened more than a minute ago, they can overdose on food, because they forgot they just ate, which shows what poor judges we are of our own hunger. And it’s not just subjective effects. In this famous study, “Mind Over Milkshakes,” if you offer people two milkshakes, one described as indulgent—decadence you deserve, the other sensible—guilt-free satisfaction, people have different hormonal responses to them, even though they were being fooled and given the exact same milkshake.

And finally, maybe it was just because the soup was hot, and warmer foods may be more satiating. So, how do we figure out if the solution to the soup mystery was time, thought, or temperature? If only this study had a third group. They had a solid-eating group, and a liquid-drinking group. If only they had a liquid-eating group too. They did. They also offered the fruit smoothie in a bowl, cold, to be eaten with a spoon—very unsoup-like. So if it was thought or temperature, the fullness rating would be down by the liquid drinking—the smoothie. But if it was just the slowed eating rate that made soup as filling as solid food, then the number would be up closer to the solid-eating group. And it was exactly as high, meaning the only real reason smoothies aren’t as filling is because we gulp them down. But if we sip them slowly over time, they can be just as filling as if we ate the fruits and veggies solid.

Wow, this study thought of everything! You don’t know the half of it. They also wanted to see if it would work with high-fat smoothies. So, what, almond butter or walnuts? No, they used a liquefied fat smoothie of steamed pork belly. I guess sometimes smoothies can suppress your appetite.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to Skitterphoto via Pixabay.

Doctor's Note

I love the detective story ones! I can imagine videos like this being frustrating for those who just want me to cut to the chase—should I drink smoothies or not? But I don’t ever want you to ever do anything just because I or anyone else told you so. That’s the problem with the field of nutrition. Everyone seems to listen to their respective gurus, who can sometimes just make pronouncements from on high without explaining their reasoning. Can you imagine that flying in any other field of science? It’s not what he said or she said; it’s that the best available balance of evidence bears out. Two plus two equals four, no matter what your favorite mathematician says.

We’re almost done with Smoothiefest 2015! Here are the first three in case you missed them:

I close out with one final one before getting back to our regularly scheduled program: The Downside of Green Smoothies.

Other weight control topics for your viewing pleasure:

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

121 responses to “Liquid Calories: Do Smoothies Lead to Weight Gain?

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  1. Perhaps, it is the ice I blend into my smoothies that make them satiating because they slow the rate at which I can drink them. I find that the cold somewhat enhances the flavor of the fruits. I forgot to mention that I also put in a tablespoon of flax and some avocado when it is in season into my smoothie. The extra fat must help the satiety of the smoothie meal, and I find it more appetizing then pork belly smoothies :P




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    1. Yes adding avocado is great, I am giving today The Avocado Affair to a publisher, because it is a great fruit . its fat is part of the balance in any weigh loss program. My patients have no sagging because of avocado, nuts etc. Yes Flax and also Hemp oils are excellent too. To eat with some variety helps the metabolism to work more than when using same nutriments.




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    2. I found a way to not have this issue of the melting . Make freezer packs. Buy plastic zip lock bags, put your favorite greens , fruits inside, over night or for the week.. Take out the following morning or night and add coconut milk/ juice / whatever flavored liquid you choose, then blend and it comes out perfect! No need for ice if you freeze your fruit the night before. It will come out delicious!




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  2. My wife and I find eating broccoli florets harsh on our stomachs. So now we puree the steamed broccoli into a delicious broccoli soup. Because the soup tastes so good and feels easier to digest, we can consume way more broccoli this way. Sipping 3/4 of a pound of broccoli each is effortless.




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    1. Amazing. Great example of how such a simple change in preparation can lead to better health. Please send soups to NF Headquarters c/o Joseph Gonzales ;-)




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    2. If you haven’t seem it, you might want to watch a NF video in which Dr Greger explains that chopped broccoli releases beneficial gasses that are lost if cooked first. So for soup, he recommends chopping in the blender, waiting for the gasses to form, then cooking.




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      1. I just bought a Vitamix blender which turns vegatables into steaming hot soup right in the blender within 5 minutes. Perhaps this chopping and cooking method preserves the beneficial gasses.




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          1. And what–no stems? I use the entire thing. Well unless I am cutting them up for my dogs! They love that stuff.

            But back to the Chef. He runs marathons. Yeah!




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      1. I just season with salt, pepper and a splash of high quality extra virgin olive oil. In this simple recipe no other veggies are added, but I’m sure carrots would be good too.




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  3. Is this video meant for the general public? It seems focused more on the interests of dietitians or nutrition students. I didn’t quite follow it to the end.




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      1. The conclusion appears to be that is green smoothies are sip slowly, they will have the same satiety as eating fruit. However, if we gulp our smoothies down, as is the key is frequently, we risk putting on weight.because the body does not recognize the calories when we gulp smoothies down




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        1. That’s getting too technical for my tastes. Though I don’t make those drinks part of my regular diet. So, I guess it’s important for those who swear by smoothies.




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          1. Consensus of everything: The slower you eat, the more full you feel. This is true if you’re eating sop or smoothie or solids or hot or cold food. So basically it is true always.
            Until another scientists discover that we have little aliens in our head and when they’re hugry we eat faster.

            So I guess if your doctor thinks you need to eat more, eat fast. Otherwise, eat slow ;)




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          2. I never got into the smoothie thing. Not only would I rather chow down (my teeth welcome the workout) on fruits and veggies, etc., I use public transportation for grocery shopping. . How many bags of kale would I need to lug home just for one lousy smoothie? (As Ms. Piggy used to say, “I never eat more than I can carry.”)




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          3. This may not be of much relevance to you, since you do not have smoothies frequently. However for people like me, who have smoothies for breakfast every single day, this video was invaluable. The main take away for me is that I should sip my smoothies slowly rather then gulping them and this can impact my total calorie consumption in a day.




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        2. Is there actually any proof that people will overeat and gain (unneeded) weight on whole foods, plant-based diets, though? My understanding of it, as well as my own experience, is that so long as we’re eating healthfully (in my case just staying away from animal products takes care of it, but it’s best to stay away from vegan junk foods, overly processed foods, too) our weight will normalize. We shouldn’t in any way aim to restrict calories. Eat when you’re hungry and everything takes care of itself when you’re eating the right foods.

          That said, I personally noticed that I was getting a mild rash on my face after consuming one or two fruit smoothies a day for a few weeks. I now stick to mostly whole fruits, a smoothie on occasion only as a treat. I’m not positive but I think too many pureed nuts does the same thing to me, but I don’t eat many of those anyway.




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          1. Well not everyone maybe as disciplined as you and ensure that 100% of their meals are whole food plant based even if they are vegan and generally eat well. Moreover, the discipline of ONLY eating when you are hungry as people like Jiel Fuhrman advocate is not one that most people follow and they may eat on cue – because it is a certsin time or they are doing a certsin going (watching a movie). For all such people it us important yo stay on top of the calories you eat.




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          2. The best and largest studies to my knowledge that look at a strict plant-based diet with no portion control are Dr. Barnard’s studies. Honestly, when we were giving the dietary instruction, I too thought it was crazy to allow “all you can eat bread” or “all you can drink smoothies,” but we did and we found amazing results. See for yourself! A multicenter randomized controlled trial of a plant-based nutrition program to reduce body weight and cardiovascular risk in the corporate setting: the GEICO study. And From other studies on diabetes significant changes in weight loss and insulin levels were observed. Dr. Greger presents the studies in these videos here and here.

            It’s good to know what foods may stimulate a reaction. Some folks go years and never find a link to food and allergies! Keep up the good work! Oh and to answer your question, no, I have not seen any studies showing increased body weight from eating this way, however, like any “diet” it should be well-planned. In our GEICO study calcium was an issue and folks fell short meeting their needs. However, considering the significant increases of other nutrients it just means better planning is in store. Conclusion: “An 18-week intervention program in a corporate setting reduces intake of total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and increases the intake of protective nutrients, particularly fiber, β-carotene, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. The reduction in calcium intake indicates the need for planning for this nutrient.”




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            1. As someone who was formerly morbidly obese and is now still over the targeted BMI eating only whole plant foods AND low fat, yep, it is possible. BUT (big but[t]?) I just learned the pureed bowl of soup hint…and eat it before any meal. It helps!




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    1. To me there were three very clear points in this video for me.
      #1 – if a person is satisfied, or full after a meal or not is almost directly related to if they “think” they should be full.
      #2 – If a person thinks they are full at one meal the tend to not eat more than normal at the next meal, regardless of the actual caloric content of the first meal.
      #3 – eating slower can trigger a feeling of being satisfied more so than eating fast regardless of the caloric content.

      Which means to me, eating calorie and nutritionally dense smoothies works better at satisfying your hunger if you eat them slow. What that does for dental health is something to consider certainly.




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    2. We are the general public – until – we watch these many videos and get more and more educated about nutrition. You may be “general public” now, but just keep watching and see what happens to you! One thing I do if I start to get lost, is I click pause after each phrase or graph to give myself time to absorb or understand what is being said/shown.




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    3. Tobias: I have in my e-mail que a post from you asking me to find a specific video from NutritionFacts. But when I try to respond, I can’t find your comment. I’m guessing you deleted the comment because you found your video? I just wanted to make sure you knew I wasn’t ignoring you if you were still expecting a response.




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  4. As most of medical doctors I have adjusted the weight loss program with some smoothie for breakfast , well defined in nutriments, and soups. In the work I did in Houston in 2006, I was giving a soup recipe booklet with the nutrition plan. It is non the same for everyone, but a special choice for each patient. Most of my patients lose 10-15% of their weight easily with a nutrition plan using these liquid meals.




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  5. I have known for years that I cannot have smoothies simply because I inhale them. I do make and eat soup and stews. These I eat much slower and I sure do get my vegetables, and lentils, and beans, and tofu, and tempeh, and seitan, and edamame and rice and potatoes and spices.




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  6. it always makes me wonder…who are these poor test subjects who signed up for a benign food study and end up having to consume pureed pork fat? eech! remind me never to volunteer for something like this!




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    1. Pork belly is bacon. Though I do not eat meat any longer, I did work my way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking and pork belly is often used to bind flavors together and to enrich foods when they are cooking. When cooked an extremely long time it acquires a remarkable smoothness and flavor.

      I have found that soybeans have the same quality. The creaminess of the bean once blended is lovely and it can be used just like bechemele sauce. Of course, it is a once in awhile treat because soybeans have a lot of fat in them, too.




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  7. Here’s a question I face quite regularly as a plant only whole foods eater: Should I eat or avoid so-called health foods that have small amounts of free oils? In general, I systematically avoid eating all forms of free oils, including fancy olive oil. I accept the more strict critiques of such oils… However, I just bought some prepared falafel balls by Yves in Canada. They are vegan. However, the third ingredient is canola oil. However, for three balls, this amounts to 7 grams of fat (total) with .5 grams as saturated fat. Should I be concerned? The AHA states, regarding saturated fat inake “no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fats” and that’s about 13 grams, so I’m still well below this limit for the day. I realize that some food items like tomato sauces have much higher levels of free oils added. So, I’d continue to avoid those. Yet, again, what about a general policy for cases like this here?




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    1. My general policy is I generally avoid oil. What that means for me I generally have zero oil through the day and may have some with my meals at night either through the ingredients used or plant butters or cooking method. Thus the general policy for me is avoid, except for when I don’t. That tends to keep plant based saturated fat quite low for most days, a little higher every once and a while.




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        1. If presented with two choices for tomato sauce, and one has added oil, and the other doesn’t, I”ll chose the one that doesn’t, but if all I have are those with added oil, I’ll use one. I’ll eat potato chips from time to time. I’ll use olive oil in a pan to cook a processed Gardien product from time to time. I avoid deep fried things, though fries at a restaurant very occasionally will be eaten.
          I don’t have heart disease, I don’t have diabetes and I am moderately active and I am overweight. I generally have my diet aligned with a 80% carbohydrate, 10 % fat, 10% protein macro nutrient plan and have been doing so since Jan 1 of 2015. Some weeks (say much of August where I was moving, changing jobs, and having my oldest son get married all within weeks of each other) I don’t do so good with that ratio (mostly due to restaurant or processed foods). But I don’t beat myself up over it.
          I changed my diet so I can have a better chance at living a good long healthy life. So I focus on doing that, not fretting over everything I eat. At least not too much. I am definitely more aware of what I eat now then before my lifestyle change.




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          1. Excellent decision which you will not regret. And it gets better each year (assuming you take b12 and be conscious of other possible vitamin or nutrient shortages, like iodine, selenium, etc.)
            Thing is, most of us who’ve been on the SAD have some heart disease. But never mind this because you’re on the path of reversing this, so you reduce your chances of signing off one day as Jim Fixx did while out running. That’s ratio sounds good but 15% in fat maybe isn’t bad. Anyway. I’ve held strictly against any added oils, fanatically. Yet so many otherwise good foods have a small amt of free oils so I’m asking myself if there’s any harm if it’s quite low still in terms of total daily intake recommended by say AHA.




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            1. I feel whatever allows you to stay lifelong on a good dietary path and avoid cravings is good. If the occasional treat will allow you to feel satisfied with your otherwise excellent food choices, it is one which should be enjoyed without guilt…my 2cents.




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    2. Don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “good”. I make it a focus to avoid free oils as a general rule with prepared foods (which invertibly have oil not to mention too much sodium) as an occasional treat. Then I work to not let occasional slide down until it is more accurate to describe it as frequently. And even with more frequent consumption of free plant oils, you would be still ahead of the game with the elimination of all the negative effects outlined by Dr. Greger of animal proteins, bacterial endotoxins, high saturated fats, and many others, just not as far ahead.




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      1. Most vegan recipes involve oil which is unfortunate. Every lentil soup recipe I see it the same…saute some onion and carrots oil, then add diced tomatoes and lentils and simmer for 30 minutes.




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        1. Uma7 you can do the sautéing without oil. Put your pan over the heat. Once hot throw the carrots, celery, onions in and let them sizzle away. If/when they look like they are sticking throw a bit of water into the fix and stir.. Continue this process until they are soft/browned. Then add lentils and water.




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          1. Thanks. Another thing is vegetable stock has insane amounts of sodium. Should I just omit it? I don’t want to spend hours making something equivalent.




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            1. I just use water. If you use enough celery (2-3), carrots (2-3) and onion (1) no need. Taste is so much better. plus herbs–it comes out amazing.




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    3. Tobias: Just a personal opinion: I wouldn’t stress about it if it wasn’t an every day food or if you are just at a place in your life where you feel that those kinds of convenience foods are important for your lifestyle. But I personally would not consider it a healthy food. Here’s why: since beans have so little fat relatively, I’m guessing that most of those 7 grams of fat come from the oil. And oil is like sugar, just empty calories. So, the real question for me is, is that a small amount of empty calories or a lot? I once heard a talk from Dr. Barnard where he generally recommended people aim for food that has 2-3 grams fat per serving. Of course, that’s just a general guideline that could have a lot of caveauts. But I find it helpful for answering for myself the very question you posed. I’m often trying to figure out if I can count a convenience food as healthy or not. And one of measures I use is grams of fat, especially if those grams are mostly coming from oil. So for me, the answer in this case would be: This is not a generally healthy food. But it’s a fine sometimes food. Just my 2 cents.




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      1. Thanks. I’ll probably continue with my hard line approach. No oils, plain and simple. The problem I experience occurred today: I didn’t eat just three of those falafel balls. I ate ALL of them. :) 12 or so. And that’s how it works. They add oil maybe to make it more “hyper palatable” so it pushes our pleasure buttons. So, once and a while, at most. (In this particular case, what if you used tahini, very oily sesame paste…? It’s not exactly a free oil but very close to it… Again, very occasionally, maybe.)




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        1. Tobias: LOL re: “I ate ALL of them.” Been there, eaten that!

          Concerning tahini, I treat it like any nut butter. Tahini is a seed butter. So, yes it is high in fat, but it is really a whole plant food in my book. So *if* one can eat it in moderation (as you note, that’s the key), then I’m all for it. If memory serves, Jeff Novick’s recipe for hummus included some tahini. I don’t put tahini in the same category as oils. I just keep in mind that nut/seed butters are calorie dense.




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          1. Hi Thea, Is there a chance that you could help me locate a video by Dr Greger which focuses on eggs as the food containing the most cholesterol just after “brain” foods? He shows a chart with the brain foods at the top and then shows where eggs are next. The video also shows an image of a cheese & bacon hamburger and Dr Greger explains that eggs have even more cholesterol than this meal. (I have someone with chronic lower back pain and I want to show him this video and the one titled ” Back in Circulation: Sciatica and Cholesterol”. No problem if it doesn’t pop into your mind, no need to take time searching for it, I just thought you might now… )




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      2. I should also add, while not quite as convenient, there are lots of oil-free, baked falafel recipes out there. I haven’t made it in a while, but one I remember really liking is in the cookbook, Appetite For Reduction. I remember it being pretty easy to make.

        Also, if someone is looking for a convenience food that is not perfect, but is maybe a cut above, consider looking at the Tasty Bite Indian entres. Some have dairy, but some are vegan. The ingredient list is always impressive, except for the oil. And there are some varieties with lower oil amounts. At least one variety has only 2.5 grams per serving (Jodhpur Lentils). You can get pre-cooked, frozen brown rice from Trader Joes that has nothing but rice in it. So, 3 minutes in the microwave for the brown rice will leave it nice and hot so that you can just poor on the Tasty Bite and you have a full meal or at least a significant entre. As I said, it is not perfect, but for a convenience food, it is pretty good! (And Tobias, in my opinion, this would be a better example of a food that has a little bit of oil in it – compared to your falafel example. Just my opinion.)

        Bonus tip: I like to have a lot of these Tasty Bites around in the winter as emergency food since it can basically be eaten right out of the package and tastes pretty good even at room temperature.




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        1. There were a couple of conversations that involved falafel about the time this conversation took place. I felt inspired to make some baked falafel again and wanted to report back. I’ve made it 3 times now.

          It came out great! Below is a link to an example recipe. You can play with the spices (I don’t use the red pepper flakes) and add a couple tablespoons of garbo flour in place of any kind of ‘flour’ and you get some extra garbo flavor. (Thank you book, Appetite for Reduction for that idea) Of course, I left out the oil. No problem! And I added a bunch more cilantro than the recipe calls for. Yummm.

          The method I used was: Don’t do much prep work. Just throw it all in a food processor and blend. Viola.

          To make the patties: I used a large cookie scoop (about the size of a walnut) and put the scoop directly on parchment paper (which is on a cookie sheet). I did not need to grease the paper. I then used the back of the cookie scoop to slightly flatten the balls. The patty shape helps the falafel to cook better compared to a ball.

          I followed the cooking advice of one of the commenters: 450 degrees for 15 minutes per side. This produced patties that were wonderfully crispy on the outside and yet still moist on the inside.

          You can use the end result in a traditional falafel wrap/sandwich. You can also put a dollop of humus on each patty and you have an great appetizer to serve at parties.

          Just sharing in case anyone is interested.

          http://chowvegan.com/2009/01/06/baked-falafel/




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  8. I wonder what the role saliva has on drinking v. chewing food? Do we feel more satiated because we are slowing down the process or because more saliva is secreted during the chewing process which has hormones that make us feel full?




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  9. Interesting as always! (Fruit and vegetable) smoothies are a great way to get huge amounts of phytochemicals and that can only be interpreted in one way: Very good for your overall health. Health conscious people will not indulge in too many calories, because when their pants tightens, they don’t buy new ones in size X-large, but eat less, whereas obese people eating a SAD diet blames the society and just buy XXXXX-large pants on sale……
    ……..fruit and vegetable smoothie rules !!!!




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      1. Largelytrue I would say a person on a whole-food-plant-based diet gets HUGE amounts. Actually you can’t fill up a glass that is already full! What I mean to say is I can’t add any more plants because that is all I eat!




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  10. Some other random possible general differences:

    Soup is hot while smoothies are cold

    Soup is cooked while smoothies are raw

    Cooked has double protein absorption and offers higher protein satiety

    Soup is eaten with a spoon while smoothies are eaten from a glass/pitcher

    Soup is served in a small bowl while smoothies in a larger pitcher

    Soup have a lower glycemic load

    Soups may contain salt or spices while smoothies don’t (satiety)

    Soup is made of low caloric foods (vegs.) while smoothies are high calorie (fruits)

    Soup is not portable while a smoothie is

    Soup may contain chunks while smoothies don’t

    Soup may take longer to prepare




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  11. I find the use of the term smoothie here to be problematic.
    When I first heard the word smoothie was back in the 70’s
    and it referred to the milkshake type drinks made of fruit,
    often with yogurt and honey added. I think it was not until
    after the year 2000 that I even heard the term green smoothie.
    So, I’m just thinking the title of this episode might be a bit
    more descriptive and accurate, no?




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  12. This has been such a fascinating series! So many answers to so many questions! Exciting stuff. Especially found the bit about what people believe they’re consuming (something decadent vs. something sensible) fascinating (my jaw literally dropped, even though I shouldn’t be surprised because this makes perfect sense! just so cool to see it actually proven like this). Thanks for everything you guys do here. :)




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  13. Pork belly sounds better to me than jelly beans! (not that I’d actually eat either)

    My personal experience is that I lose weight rather easily in “smoothie mode”. I lost more weight (than ever before) while increasing my calories when I went on the smoothie rampage. But also at that time I was converting from SAD to quite close to WFPB, but with emphasis on fruit and raw veggies. I was very conscious of fat contents, but was still eating some processed foods. To be clear my smoothies never had dairy or fat added, just fruit and greens with water/ice to make blendy.

    But I was _always hungry_ within a couple of hours of a fruit meal or green smoothie, and no matter how much I ate (of fruit and raw/steamed/baked/boiled/ vegetables), there was no weight to be gained. I’ve seen some of the current fruit eaters on youtube who eat mounds of fruit and are quite thin (healthy). I know the calories were there, but felt like my metabolism was maxed. Maybe it was the ease of digestion.

    I didn’t at that time eat nuts because of their fat content. I also didn’t eat a lot of starchy veggies. And I was working out.

    Then I went back to SAD for two reasons (excuses):

    1. Was quitting nicotine and needed every opportunity to reward myself to beat back that nasty monkey (it worked been “clean” since 2007).
    2. I was quite tired of buying fruit three times a week. and all the peeling and paring and chopping and eating every few hours-having to carry food with me everywhere.

    So I swelled back up about 30#.

    Then when I “got serious” again with WFPB, the weight disappeared pronto without working out (and many other health benefits were obvious). I eat nuts and tubers and flaxseed with abandon now and have no problem with “normal” meals times, but usually eat 4 or 5 times per day.

    Except just the other day when I had a frozen choco-banana smoothie first thing before work (was dessert I’d forgotten to eat the night before). I was hungry the rest of the day. So for me I need more veggies than fruit in the morning to make the day pass with less cravings.

    WFPB has been absolutely fantastic for me. Smoothies I can take or leave, but won’t ever try to use them as meals again. Great snack.

    Lovin’ this!




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  14. After the fruit and berry videos showing studies where people who ate fruit didn’t gain weight, I started (joyously) eating more fruit, especially fruit salads. But now, after a few months, I see I have gained weight. But maybe it’s from my smoothies? Or just TOO MUCH fruit? Or putting apples in my smoothies, instead of just eating them. Or eating fruit as a midnight snack? Though a bit confused now, I guess I just need to cut back on fruit. I remember someone once told me that Samoans are overweight because all they eat is fruit.




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    1. You could try eating less, but it’s hard to say exactly why the weight gain occurred. How much weight are we talking? Pounds can fluctuate from day to day. Did you change any other lifestyle behaviors? Happy to help tackle this more! Of course everyone varies in their health goals, but I do not see fruit as a barrier for folks trying to lose weight. My comment below discusses this to some extent. Let me know if it helps?




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      1. I realized last night, my weight gain may be related to the fact that I also started including small portions of fruit JUICE in my diet about the same time I started eating more fruit. I only used fruit juice with NO ADDED SUGAR, but now, from a recent video, I learned that the sugar is still released too quickly into my system ultimately causing weight gain. I haven’t weighed myself, but the gain is probably around 5-7 lbs? I’m 98% vegan, so I should not be over-weight at all… but someone recently suggested I could lose 20lbs! I exercise almost daily. Haven’t made any significant lifestyle changes. I confess I may eat a small piece of chocolate once in awhile… going to re-read your post below now. Thanks Joseph!




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        1. I would not let anyone suggest (other than your doctor) that you are overweight and that you need to lose weight. Do you know your BMI by chance? OR are you comfortable sharing your weight and height? It’s not impossible to gain weight as a 98% vegan. Diet quality matters! It sounds like avoiding the fruit juice and chocolate could be helpful. If you tell me more about your overall diet I may be able to give more suggestions. However for the best individual advice I recommend seeing a dietitian, if possible.




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          1. Joseph, thanks very much for your help. Not sure about my BMI; haven’t measured in awhile. I’m about 5′ 7″ and around 165 lbs with thick muscle mass. I don’t really feel that over-weight, but my tummy sticks out more than I would like it to. (Not sure if it’s fat, or just bloated from eating). Oh, 66 years old, btw. In order to get my nutrients, I started consuming large smoothies for breakfast… and yes, I tend to gulp them. They typically contain (1) apple, 1/2 banana, a handful of chopped kale, 1/2 cup oat bran, heaping tablespoon of ground flax meal, teaspoon tumeric, same amount of cinnamon, a heaping tablespoon of raisins, same amount of chopped walnuts, a dash of stevia, and water. Then I have a small garden salad for lunch, and two handfuls of steamed veggies for dinner. I’ve stopped having fruit juice mixed with mineral water. So….. after the smoothie videos, I realize my smoothies are definitely TOO LARGE, coz I could never eat that much if consumed the food items separately. If I chopped my smoothies to half the size, and use orange instead of apple, I’d probably slim down for sure… oh, and drinking slower. Still, I look forward to your feedback. Thanks again!




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            1. Thanks for your willingness to share. It helps give me a better idea. I actually recommend eating more for lunch or dinner, such as more whole grains and beans! 2 handfuls of steamed veggies for dinner is like 60 calories. That is not enough. Beans could be a staple in the diet and are helpful for weight loss. I’d try adding some and reviewing all of the many videos on beans. I think easing back on the smoothies may also help, and of course drinking them slowly. Don’t forget some spicy foods, if you like them. If you need recipe ideas or meal plans to observe let me know.




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              1. I sometimes add wheat germ to the smoothies, and often include beans with my steamed veggies. I forgot to include that I usually eat a snack between breakfast and lunch, consisting of a handful of Pumpernickel pretzels or a smaller serving of pistachios, so it’s hard to eat more for lunch. Plus I forgot to confess that I sometimes sleepwalk during the night, and toss a few spoonfuls of fruit salad into my mouth, before stumbling back to bed…. maybe coz I’m not eating enough for dinner…? which also, btw, includes some fruit for dessert. I’m going to start by reducing breakfast smoothie intake. Thanks, Joseph, cheers!




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                1. You’re welcome! Oh wow yes I think we found a potential culprit! Try eating a bit more whole foods during dinner to see if that helps and of course discuss this plan with your doctor.

                  Best wishes,
                  Joseph




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  15. Just one thing about sipping a smoothie slowly: doesn’t that have a more abrasive effect on your teeth? Maybe sip the smoothie slowly and alternate with some water :-)




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    1. Sip, rinse…repeat. Good advice! Or what about sipping (slowly) through a straw to avoid or lessen tooth contact? Do fruits actually rot our teeth? We didn’t know..until now! Just kidding we probably already knew. The good doctor explains the research in this blog and the best time to brush after eating citrus. You bring up a great point, BB!. Thanks!




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  16. It takes calories to heat cold food to body temperature for absorption into the blood. Those calories (BTU’s) may come from a
    hot day in summer, or from your shivering soul on a winter day. This in a real sense will determine satiety (body satisfaction).




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  17. So would it be better to eat a green smoothie out of a bowl slowly with a spoon, maybe topped with some fruit pieces?!

    I have never understood why we are using glasses for that, when we say it’s a meal. We are used to drink out of glasses and we do that with smoothies too, but now we know that shouldn’t be case.

    Great video btw! :)




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  18. I have a frozen berry smoothie (w/ gr flax and soy milk) almost every day for breakfast. I am too full to eat anything else in addition to that. I’ve tried to also have breakfast, but then either I can’t finish my breakfast or I can’t finish my smoothie. Because it is a thick, frozen smoothie, it is nearly impossible to drink it fast. A 20 oz smoothie in an insulated cup w/ straw takes me 1-2 hours – a sip here and a sip there.




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  19. Is it more desirable to consume soy milk that is enriched with “essential nutrients” or just the plain stuff? It seems that they put so many vitamins in that it’s like taking a liquid supplement. I don’t take supplements because I don’t think I need them, except b12. Thus, I’m guessing that it’s better to use non-enriched versions.




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    1. you are drinking soy milk with synthetic vitamins added to it. It is no different then dropping a vitamin pill into
      a glass of pure soy milk. I am not sure why “it seems like this enriched soy milk is like taking liquid supplement.” There is nothing to think about or figure out, it is quite obvious, anytime you see almond, oat, soy, etc. milk or yogurt (and even most breads and pasta!!!) you are eating a natural product with a vitamin pill. The food companies use the same synthetic vitamin you might buy at the grocery store, Same exact thing, they just buy it in bulk, and in powdered form, then add it in the processing. White rice=a grain with a synthetic vitamin added to it. Most bread has synthetic vitamins in them. I could go on and on. Keep in mind, vitamin D is a hormone pill, hormone therapy, according to some people.




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      1. I expect that you are correct. I have a soybella machine for making my own soy milk and I like the end product, the homemade soy milk. However, it’s more convenient to buy it. Anyway. I need to get back into making my own. (Eden Foods is the only brand that I’ve seen making 100% natural soy milk. But it is expensive. One more reason to make you own. Which is inexpensive once you get the machine for making it.)




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    2. Tobias: I think this is a great question. I think the answer is a big “it depends” on the situation of the individual. Here’s my take: While I don’t generally need the extra vitamins that get put into the non-dairy milks, I do need the calcium. (I think I still don’t consume enough greens to have me covered on calcium.) And I do need vitamin D, because of where I live and because my lifestyle does not include much sunshine.

      The other vitamins added to the milk seem to be in relatively low quantities compared to a vitamin supplement. So, I don’t think drinking a serving of supplemented milk is really the same as popping a typical pill. (This is just based on very quick and dirty research and memory. So, I may not have this part exactly right.)

      Thus, for me, the bottom line is that drinking supplemented milks are probably a good deal. And just in case, I split the difference. Soy milks are easy to get with nothing in them but soy and water. Just check the labels of the antiseptic cartons. I think those types of soy milk taste the best and work best in recipes. So, when I drink soy milk, I get the kind without added vitamins. But when it comes to almond milk, especially when I’m going to pour it on my oatmeal and really taste it, I’m perfectly comfortable drinking say Blue Diamond unsweetened almond milk even though it has some added vitamins. I need that calcium anyway and I don’t think the relatively small amounts of the vitamins I don’t need are hurting me.

      Of course, that’s just what works for me. I shared because I was hoping that this perspective might prove helpful to you in evaluating your own needs. I think home made milks taste the best, but most of the time I end up going for the convenience of store bought. And I don’t apologize for it! ;-)




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      1. I’ve been listening to Pam Popper on supplements. She has a video today on D. Anyway. I’m not going to worry about these fortified milks yet I will try to make my own more often with my Soyabella machine. (I wonder as well about nutritional yeast because I use it a lot… It’s hard to tell what the bulk versions have for ingredients.)




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  20. I have a smoothie for breakfast every morning. My smoothie consists of 4-6 bananas, 250grm Strawberries, 0.5-1 cup blueberries, 3 tablespoons Chia seeds, 1 big dollop peanut butter and 1-2 cups soy/oat milk. i drink it over about 20-30 mins. I then ride 15Kms to work. I am sooooo full after my smoothie that I just can’t eat anything else for the entire day until about 4:30pm (my lunch). Even then I still have to make a concerted effort to eat.




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  21. This is interesting to know, especially because I sip my smoothies over the course of hours sometimes.

    Before I head out, I make a smoothie to take with me as a lunch, pour it into a large flask that keeps everything cool no matter the temperature outside the bottle, and then I sip it here and there over the course of at least an hour or even hours (more than two or even three hours at times). The flask contains 40 ounces, and I fill it all the way. I drink the little that is left in the blender before I leave (usually about a cup or a little less.)

    I find that when I do that, my energy seems to stay on a more even level, and I feel satiated throughout the day. I suppose this video explains a little of why. :-)




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  22. Respectfully, I think that this study may be going a bit too far down the rabbit hole in an attempt to make sense out of why liquid nutrition is not as filling as solid nutrition. And in doing so they are perhaps too clever by half. They don’t even consider another possible explanation, i.e. –

    As David Wolfe has made this point saying; that in order to best absorb smoothie nutrients, green or otherwise, you need three things;
    1. Blending
    2. Oil
    3. Heat the smoothie or soup.

    The study says that smoothies are as filling when; heated, or slowly eaten/chewed or as solid foods, but not when drank quickly.
    The study does not consider the possibility that the reason the heated smoothies/soups are filling is because the nutrients are much better absorbed when heated, as Wolfe has said. Consequently, your body and brain then get/absorb the heated nutrients they need and so are no longer hungry, i.e. your brain then switches off the hunger switch. You are full. This is premised upon the principle that your brain drives you to eat to get specific nutrients you need, it wants.

    I’d also be interested in if this study used oils in some concoctions and not in others, or foods containing oils? – and if this perhaps also influenced the results?




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    1. Hi John. I do not see that any study used oil. It would be interesting to see the results if a study were designed. This video mentions how flaxseeds may help maximize absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and increase smoothie viscosity helping control appetite.




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  23. So, what about eating cold cereal with a spoon? If eating smoothies and soup from a bowl using a spoon affects blood sugar, would this also apply to processed grains and milk eaten from a bowl using a spoon? What about something healthier like oatmeal?




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  24. Don’t change, laughter is good for us and I laughed two or three times during this video. Those who want you to cut to the chase need to slow down.




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  25. I read your blog that you can lose some important nutrients while juicing. I also saw the video that juice raises blog sugar levels. Here’s my question: are any of the studies on juice fasting? Is there any scientific truth to so called bypassing the digestive system for a few days or more and letting body heal itself? These are the claims from die hard juicers. Just curious.




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    1. There are many scientific studies explaining fasting. To be simple, fasting for 2 days helps to use all in the bowel, instead to stock excess or increase the bowel volume. When you fast and then resume with plant based nutrition and probiotics, you are no more supporting mini stagnation, infection inflammation which are niches to polypes, then chronic inflammatory ring, then slow transformation leading to cancer. To make a significant weight loss I have almost work with fasting. In the opposite I have funny stories of patients, who wanted to speed the weight loss with colonic and gained weight instead. Educating bowel with probiotics takes some time, taking of the “bad bacteria” then let thrive the appropriate which are not the same for everybody.




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  26. I found a way to not have this issue of the melting . Make freezer packs. Buy plastic zip lock bags, put your favorite greens , fruits inside, over night or for the week.. Take out the following morning or night and add coconut milk/ juice / whatever flavored liquid you choose, then blend and it comes out perfect! No need for ice if you freeze your fruit the night before.




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  27. In the video Dr. Greger indicates that Juiced Apples cause our blood sugar to basically react like eating sugar. I was wondering if there are other fruits or even vegetables that would do likewise, and would be better for us to eat them without juicing them??




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    1. natlp: There are two ways to gain weight, with fat or muscle (or some combination of both). What kind of weight are you hoping to gain and why? What you do to increase the weight depends on your goals.




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      1. I am a 56 year old female, 5’8″, 115 lbs. I have Parkinson’s. I exercise vigorously 3X week. I have docs trying to figure out weight loss. So far, no reason. I have eliminated many processed foods and snack on walnuts and raisins and dont want to rely on sugar, but have even started having ice cream every night. I think I eat as much as i always have. (it was not sudden loss, but over years) So I think I need fat more than muscle, but muscle would be nice too. :) My bone density is not great. i take vit. D and K but am afraid if i fall i will have no fat to protect my bones. Thank you for your quick reply.




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        1. natlp: First, I wanted to say how cool it is that you are exercising and doing other things to help your health. I always admire people who are willing to do hard things to help themselves be as healthy as they can. I was just watching a TV program last night, and a person said that exercise was the only proven method of slowing down Parkinsons. I don’t know if that is true or not, but certainly hard exercise is a part of dealing with your situation. Have you seen the videos on NutritionFacts which relate to Parkinsons? It looks like a good diet can help also. If you haven’t seen these yet, they are well worth a look! : http://nutritionfacts.org/?fwp_search=parkinsons&fwp_content_type=video (I hope that’s non-dairy ice cream you are eating…)
          .
          To get to your actual question: I have to preface that I’m not an expert. But I have been doing a ton of research into nutrition and have some thoughts for you. As explained in this video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-more-to-weigh-less, the key to healthy long term weight loss is understanding calorie density and eating low calorie-dense foods. When applied in reverse, the concept of calorie density can be used to gain weight.
          .
          In general, you would want to eat more foods that are more calorie dense. This includes nuts and dried fruits, but includes a lot of other foods too. The idea is to not just snack on these foods, but to add lots of calorie dense foods into your diet through the day until the amount of calories you take in exceed your energy needs. Examples of higher calorie dense foods appropriate for a whole plant food diet include: nuts, dried fruits, tofu, tempeh, avocados, olives, and breads/crackers/dry goods. Also, eat more cooked foods compared to raw foods.
          .
          While the following article is focused on weight loss, you could use the information in reverse for weight gain (or if your goal is just weight maintenance, follow these ideas): http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-calorie-density-approach-to-nutrition-and-lifelong-weight-management/ Chef AJ tells people who want to lose weight to eat “left of the red line”, where I believe the red line is on a diagram of hers representing is 600 calories per pound. And “left of the red line” is all the whole plant foods which are below 600 calories per pound. To maintain or increase weight, you would include more foods to the right of the red line. If you want to look up the calorie density of specific foods, you can find many foods on the following site: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ Most foods on that site have the option of choose an ‘ounce’ as a size. Then you can multiply by 16 to get the calories per pound.
          .
          The idea/point is: don’t just add a snack and junk food like ice cream. Incorporate several of these relatively healthy foods and cooked food in general in each meal and snack. For example, while a person wanting to lose weight would ideally use a vegetable-based sauce, you would use a nut-based sauce. While a person wanting to lose or maintain weight would include a whole lot of raw food, say big salads with some lemon juice as the dressing, you might eat smaller amounts of raw food and far more cooked veggies, beans, and grains proportionately.
          .
          While that’s the answer to your actual question, I would step back and ask, “Does it really make sense to gain some fat?” I don’t know if you don’t have enough fat right now or not. But I think it is important to ask: Is there any evidence that adding more fat would really help you in a fall? Since more fat seems to generally provide people with health problems, could adding more fat hurt you with your Parkinson’s situation? Would it make more sense to focus on fat maintenance than gain? Dr. McDougall has a great article on the topic of gaining weight and what a healthy amount of fat might be. It
          will provide some additional perspective as well as maybe some
          additional ideas on how to gain weight if that is what you still want to do:.
          http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/030700puhowdoIgainweight.htm
          .
          Assuming someone has a healthy amount of fat (which I understand isn’t very much), I think healthy weight gain is more about increasing muscles than fat. Gaining muscle is a good goal. (From what I’ve read: All else being equal, having more muscle is healthier.) But gaining muscle is more than just changing your diet. Gaining muscle requires certain types of exercise. That’s beyond the scope of this site. I just bring it up so you can think about what your real goal is and what it would take to accomplish it.
          .
          I understand that you are worried about your bone. I *highly* recommend that you read a book called: Building Bone Vitality. It’s a fast and fascinating read. It will tell you a whole lot more than “take vitamin D and K”. It will tell you what you really need to know to have healthy bones. https://www.amazon.com/Building-Bone-Vitality-Revolutionary-Osteoporosis–Without/dp/0071600191/ref=sr_1_1_twi_pap_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466696244&sr=8-1&keywords=building+bone+vitality
          .
          Hope this helps.




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          1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to thoughtfully answer my question. You have given me much to think about and investigate. I appreciate it greatly!!!




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  28. I have been eating a whole food plant based diet for the past two years. Really, I started vegetarian (involuntarily) at the beginning of the past two years and it developed from there into what I currently eat and how I relate to others on the subject of my diet. From time to time, I get sick and I lose a few pounds when I have the flu or other “go-to-bed-for-a-few-days” illnesses. My family is concerned about my weight. I was at 132 lbs. on the high end. Now my average weight is 106 lbs. I am looking for a good way to put on a few extra pounds just to stop them from worrying. I know that a whole food plant based diet allows you to reach your ideal weight and maintains that number. I’m fine with my weight, but even I was a bit concerned when I grew sick, didn’t eat for a few days, and lost weight from that experience. I wonder if smoothies are a good way to gain a little weight. I know that high fat plant foods such as avocado could help aid weight gain. Most of the videos and posts on this site seem to be geared toward losing weight or even in the weight gain section seem to be cautioning against what not to eat to gain more weight. Any sound advice in this direction?




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    1. Aliena Howard: As explained in the following video: http://nutritionfacts.org/video/eating-more-to-weigh-less, the key to healthy long term weight *loss* is understanding calorie density and eating low calorie-dense foods. When applied in reverse, the concept of calorie density can be used to *gain* weight. In general, to gain weight, you would want to eat more foods which are more calorie dense. The idea is to add several foods into your diet until the amount of calories you take in exceed your energy needs.
      .
      Examples of higher calorie dense foods appropriate for a whole plant food diet include: nuts, dried fruits, tofu, avocados, olives, and breads/crackers/dry goods. Also, eat more cooked foods compared to raw foods. For nuts, note that in one of the NutritionFacts videos, we learned that if you eat pre-ground ground nuts (nut butters, nut sauces, etc), then you increase your calorie absorption over eating unprocessed nuts.
      .
      While the following article is focused on weight loss, you could use the information in reverse for weight gain (or if your goal is just weight maintenance, follow these ideas): http://www.jeffnovick.com/RD/Articles/Entries/2012/5/20_A_Common_Sense_Approach_To_Sound_Nutrition.html and http://www.forksoverknives.com/the-calorie-density-approach-to-nutrition-and-lifelong-weight-management/
      .
      The idea/point is: don’t just add a snack and junk food like ice cream. Incorporate several of these relatively healthy foods and cooked food in general in each meal and snack. For example, while a person wanting to lose weight would ideally use a vegetable-based sauce, you would use a nut-based sauce. While a person wanting to lose or maintain weight would include a whole lot of raw food, say big salads with some lemon juice as the dressing, you might eat smaller amounts of raw food and far more cooked veggies, beans, and grains proportionately.
      .
      While that’s the answer to your actual question, I would step back and ask, “Why do you want to gain weight?” Are you hoping to gain more fat? If so, why? Gaining fat doesn’t seem healthy to me unless you are severely fat deficient. On the other hand, if you want to gain more weight without gaining (too much) fat, then what you are really talking about is gaining muscle. Gaining muscle is a good goal. (From what I’ve read: All else being equal, having more muscle is healthier.) But gaining muscle is more than just changing your diet. Gaining muscle requires certain types of exercise. That’s beyond the scope of this site. I just bring it up so you can think about what your real goal is and what it would take to accomplish it.
      .
      Dr. McDougall has a great article on the topic of gaining weight. It will provide some additional perspective as well as maybe some additional ideas. http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/030700puhowdoIgainweight.htm
      .
      One last resource: While you may not be a teen and/or an athlete, the following page may interest you. Not all of the recommendations on the page are whole foods, but there are some good ideas that may help and it is a site (Vegetarian Resource Group) that I trust.
      http://www.vrg.org/teen/veg_athlete_weight_gain.php
      .
      Hope this helps.




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      1. Thank you, Thea! There are a lot of great ideas in your response. I don’t really want to gain more weight. From my understanding of a whole food plant based diet, it will bring you to your ideal weight and will keep you there. I just wanted to lessen my family’s worry about me. They think I’m too tiny.

        Aliena




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        1. Aliena Howard: Thanks for the feedback and clarification. I agree with you/the literature that a WFPB diet will generally bring someone to their ideal weight. As I was trying to say above, however, you can eat a WFPB diet and gain (or lose) weight depending on the calorie density of the diet. The question for you is, do you really need to gain weight?

          I don’t know you and I’m not an expert, so I can’t answer that question. I offer some thoughts for you to consider: If you live in America or a country that eats a similar diet, then you live in a society were so many people are over weight that healthy/normal weighted people start to look odd to many people. Your family may be wrong that you need to gain weight. One the other hand, you mentioned being sick, which adds a wrinkle to the picture. And you mentioned being concerned yourself. For both of these reasons, I would get an expert’s opinion (a doctor?) on your current status. If your doctor says that your weight is fine, you can share that with your family and discussion over. It would not be to your benefit in that case to put on fat.

          On the other hand, if your doctor agrees with your family, then you have a way to move forward for gaining weight in a healthy way. The trick to this plan is finding a healthy doctor who understands nutrition. Most doctors are just like the general population – over weight and ignorant about nutrition. Ideally, you would find a doctor in your area who is neither of these things. Good luck.




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    1. You asked if it were possible to just use liquid nutrition, drinking “everything as a smoothie?” Yes, it is POSSIBLE to do that. Is it healthy? Absolutely NOT! Do review these studies showing the importance of fiber to remind that chewing is important for digestion and that fiber is essential. Check out this Topic Summary which will link you to many videos and research studies: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/fiber/




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  29. All the studies in the world can’t change the fact that smoothies make me so full that I usually don’t even want to eat anything until dinner when I have them in the morning. I put fruits and veggies and omega-3 rich seeds in it (flax, chia, hemp). I drink my smoothies really fast too, like as fast as possible. I think it’s the nutrition… My body isn’t hungry because it’s so well nourished. I think it’s a matter of nutrition, not tricking our bodies. So I gotta say, the results don’t coincide with my long term personal experience or the experiences I’ve heard and read others talk about. On the other hand, I remember back when I was just a lowly vegetarian and when I used to eat fast food… I would get a fast food meal (if you want to call that a meal) plus extra stuff cause I never found it that filling (and dessert!), and I never felt satisfied. I remember reading that I had like over 2,000 calories in one meal yet I’d be genuinely hungry 30 minutes later. Basically I just ate a bunch of empty calories and my body was starved for nutrition.
    I don’t even worry or care about calories on a healthy whole foods vegan diet. I’m thin and fit but I can eat so much now, it just turns to fuel. You just don’t get fat from eating plants. I’ll see people talking about how to stay full longer, but I like getting hungry cause it means I get to eat more good food! Lol. Oh I remember those pre-vegan days of needing to watch calories and worrying about FEELING full and so on… what a horrible way to live and yet people will try to say that veganism is restrictive lol – it’s actually liberating!




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  30. I had smoothie for breakfast and blended soup for lunch today. I believe smoothie was probably about 200-250 calories (had bunch of berries, banana, kale, hemp, green tea powder, and a bit of protein powder). Soup was about 100 calories (cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, and kale). I felt much fuller with the soup. But part of it may be the feeling of satisfaction. I don’t like sweet taste, so have to force myself to drink smoothies for health (for vitamins from fruits and added proteins as I don’t eat animal products). But I love savoury/salty, so I very much enjoyed my veggie soup. Maybe that happy feeling makes me feel fuller?




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