Thicker Smoothie, the Fuller You’ll Feel

by | Jul 21, 2016 | 0 comments |

This article hits home for me.  Earlier this summer, I endeavored to bring some additional healthy eating habits into our household.  As my wife was getting later into her pregnancy, we were coming up with ways to continue to eat healthy, while still satisfying her cravings, albeit some of them were tough.

We purchased a Vitamix, which I highly recommend, and decided to start having smoothies for breakfast every morning.  Living relatively close to a Costco, we have access to bulk frozen and fresh produce within a short drive. Fast forward a couple months, after experimenting with various flavors and ingredients, we settled upon our new routine.  However, I’ve noticed, depending on the setting on the Vitamix, I had different results, and sometimes would be hungrier much sooner than earlier.  We found, independently, the thicker the smoothie, the fuller you’ll feel.

The Vitamix has both a smoothie and juice setting, in addition to various others.  If we blended the smoothie on the juice setting, put in to much liquid, or ran the manual setting for to long, the smoothie became almost a juice, rather than a nice, thick smoothie.  When we would drink the “juice” smoothies, we noticed we would be craving lunch at least an hour before our normal lunch time.  I’m guessing, the thicker smoothie, to your body, is treated more like food, rather than juice.  Also, the thicker smoothie breaks down much slower in your digestive systems than a juice typically would.

Checkout the article below for more information:

The thicker the shake, the thinner your waistline. That at least seems like a good bet given new data showing that a drink thickened with fiber makes you feel fuller. In fact, participants in the study, which appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reported feeling fuller after drinking a thick shake with only 100 calories than after drinking a thin shake with five times as many calories.

Other research has correlated feeling fuller with eating less; and eating less, as we all know, helps keep our figures trim. But as nutritionist Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet, points out, the current study included only 15 individuals. “We can’t really draw major conclusions when we’re looking at such a sample size,” she says. (The participants were young men, all healthy and lean.)

The researchers, from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, asked participants to drink one of four dairy-based shakes which differed in viscosity (some were thick, some thin, due to varying amounts of fiber) and calorie content (100 calories or 500 calories). All drinks were 50% carb, 20% protein, and 30% fat.

Participants fasted for three hours prior to the experiment, then drank through a straw, without knowing which drink they were consuming. Immediately after, they had their stomachs scanned every 10 minutes for the next 90 minutes in an MRI scanner. They also rated their appetite levels every 10 minutes

The thin, 100-calorie shake had the lowest “gastric emptying” time, meaning it left the stomach faster than any of the other shakes (in about 30 minutes). Next was the thick, 100-calorie shake (about 40 minutes), followed by the thin, 500-calorie shake (about 70 minutes). The thick, 500-calorie shake was the slowest. It took about 82 minutes to leave the stomach.

Thickness and thinness had very little effect on gastric emptying time, the researchers determined. But viscosity did account for feelings of fullness, what the researchers call “phantom fullness.” So even though the thick, 100-calorie shake left the stomach quickly, it still left participants feeling fuller than the thin, 500-calorie shake. That means there may only be a weak link between gastric emptying time and feelings of satiety.

The findings really don’t change advice on what we should and should not be consuming, says Gans. “A smoothie is great if you put the right ingredients in [it],” she says. In addition to thickening your drink with fiber (bananas and avocado are good options), try adding Greek yogurt or peanut butter. They have the added advantage of providing lots of protein, which also contributes to feeling full.


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