Liquid Calories: Do Smoothies Lead to Weight Gain?

“Liquid Calories-
Do Smoothies Lead to Weight Gain?” A famous study in 2000 compared the
impact of soda versus jellybeans. They had people add 28 extra spoonfuls
of sugar to their daily diet in the form of
jellybeans or soda pop. Then they measured how many calories
they ate over the rest of the day to see if their bodies would
compensate for all that extra sugar. This is how many calories
the jellybeans group was eating before
the study started, but when eating
handfuls of jellybeans, their bodies registered all
those extra calories so they ended up eating less of
everything else throughout the day. So even adding the
jellybean calories, they were eating pretty much
the same number of calories before and after adding the
jellybeans to their diet. But in the soda group, this is
how much they started eating, and despite all the added calories
from the cans of soda they were drinking every day, they
kept eating about the same amount. So with the soda calories added in,
no wonder they gained weight after a month of
drinking soda. Their body didn’t seem to
recognize the extra calories when they were
in liquid form, so didn’t compensate for them
by reducing their appetite so they’d eat less
the rest of the day. This lack of regulation may
be used to our advantage, the researchers suggest,
if you want to get fat. But what if
you don’t? If we drink a smoothie for
breakfast instead of a solid meal, will your body think
you skipped breakfast and make you so
ravenous at lunch you’d eat more than we normally would
and end up gaining weight? OK, well first, is this solid versus
liquid calorie effect real? Soda and jelly beans don’t just
differ by the physical form— they have different
ingredients. That’s a problem with a lot
of these kinds of studies. They use dissimilar foods. Like this study comparing
liquid to solid breakfasts. They either got fruit juices
and skim milk for breakfast or oatmeal with blueberries
and apples in it. And lo and behold, study subjects
were less hungry after the oatmeal. Duh. That may not be a solid
versus liquid effect— those are completely
different foods. To test for a solid versus
liquid effect you’d have to use the exact same food
in just two different forms. Even this study
was flawed. It purported to show that
eating apples before a meal is so good at filling you up that
you eat fewer calories overall, but that pureed apples
weren’t as effective. But they didn’t just
blend the apples, they baked them for
45 minutes first, which may change how
the body handles it. I had seen all these studies,
but was just not convinced there was a solid
versus liquid effect. And then this study
was published. A solid fruit salad, with raw
apples, apricots and bananas with 3 cups of
water to drink or take 2 cups of that water,
add it to the fruit, make a fruit smoothie and then just
drink that third cup of water. So the identical meal;
one in solid form, one in smoothie form. What happened? People felt significantly less
full after the smoothie. Same amount of foods,
same amount of fiber, but in smoothie form it
just didn’t fill people up as much as eating
fruit au natural. Originally we thought it
was the lack of chewing. The act of chewing itself
may be a satiety signal, an I’ve-eaten-enough signal, and indeed comparing 35 chews per
mouthful to 10 chews per mouthful, if you ask people to eat pasta
until they’re comfortably full, those forced to chew 35 times
per bite ended up eating about a third of a
cup less pasta. So there we have it: we have
the proof of solid vs. liquid effect. We have the mechanism here, and
as so often happens in science just when we have everything
neatly wrapped up in a bow, a paradox arises. In this case the
great soup paradox. Soup, pureed, blended soup,
essentially a hot green smoothie of blended vegetables
is more satiating than the same veggies
in solid form. The same meal in liquid form was
more filling than in solid form. So it can’t be the chewing.
In fact there doesn’t appear to be a solid versus
liquid effect at all, since cold smoothies appear
to be less filling, but hot smoothies appear
to be more filling. So filling that when people have
soup as a first course, they eat so much less
of the main course, that even when you add in
the calories of the soup they eat fewer
calories overall. So how can we explain
this paradox? Maybe pureed fruit is
less filling than solid, but pureed vegetables
are more filling? I guess you could try making
apple soup or something, but who’s going to do that…
Purdue University. To prepare apple soup they mixed
about a cup of apple juice with two cups of
apple sauce, liquefied it in a blender and
heated it up. If you have people eat 3
actual apples instead, they start out
pretty hungry, but within 15 minutes
of apple eating they were hardly
hungry at all. Drinking 3 cups of apple juice
didn’t cut hunger much at all, but what about the soup,
which was pretty much just hot apple juice with
apple sauce mixed in? It cut hunger almost as
much of the whole apples, even more than an hour later,
and even beat out whole apples for decreasing overall
calorie intake for the day. What’s so special
about soup? What does eating soup have in
common with prolonged chewing that differentiates them
from smoothie drinking? Time. It took about twice as long
to chew that many times, and think how long it
takes to eat a bowl of soup compared to drinking
a smoothie? Eating slower reduces
calorie intake. Or maybe we just imagine
the soup to be filling and it’s like a
placebo effect. Feelings like hunger and
fullness are subjective. People tend to report hunger
more in accordance with how many calories they
think something has rather than the actual
caloric content. If you study people with
no short-term memory, like in that movie, Memento,
where they don’t remember what happened more
than a minute ago, they can overdose on food, because
they forgot they just ate, which shows what poor judges
we are of our own hunger. And it’s not just
subjective effects. In this famous study,
Mind Over Milkshakes, if you offer people
2 milkshakes, one described as indulgent—
decadence you deserve, the other sensible—
guilt-free satisfaction, people have different
hormonal responses to them even though they
were being fooled and given the exact
same milkshake. And finally, maybe it was just
that the soup was hot and warmer foods may
be more satiating. So how do we figure out if
the solution to the soup mystery was time, thought,
or temperature? If only this study had
a third group. They had a solid eating group,
and a liquid drinking group. If only they had a liquid
eating group too. And they did. They also offered the fruit
smoothie in a bowl cold to be eaten with a spoon—
very unsoup-like, so if it was thought
or temperature the fullness rating
would be down by the liquid drinking,
the smoothie, but if it was just the
slowed eating rate that made soup as
filling as solid food, then the number would be up closer
to the solid eating group. And it was
exactly as high, meaning the only real reason
smoothies aren’t as filling is because we
gulp them down, but if we sip them slowly
over time they can be just as filling as if we ate
the fruits and veggies solid. Wow, this study thought
of everything! You don’t know
the half of it. They also wanted to see if it
would work with high fat smoothies. So what, almond
butter or walnuts? No, the LF drink was a
liquefied fat smoothie of steamed pork belly. I guess sometimes smoothies
can suppress your appetite.

100 thoughts on “Liquid Calories: Do Smoothies Lead to Weight Gain?

  • That's exactly what I needed to know, because yesterday I saw a video with people saying that we shouldn't drink smothies because the body can't "recognise" them. Thank you so much – great informations!!

  • I nearly always have smoothies for lunch. I just drink them while I'm working on other things, and it usually takes me about an hour to drink my smoothies. I'm always as full as if I'd sat down to eat a meal. I was surprised that it was in question, whether or not smoothies can make you feel as full; apparently I'd just been drinking them the right way unintentionally.

  • Half an apple before bedtime is supposed to keep your metabolism going all night, burning more calories than that half apple has.

  • Nice that we have science to prove this, but our grandparents & great grandparents knew this of course. I'm willing to bet that the obese are much faster eaters, and this may be one of many reasons why.

  • Another tedious ritual for health nuts; Sip your smoothie over 15 minutes, chew every bite at least 35 times, drink 8 to 10 glasses of water a day, eat enough fiber, take a B12, exercise, meditate, think good thoughts, volunteer at the senior center, etc. Somehow my working life is in the way of this check list for "optimal health." Why don't people give the credit to smoothies for what they are… liquid dessert.

  • Maybe thats why prisoners are always fed soup – its cheap sure, but it also makes them feel full and complain less? until they waste away to skin n bones.

  • For all-fruit smoothies, like people should be consuming at least once a day, the remedy for this is not to drink them slower (since they oxidize so quickly) but rather to prepare much smaller amounts and consume more than one over an extended period of time.

    Great video, good to know – although it seems a bit intuitive yeah? We've always been told that it can take up to 10-15 minutes for the stomach to signal the brain that it's satiated. If you're pounding a smoothie down in 10 minutes or less, the brain doesn't have time to catch up.

  • that was interesting, I am a truck driver and I take my smoothie on the road with me and sip it most of morning. I never finish it till I get home. that's all I have all day and I never feel hungry.

  • If it wasn't for huge banana dates smoothies and eating starches till i'm disgusted of food, I don't think I could of stayed high carb whole food vegan, In the beginning without smoothies I was intuitively eating around 1500 calories a day and lost 10 pounds than i started tracking my calories and forcing in 3000-4000 calories a day and my energy as been much greater, it been 2 years and I haven't gained any weight. I do work in construction though installing 90 pound sheets of fire rated drywall all day, anyways so it works both ways smoothies can help you get more calories when you need it and dates help when you don't want to eat 15 pounds of food everyday.

  • That 35 chews test didn't take into account that it takes longer to chew 35 times and there IS a relationship between how quickly you eat and after how much food you swallow.

    Oops! typed this too soon, I had paused it and typed my comment too soon.

  • that was a really good one. I've actually been drinking smoothies slow for years. I used to put some organic cocoa nut sugar in them so would drink them slow. Ive since realized that sugar is not good so don't add sugar bur still drink them slow.

  • The information represented is amazing. And I really do appreciate the service you do for us viewers here on YouTube especially given the fact that it's free. Thank you and keep up the great videos!

  • this topic is amazingly interesting, and I love the way you present all those studies 😀 another good thing about watching your videos is that I learn english :3 so I'm studying biological science and English at the same time 😀

  • But I don't understand
    Is this about calorie restriction ?
    Cause if I don't eat until I hate myself, the next day I have less energy to go about my busy day ….

  • I got fat as fuck eating plant based for a year (17 kg gained in a year) and chewing all the real, plant based food, listening to your bullshit advice about vegan diets that won't make you fat. You are wrong as hell, sincerely fuck you from the bottom of my fat-filled heart.

  • well, i can eat 1800 calories in 1 meal and eat about 3-5k calories in a day and never gain weight. i dont exercise often either. i eat lowfat vegan diet. confused on this calorie in vs calorie out deal. people say it like its exact science, but i cant ever gain weight id of some disease caused by eating too much fat/protein before getting fat.

  • It is not just about the "time effect" but the "warmth effect". Heat has energy, eating warm foods, the same amount and type of food in their warm form, increases the caloric density of the food. So it is about warm foods, vs. cold foods.

  • hey if any of you guys know how I can gain weight fast in a way that actually works because I can't ever find anything that works.

  • This makes complete sense! I started eating acai bowls and noticed I felt a lot fuller than simply drinking the identical form with a straw. So anyone that doesn't want to give up this delicious fiber and antioxidant filled treat, make smoothie bowls instead!

  • This is why I always drink a large protein shake after my meal when I'm bulking! And now you have the science to back up my empirical findings. Love it

  • Not done with the video. but I Have stomach ulcers that BLOCK SOLID VEGETABLES FROM LEAVING MY STOMACH. so.. they stay in there until they putrefy and I puke it all up, even water, about every three days.
    so…. I put 2 carrot, one small sweet potato a leaf of kale and a cup of water in the blender. ..
    Vi-ola!!! veggies! then ice,a scoop of vegetables proteins (whatever) I have at hand. and some fruit for flavor. blend it all up. (oh and honey. ..yes it's very sweet).. THIS IS MY FOOD. IN PLACE OF A MEAL. not in addition. so gaining weight is not a problem since it is my source of food and I get the LIVING GREATNESS OF THE PLANT FOODS.
    I was starving. I lost 50 pounds from the ulcers and stress (no need to go into the source of the stress)
    But, long as this story is.
    Smoothies save my life an ongoing basis.
    I love them they love me!

  • If your trying to lose weight The best way to make your smoothie or juice is to only use 1 fruit such as apple, orange, or strawberry with a choice of 1 veggie such as kale and spinach or cucumber do this For lunch and dinner. Breakfast time just drink coffee with no sugar or creamer only 1 stevia or plenty of water with lemon, honey,ginger, and ceyanne pepper u can also use a tea green, oolong, dandelions tea with those same ingredients. 1 or 2 liter until lunch. That will also help detox ur body.

  • The trick to a filling smoothie is using chia seeds and a few tablespoons of oats , don't forget the goji berries . I know this works for me , that's just a base you can add anything to that combo I even add half teaspoon of matcha with bananas blueberries , blackberries …. that fills me up for the whole morning .

  • What if one would swallow some capsules of flea seed husks after gulping down his green smoothie? After that a couple jumping jacks maybe.
    Who's in for a little experiment? I'd surely be, srsly 🙂

  • Do I get to keep all the good in a smoothie, compared to the whole fruit and vegetables ?
    Or are some of the nutrients destroyed in the blending process ?

  • I'd say the addition of corn syrup to soda's is a reason it doesn't suppress the appetite. Corn syrup is added to soda to mask the sweetness to allow consumers to drink more and not feel sick.

  • What about the ‘cooked’ factor? Less enzymes make it stay in your stomach longer because less enzymes? So you fill fuller?

  • i actually usually sip my smoothies while i'm preparing oatmeal and making my lunch, so i don't actually gulp it down. takes me about 30 minutes to drink lol

  • You are my hero!!!!!! I love your sarcasm!!!!! A laugh and some knowledge in an 8 minute video!!!! Amazing!!! Thanks for all you do!!!

  • My morning smoothie : 2 🍌 1 cup of spinach and 1 cup of blue berries blackberries raspberries and 1 cup of water. Keeps me full for hours. Lunch/ dinner is a large Eat to Life Salad.

  • Quit reading this stuff like you are making it up off the top of your head. Just read the damn study. Geeeesh.

  • This is true: in the evening after dinner, I have fruit smoothie which I eat with a spoon, it is is my version of ice cream. This is my treat; I eat a high carb diet. I have lost 14 pounds in 3 months, and I don't feel hungry on this diet, I can sustain it for as long as I want. The reciper for the fruit ice ceram was in Dr Gergors book!

  • I started using frozen fruit to avoid aggravating my yeast allergy. It had the added benefit of making the whole thing like a bowl of sherbert. I eat it with a spoon and it is much more slowly absorbed and doesn't spike my blood sugar like the smoothie did.

  • Rate of smoothie ingestion affects satiety. But…. Does it lead to weight gain or not??? He never answers the fucking question!!! So annoying…

  • I love hot soup. It does take more time to eat but is 1000% more comforting. Maybe we should make eating more ritualistic.

  • The reason for that may be because smoothies are usually made with water. From my experience that hinders the digestion and prevents a sufficient calorie intake.

  • most so called "Healthy" smoothies contain over 100g of sugar next to no fiber and close to 1000 kcal . So the answer is depends on how the smoothie is made . My advice Learn about nutrition and stay way the hell away from places like Juice it Up .

  • Smoothies are not liquid food. Theoretically yes, but they contain fiber unlike juice or soda, so the effect of eating more will not occur.

  • This also correlated with popular dessert fruit soups in Germany, and the tendency in Italy and France to eat leasurely long lunches

  • The best way to eat your fruits and veggies is the way you WILL eat them .I eat a ton of greens and fruit and the only way they are going down is in a smoothie . So far it has worked out fantastic .

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