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Fibre V/S Juice

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There is no doubt that fibre is required, necessary and essential in our diets. We make all the efforts to bring in the fruits, salad, soups and juices to match up our requirements. But are we consuming fibre in the right manner or just wasting it by cooking or grinding it?

This is a question I get a lot-which is not surprising considering the ease of consuming more volume of fibre by juicing it than eating it (virtually like a grass-fed cow). But there is also another theory that blending fruits and vegetables ruptures the cell walls and makes the nutrients more absorbable.  So does blending your fruits and vegetables make them more nutritious or less?

Lets answer that by understanding fibre. They are basically a cluster of many many carbohydrate compounds with similar functions in the body. Its categorization as either soluble or insoluble is too generalised.  Unlike other carbohydrates like sugars and starches, our body cannot dissolve the bonds between the individual carbohydrates in fiber, so they don’t get absorbed in the digestive system. That explains the role of fiber being indigestible and practically calorie free.

Blending, however, does chop fiber into smaller pieces.  How this affects its activity in the body depends on what kind of fiber we’re talking about. Grinding up wheat bran reduces its ability to hold water, eventually causing constipation! On the contrary, oat bran soaks up more water when you reduce the particle size thus, increasing the fibre bulk. So, it’s difficult to simply say that blending destroys fiber. But we can certainly conclude that blending changes fiber in foods and its effect in the body. Here are some tips to make the most of the fibre in your food:

  • Blending vegetables releases few nutrients from the plant walls. Although I believe cells would be far too tiny to be affected by a blender. They are certainly destroyed by heat more than the blade of the grinder. Just remember, avoid straining the juice. Even if tiny you’ll be able to save the fibre from the food.
  • Seeds are high in fiber, so either chew it up really well or coarsely grind it. They appear to be slightly more effective than finely ground seeds…so don’t overdo it.
  • Eat more fruits and drink less of it. Unfortunately, fruits in a blender make the fruit sugar more readily available. Thus increasing the carbohydrate load in the body. I wouldn’t suggest liquefying all of the fruits. Eating solid fruits will definitely provide you with more satiety and better blood sugar control.

Blending or juicing foods can either make certain nutrients more absorbable or decrease the effectiveness of some fibers. Unfortunately, there is no evident conclusion of nutritional advantages on blending or eating fibre. The timing of consumption is also very critical to get the specific use out of it. For instance, if wanting to lose weight, a fruit juice anytime of the day is a direct sugar spike resulting the very healthy fruit to get converted to stored fat. Whereas, for a sportsperson, fruit juice post a training session helps in muscle glycogen restoration and rehydration.

Honestly, I think whether you enjoy fruit juices or smoothies or vegetable juices, feel free to include them in rotation keeping your timing and personal health goal in mind. Eventually, they all are a good source of nutrition!

Bottomline, for best results, be moderate, steer away from the debate, stay conventional, load up the salad plate, eat whole fruits and if you love your fruit juices, a glass a day will not be detrimental.

Stay Healthy!

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