Juices, Smoothies and Your Hunger Pangs

2 glasses with strawberry, pineapple and orange smoothieMany people turn to juices and smoothies as handy and healthy meal replacements when they decide to lose weight or as a way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Healthy juicing seems to fit in well with government health advice to eat "5 a day"  referring to portions of fruits and veggies.

Sometimes this noble ambition is undone by pangs of hunger.

After washing and preparing a yummy green smoothie and enjoying it too I have experienced the "Uh O!" factor that derails so many good intentions – juices are delicious but they usually fail to satisfy.

Every dieter knows this. They can plan and eat meals filled with green goodness and feel starving hungry an hour afterwards. Sometimes this may be due to getting a sugar rush from the meal or the juice and the predictable dip in energy afterwards.

But some foods are more satisfying than others even though they have the same number of calories.

The issue of satiety, that is how satisfying a food or drink is can often be overlooked when designing a diet because so much attention is given to caloric intake and Glycaemic Index, G.I.

And the problem for dieters is that satiety is increased by including foods containing fats and oils which are usually avoided vigorously in a weight loss diet.

Researchers may have found a way round this conundrum.

A study published in flavour and mentioned in medpage TODAY shows that there is a way to feel full and satisfied without ramping up the calories.

The study is called "Thick drinks key to Feeling Full" and was done by testing a fruit yogurt drink  which was produced with varying amounts of a thickener.

The thicker or more viscous drink was rated to be more satisfying and this association held whether or not the drink was regarded as creamy or not.

The finding is important because drinks regarded as thick may be consumed with more caution due to their expected caloric content, whereas "thin drinks" ie most juices and sodas, may be consumed with little awareness of the calorie load because the expectation that such drinks have few nutrients and little caloric value.

How Does this Research Help Us?

Juices are typically "thin drinks" – they are made by squeezing or mashing fruit or vegetables where the pulp and fibre is removed. That means that we may well feel hungry soon after drinking a juice.

It is every day experience that in a contest between hunger and will power hunger will win in the long run! This is not because we are "weak willed" but we are equipped by evolution to survive and that means tom consume!

Good luck in opposing such a powerful natural drive!

Hunger pangs may be quelled by allowing or mixing some of the extracted pulp to be mixed into the juice, giving a thicker juice.

Some trial and error is needed to find the amount that works – and the fruit and vegetable combinations that produce better satiety too. Using less fruit and more vegetables may help too.

Another way is to drink smoothies rather juices because the fibre is present and gives the body a message of bulk. Drinking a juice of several carrots is quick and easy but eating 6 carrots may take you a long time in which the body gets a lot of messages of nutrition which may turn off the hunger hormone!

In addition using small amounts of healthy oils such as olive oil or flax oil in the smoothie helps provide both the "mouth feel" and oiliness that the body needs to provide satiety.

All in all, the research gives us healthy and easy ways to choose amongst the hundreds of recipes we have for healthy smoothies and juices.

Juice alone, especially fruit juice may not be the best option for a weight loss diet, we need extra nutrients to handle hunger and we can do that without taking in dangerous amounts of calories.

We cam get a hunger destroying "thick" drink by adding pulp or fibre to our juices or by drinking smoothies which can have extra nutrients such as oils or protein in the form of for example Rice or Whey protein.

Photo karina

AuthorAlex

I was a dreamy child who loved science and asking questions. That lead to a Physics degree at London University and then to Teaching Physics. After years working too hard my own health was affected and I started to ask questions and look for answers about how I could improve my health. Yoga was one of the best answers I got and food supplements and juicing each made fabulous contributions to my life... :-)

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