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On Nutrition: The form of food we eat may have more impact than we think

0 8 months ago

Bill W. asks, “Is drinking many of our fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in a smoothie as healthy and nutritious as eating them?”

Health Benefits of Green Smoothies | Green Smoothie Recipes

Surprisingly, even though the whole  we pop into the blender may have the same nutrients as the liquid smoothie, how those nutrients are absorbed can be affected by their form and structure.

A 2019 paper published in the journal Food & Function describes how researchers tested the digestibility of three different forms of foods (solid, semisolid and liquid) that were identical in nutrient content. Then they measured how the varied forms of food affected appetite and specific blood tests in human subjects.

Interestingly, scientists found that the liquid food caused a higher rise in triglycerides (a form of fat in the blood) than the . The liquid food also caused less fullness and satisfaction (satiety) than the solid food.

Other studies (cited in this same article) have found similar results. Ground nuts () have been shown to cause a higher rise in blood fat (triglycerides) than whole nuts, for example.

Why is this important?

When excess triglycerides enter the circulation after a meal, it can trigger inflammation. In fact, these rises in blood fat after meals have been found to increase our risk for  as well as Type 2 diabetes, say experts.

These types of studies are intriguing, but they are also inconsistent because they are so difficult to study. Liquid meals can also be convenient and life-saving, especially in people who rely on liquid nourishment for medical reasons.

Still, it’s fascinating to learn that the form of the food we eat may have more impact than we think. Thanks for the question.

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