10 Green Smoothie Myths Debunked - dummies

10 Green Smoothie Myths Debunked

By Jennifer Thompson

If you have any doubts about how green smoothies can benefit your health, here are the ten most popular myths about green smoothies to help you separate fact from fiction. After you read through these pages, you’ll be better prepared to answer questions from your family, friends, and coworkers, too.

Green smoothies are too high in calories

Absolutely untrue! With so many combinations of ingredients, you can alter any green smoothie recipe to match your caloric needs.

Green smoothies are full of fiber, and research has shown that a high-fiber diet is good for weight loss because the fiber makes you feel fuller longer and helps control cravings by balancing blood sugar levels. But you can’t expect to eat a high-calorie smoothie packed with high-fat ingredients and lose weight. By choosing the right ingredients for your health goals, you’ll fast-track your results.

Green smoothies are too high in iron

Green leafy vegetables are good plant-based sources of iron that don’t raise your cholesterol levels or increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. But people often worry that greens are too high in iron.

Unless you have a medical or genetic condition that causes your body to retain iron, overdosing on iron from green smoothies is extremely unlikely. Actually, the iron from plant-based sources isn’t readily bioavailable (meaning your body can’t access it), and that’s exactly why most vegans and vegetarians need to supplement their diets with additional iron.

Green smoothies have too much oxalic acid

Some people suggest that the oxalic acid in leafy green veggies can increase your risk of kidney stones. In fact, studies show that the real risk factors for kidney stones are not drinking enough water, suffering from magnesium deficiency, and not having enough calcium in your diet.

True, certain leafy greens, such as spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, kale, and collard greens, are high in oxalic acid. If you suffer from kidney disease or have only one kidney, minimize your intake of these greens. Leafy greens that are low in oxalic acid include lettuce greens, bok choy, celery, and all fresh herbs except parsley.

A healthy individual should have no problem with the oxalic acid in certain greens.

Green leafy vegetables are toxic

Leafy green vegetables contain very small amounts of phytotoxins as a natural defense mechanism to protect the plant from predators. Without them, a plant would taste so appealing that animals would eat all its leaves, and the plant would die.

However, you’d have to eat large entire bunches of kale or spinach every single day for months at a time to feel some type of toxic effect. In most green smoothie recipes, you’re eating a maximum of 2 cups of leafy greens, and that’s certainly nowhere near an amount to be considered toxic. Remember that moderation and variety are the keys to success with any healthy diet.

You can overdose on vitamins A and K in smoothies

Your body makes vitamin A as needed from the beta carotene found in orange fruits and dark leafy green vegetables. If your body has enough vitamin A, it won’t make any more, so you run no risk of overdosing on vitamin A from plant-based foods.

If you eat too much beta carotene (which most commonly happens from juicing high beta carotene foods such as carrots), your skin will simply develop an orange or yellow hue from the excess beta carotene stored in the fat cells of your skin. This effect is harmless (though maybe not so physically attractive).

Overdosing on beta carotene in a green smoothie is virtually impossible because in a smoothie, you still have all the fiber intact. The fiber in a smoothie keeps all vitamin concentrations at lower levels than in a juice with no fiber.

Chewing your food is better for digestion

In an ideal world, you should drink your foods and chew your juices. When you eat, chew so many times that your food becomes liquid, and then swallow. When you drink, keep the liquid in your mouth, swishing back and forth slowly to release the enzymes in your saliva before swallowing. Green smoothies are the perfect solution, because the blender can do the chewing for you, especially for fibrous leafy greens.

Green smoothies require an expensive blender

As long as you treat your blender right, you can make a green smoothie in any household blender. The trick to using a normal blender is this: Add fruits and water first. Blend. Then add your leafy greens and blend again. That’s it! As long as you have a good liquid base before you add your greens, your inexpensive blender will work.

The blender’s heat destroys the enzymes in a green smoothie

Enzymes are destroyed when a food is heated to a temperature of 118 degrees Fahrenheit or above. If your blender is heating the smoothie enough to kill the enzymes, your smoothie should feel too hot to drink and almost too hot to touch after blending.

Practice good blending skills by blending water and fruits first before blending greens. Always start blending at a low speed and gradually increase to high speed. Minimize your blending time to 2 minutes for smoothies. These steps help reduce the temperature of your blender motor and keep the enzymes in your green smoothie intact!

A store-bought green smoothie is just as good as a homemade one

The main ingredients in a store-bought smoothie are usually apple juice and pineapple juice. The manufacturers bought cheap, artificially flavored apple and pineapple juices to use as the base of your so-called health drink. They didn’t use whole apples and pineapples like you would at home. Artificial juices can contain added sugar, and because the sugar is already in the juice, the label can still say no added sugar.

Some people shouldn’t drink green smoothies

The only reason you shouldn’t drink green smoothies is if you shouldn’t be eating food. Yes, really! There are endless combinations of fruits and greens to match everyone’s individual needs. If you have health conditions with diet restrictions, you can adjust your ingredients accordingly. If you suffer from food allergies, use alternative ingredients wherever necessary.