Does Blending Make Foods Healthier?

Dear Davey,

I’ve seen so many infomercials for blenders that claim to “unlock” nutrients that our bodies aren’t otherwise able to absorb. Is there any truth to this claim and should I be blending more fruits and vegetables?

Thank you,
Sean

more-men-are-learning-about-the-power-of-a-freshly-made-green-smoothieDear Sean,

Getting a nutrition education from infomercials isn’t a good idea. As you can imagine, infomercials are designed to sell products and not to educate consumers. Often citing unpublished or unscientific studies, these infomercials create unsubstantiated marketing hype that’s aimed at getting you to open your wallet.

When it comes to blenders, nutritionists note that the “unlocking” claims are unsubstantiated. Blending foods doesn’t release nutrients in a way that your body couldn’t otherwise accomplish. In fact, our bodies are better than blenders. During digestion, food is broken down far more effectively than any blender could achieve. Moreover, these broad claims would need to be tested ingredient by ingredient, and the results would likely change from person to person based on their activity levels, age and diet.

The notable exception is individuals who suffer from throat or digestion conditions that prevent ingestion of solid foods; for these individuals, blenders can represent a huge advantage.

Of course, none of this is to say that you shouldn’t buy a blender. If the convenience and taste of blended foods inspires you to eat more fruits and vegetables, then a blender can certainly be a smart and worthwhile purchase. Just remember that blended calories add up fast. To cut calories, use water or unsweetened almond milk as your smoothie base and avoid adding sweeteners like agave nectar or honey. Go heavy on the veggies and stay away from smoothies made with ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Love,Davey

P.S. For more science-based tips on improving your diet, download Davey Wavey’s Insanely Easy Guide to Eating Smarter.

 

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Comments

  1. What with flaxseed? Cause I´ve heard that you have to grind them up, for getting any use of the nutrients in it. The same with all small kinds of seed.

  2. Remy, your stomach contains hydrochloric acid. It will break down nutrients at a chemical level which is far superior to any mechanical grinding that you could possibly do.

    • Actually, there is some truth to what Remy has heard. Many types of seeds contain substances in their hulls that help prevent them from being fully digested. It’s an evolutionary advantage that some plants have developed to aid them in seed dispersion. If eaten whole, many seeds will *ahem* pass through you completely undigested. Thus, cracking them allows your body to access the inner parts that are nutritious to us. I hate to be gross about it, but have you ever noticed what happens when you eat whole corn kernels? They pass through whole.

      Even birds must do the same. For those species for whom whole seeds comprise a large part of the diet, grit is often ingested to help them break down the seed for easier digestion.

      So yes, if you want maximum nutrition from a seed germ, you must at least crack the hull.

  3. Blending increases the surface area of food far better than your teeth. This enhances digestion

  4. this is good post to physical health and give tips to youth.