Blending vs. Eating Whole Food: Is There A Difference?
There has been much debate in the nutritional community about the benefits and disadvantages of blending foods versus eating them whole. The incredible rise in smoothie companies and franchises everywhere you go has made blending a mainstream conversation.
Many people make a choice to eat blended food – usually for weight loss or convenience. Sometimes though people are forced into a more blended or liquid diet. Medical problems like dysphagia or recovering from jaw or bariatric surgeries are good examples.
But for at home use, should you be blending your foods or eating them whole?
Blending or Chewing – Does It Matter?
Well, the short answer is that there isn’t a huge difference, and it’s good to eat foods whichever way you prefer at any given time. Our bodies are literally fine-tuned for this process, so we can handle pretty much any food we ingest as long as our bodies are used to it. But, it is important to make good choices either way.
For example, I know when I first wake up early in the morning, I may not be ready for a huge meal. A simple, blended concoction of nutritional foods is much easier for me to digest early in the morning. But by dinnertime the same day, I might want a nice big meal to satisfy my appetite. It depends on your personal preferences.
But, it should be noted that there have been many points recently that point to the advantages of eating foods blended rather than whole. Below is an outline of why blending foods can be advantageous for your health and your body, and why blending can be convenient for you, depending on your lifestyle.
You can add a lot of nutritional value to your foods by eating them blended, simply because it’s so easy to add extra nutrients to blended mixtures than it is to solid foods. In smoothies, it’s always possible to add a little extra greens, or even flaxseeds or chia seeds to aid in digestion. You can also easily add protein to your diet this way if that’s a concern for you with natural powdered protein additives.
Furthermore, blending whole foods definitely does not take away any of the nutritional value of the food itself. Think about it – everything that was originally in the food is still there (unless you peel or modify it in some way). It’s just now in a different form! Keep all the goodness in your foods, and make them potentially more tasty, by blending them together.
Beware of Sugar!
Along these lines, it’s also important to remember that it’s much easier to increase your sugar intake if you’re constantly drinking smoothies, especially those made by franchise smoothie companies. They tend to add extra sugars in the form of syrups or toppings like whipped cream that seems harmless, but can really add up over time and even cancel out the nutritional value of all the good fruit and vegetable ingredients. The extra sugar can spike your blood sugar levels, cause digestive issues, and all other sorts of problems.
Even blended smoothies you find in grocery stores or “health food” stores can have a huge amount of unnecessary sugar. The reason for this is that sugar is addictive, and by adding it to their products, they’re more likely to sell more smoothies.
Some people get concerned about the calorie deficiency that comes with consuming almost solely liquid foods. This is a valid concern, especially if you’re replacing actual meals with liquids.
However, in terms of smoothies and plain blended foods, there actually isn’t any calorie difference. This is along the same lines of the integrity of the nutritional value of the ingredients. Nothing is lost when you blend whole foods as they are, including their calorie value.
Especially in terms of fruits and vegetables, when they are blended, the fiber in the ingredient remains, so technically, smoothies aren’t pure liquids because they still have that thick, fibrous, filling material in them. Juicing fruits and vegetables is a different story – with that process, you do actually lose some nutritional value and calorie value, so stick to blending.
In terms of some major advantages of blending foods, this process actually makes them easier for your body to digest. Breaking down foods into a liquid-like form breaks down typically hard to digest cell walls. It also allows the chemicals inside the the cells and cell walls to mix and create chemical reactions that have been shown to have cancer-fighting effects, and all sorts of other health benefits that you don’t get just by chewing the food, unless you chew the food consistently to the point where it’s actually a liquid in your mouth. Have you ever done that before? It’s more difficult and cumbersome than you think, so it’s much easier to just blend your food and make it as easily digestible and healthy as possible.
Also, in terms of hunger, there have actually been multiple studies confirming that people who drink blended meals feel full for about an hour longer than people who ate the same meal whole. The reason for this is incredibly scientific and gets into the inner workings of our intestines and how they interact with the force of gravity. All you need to know is that liquid blended foods are slightly easier to digest, and keep your hunger at bay for longer, making this the superior option if you’re looking for that kind of lifestyle!
So, is there a huge difference in blending vs eating whole food? Not really. Blending has some advantages in that you can sneak in nutrients from foods you might not normally eat by adding them to the blender. And, these nutrients are easier to digest in blended form.
Blending though will make you feel fuller quicker because you tend to consume a drink faster than a meal that requires chewing and a fork and knife. This could lead to less food being consumed throughout the day especially since some studies show you will also feel fuller longer.
So, for those of you who are on a blended, liquid, or pureed food diet, the good news is your nutrition and calorie consumption are going to be fine. As long as you make good food choices in the beginning that is!
What is your opinion? Have you eaten blended foods for a long time? Did you notice any differences: good or bad? Also, I’d appreciate a share on social media if you found this helpful at all!
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