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The Diet FItness Diva Newsletter Archives

Entries in fiber (2)

Thursday
Apr072011

I have a blender and have been making smoothies with fruits, yogurt, water and a little ice. My friend told me that juicing is superior to blending but when I went shopping for a juicer they were very pricey! I like my blender! Is juicing better than blending?

Blending fruits and vegetables and juicing them are beneficial in different ways. Juicing fruits and vegetables leaves the bulk and pulp behind so you have mostly juice. The nutrients, vitamins and minerals from many items can then be consumed in a concentrated form.  The difference with blending is that it retains the fiber of the fruits and vegetables.  That fills us up and prevents the absorption of a lot of calories and fruit sugar in one or two big gulps. Here are the differences between juicing and blending:

Pros of Juicing:

  • No pulp. Some people just don’t like the mix or thickness of the pulp (fiber).
  • Accelerated nutrition uptake. The nutrients in freshly squeezed/pressed juice enter your bloodstream almost immediately after consumption since there is no fiber to slow the digestive process down.
  • Easy digestion. Because of the lack of fiber the digestive organs do very little work. This is ideal for people with delicate digestive tracts or irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Energy! Quick nutrition absorption means your body is instantly replenished and revitalized.
  • No bloating. After drinking a glass of juice you won’t ruin your appetite or feel full.
  • Variety. You can juice just about anything!

 Pros of Blending (smoothies and shakes)

  • It’s harder to overdose on fruit sugar. Juicing lots of berries, apples and oranges  multiple times a day delivers a lot of fructose (sugar) to the body and it can seriously increase your blood sugar and insulin levels. Blending fruits and sweet vegetables retains the naturally occurring fiber in these plants. That helps regulate the speed at which the natural sugars enter your bloodstream.
  • FIBER! As indicated above, blending fruits and vegetables retains the fiber which cleans the walls of your digestive system. Fiber keeps us regular.
  • It’s a more complete meal. Since the smoothie is packed full of fiber and nutrients you can have a glass or two as a meal and be completely satisfied for 2-3 hours with just a few hundred calories. Try adding a 1/4 of an avocado, a handful of walnuts or a teaspoon of coconut oil for some healthy added fat to your smoothie.
  • Easy to blend in protein and fats. Unlike juicing, with a blended smoothie you can add all kinds of great stuff: nuts, seeds, protein powder, and still have a great drink.

So which is better? That really depends on you and what you are looking for from your beverage. For a more complete type of standalone drink you probably will want a shake or smoothie from your blender. If you are serving a beverage with a meal, you may want to use a juicer.

Why limit yourself? Do both!

Tuesday
Mar012011

Is there such a thing as a low carb bread?

This question does beg a few other questions like – why do you want a lower carb bread? Fewer calories? Reduce your insulin response?

Low carb bread is kind of an oxymoron since bread by definition IS a carbohydrate. You are really looking for a LOWER carb bread! The real question becomes:  are there breads that have more complex carbohydrates and are less likely to spike our insulin?  The answer is yes.  Breads made with flax seed, soy flour, coconut flour and other dense, complex carbohydrates are slower to digest and keep us feeling full longer.  Fiber content helps to slow down the digestion process and reduces the impact on our insulin. You may want a high fiber and not really a low carb bread.

Many recipes for low carb breads and cakes use nut flours instead of grain flours since nut flours have more protein in them. They also have more fat which is usually in the form of an omega 3 fat.  While the bread is lower in overall carbohydrate due to using nut flours, it is not necessarily lower in calories. Make sure to read the labels carefully.  These breads can also be very filling so you don’t need to eat as large of a serving; my family eats a bread like this.  When I make French toast with it, one piece or even just half a piece is enough of a serving to fill us up vs two or more pieces of French Toast made with a more conventional bread.

It’s important to consider all the nutrients in your meal or sandwich, so make sure you balance out your low carb bread with the other important nutrients; protein & fat.