Are Green Smoothies the Real Deal?

Are Green Smoothies the Real Deal?

There has been a huge focus on the health benefits of green smoothies, but the actual benefits and liabilities are more complex. Consuming green vegetables is excellent for boosting certain vitamins such as A, C, K, and E (and minerals such as beta-carotene, folate, and potassium). But, you risk weakening your teeth by drinking your food daily rather than chewing it.


Reasons for Drinking Green Smoothies


Swallowing difficulties (termed dysphasia) make eating problematic for people who have had esophageal cancer or strictures, and the elderly—as well as due to surgery or radiation therapy. This can easily lead to nutritional deficiencies.  Using a straw to drink liquefied foods is recommended in these cases by the website of Vitamin C is necessary for healthy gums, repair and maintenance of cartilage, and in the formation of a protein to make blood vessels.  Green vegetables (particularly spinach and broccoli) are high in Vitamin C.


Many children are allergic to citrus fruits such as oranges. For these children, a green smoothie can be a healthy breakfast alternative to orange juice. According to the National Institutes of Health, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin C for children aged 4-8 years old is 25 mg; from 9-13 years old, the RDA is 45 mg.  One-half cup of raw broccoli (44 gm) provides 39.2 mg of Vitamin C (according to the website of SelfNutritionData).


'Fad' Diets and Green Smoothies


Motivational speakers have advocated green smoothies as a weight loss tool.  While drinking green smoothies can increase consumption of vitamins and minerals, no medical evidence has shown drinking such a concoction promotes weight loss. The feeling of fullness (satiety) is decreased by drinking foods versus consuming them in solid form (per an article in 2012 in the Journal of Nutrition). Therefore, drinking green smoothies may actually promote weight gain instead of weight loss. 


Increasing exercise in combination with decreased calorie intake is the most successful method to lose weight. This is because exercise burns calories, and increases metabolic rate. For individuals who are obese, close monitoring by a clinical nutritionist is the most recommended method for embarking on a healthy weight loss program.  Since the loss of approximately 3,500 calories is necessary to lose one pound of weight, eating a lower calorie diet in tandem with burning calories is more effective than either 'calorie-cutting' or exercise alone.


The Value of a Nutritionist in Designing a Weight Loss Plan


Individuals embarking on weight loss diets need to balance their intake of nutrients. Daily meal plans need to incorporate enough water-soluble vitamins and minerals so that deficiencies do not result.  People with diabetes, high cholesterol levels, kidney disease, and food allergies who need to lose weight may require the input of a clinical nutritionist for appropriate meal-planning.


Many smokers experience weight gain on cessation of cigarette smoking.  This can result in their relapse to smoking due to emotional distress at gaining weight.  For this reason, a consultation with a clinical nutritionist can promote “quitting” cigarettes in overweight people enrolled in smoking cessation programs.


Pregnant women who are obese are at high risk for developing gestational diabetes or eclampsia—both of which are dangerous complications of pregnancy. Therefore, the involvement of a clinical nutritionist may be essential to preserve the health of the pregnant woman and avoid miscarriage.

CATEGORIES: Diet, Healthy Food