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This article has been written to help establish a culture on this website that more fully enables each member to seek and find relevant health truth in their lives. Sometimes popularized ideas are not good for everyone, yet are great for others. As you read this article, I hope you will gain a greater desire to gather facts and how to look at those facts as they pertain to you specifically. As you consider what I say or what others say always reach for facts and learn to apply the facts to your custom circumstances. Look objectively at everything and learn to think rationally about matters that directly affect your health. Intentionally, this article uses one of today's most popularized drinks as an example to demonstrate an important point--there are reasons why this drink is so beneficial to some and actually damaging to others. We could use other examples to demonstrate the same point, but I hope this one will gain sufficient attention to be beneficial to you.

Important Glycemic Index Facts

As I contemplated writing the book Original Fast Foods, among the many topics that fascinated me during the library research and gathering phase of this endeavor were the scientific investigations regarding the glycemic index. Investigators have demonstrated that sugar in some foods absorbs more quickly than sugar in other foods. The Glycemic index ranks foods accordingly; this science has benefited many diabetics and individuals who are overweight. Consider the following tips from this science:

  1. Low glycemic food eaten with high glycemic food slows absorption of the sugars in the high glycemic foods and leads to more stable blood sugar levels.  For example, consuming a potato (high) topped with broccoli (low) and chili (low) creates a far more favorable glycemic response than say eating the potato (high) alone.
  2. Whole foods absorb more slowly and are more blood-sugar friendly than blended or milled foods. For instance a kernel of wheat eaten whole enters the bloodstream more slowly than does the same kernel ground into flour and consumed as bread. Similarly, a piece of fruit eaten whole enters the bloodstream more slowly than the same piece of fruit that is blended into a smoothie. These factors are critical considerations for diabetics and those who are seeking to lose weight.
  3. Read pages 41 to 42 in Original Fast Foods for greater time and detail given to this topic.

Diabetes and Latter-day Saints

During the past three decades, the rate of diabetes among Latter-day Saints has grown rapidly and is reported to be three times higher than the national growth-rate for diabetes. Diabetes leads to dangerously high blood sugar levels, which lead to blindness, amputations, nerve disorders, and organ disorders such as heart disease, kidney disease, and so forth. What does the research teach diabetics? It demonstrates that for the diabetic it is best to eat food whole, rather than to grind, blend, or juice it. It also demonstrates that unlike the food combining theories suggest, it is better for the diabetic to enjoy fruits, vegetables, and grains together in a single meal. This leads to rates of absorption that takes about five to six hours for a meal to fully enter the bloodstream, which is a good rate for maintaining stable blood sugars.

By comparison, if a diabetic were to drink a large smoothie for breakfast as he/she runs out the door, it would take just a fraction of the time for the meal to enter the bloodstream, leading to dangerously high blood sugar levels in diabetics. A safe alternative for diabetic smoothie lovers is to sip a smoothie slowly over five to six hours (requires great discipline). Even though each sip is going to enter the bloodstream quickly, the carbohydrate load in any one sip is small and the overall effect is better. A far better approach is to simply eat the food whole, so that its digestive requirement is what nature intended, rather than super accelerated. Again, the diabetic or overweight individual cannot handle blood sugars as easily one who doesn't suffer from blood-sugar related issues, who can enjoy smoothies much more freely.

Practical Story

According to glycemic research, if you add greens to a fruit smoothie it will slow down the rate of absorption of the fruit sugars, because the greens are so low in sugars they don't even show up on the glycemic index. Last summer I taught a weight-loss class and learned a valuable lesson. We learned that when you blend everything together into a smoothie the food is broken down so thoroughly that it enters the bloodstream very rapidly, even though you are combining high and low glycemic foods together. In our work with weight-loss clients, we have often seen blood-sugar levels rise to 600 mg/dl after drinking a fruited smoothie--with or without leafy greens added. This is dangerously high.

The glycemic research that suggest combining high and low glycemic foods will slow absorption rates did not hold true at all for diabetics who were losing weight and who were blending high and low glycemic foods together into drinks. We learned that the more you pulverize your foods, the faster it absorbs and the total carb load of the drink absorbs far too quickly for most diabetics and overweight peole. We learned that popular and much written about green smoothie causes blood sugar levels to rise dangerously high for diabetics. Who would have thought this to be the case, considering the popular literature.

After learning this fact first hand, I suggested the following to my class: If diabetics are going to blend whole fruits and vegetables into a smoothie or juice them for a drink, they should then sip the smoothie or drink slowly over a five to six hour period and should not guzzle it or drink it quickly. Why five to six hours? Because that is the time it would take the combination of foods to completely digest if it were eaten whole and natural.

Quite frankly, if I were a diabetic, I would rather eat my fruits and vegetables whole than force such a sipping discipline upon myself. However, taking a large green smoothie on the run was a more viable option for some of my weight-loss friends. They loved sipping them slowly from early morning until 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. They could do this without creating abnormally and dangerously high blood sugar levels and they never felt hungry.

Are smoothies, carrot juice, and other whole food juices bad? Many people can enjoy the great health benefits of these drinks without experiencing dangerous spikes in blood sugar levels. If you are concerned, this is easily monitored and your doctor can set you up quickly to be able to monitor your blood sugar levels. For the non diabetic and for most people who are not too overweight, they can drink all such drinks more quickly (I prefer sipping and savoring over guzzling) without causing dangerous blood sugar spikes. However, allow me to offer the following caution. Scientists have estimated that over 90 percent of American's today are insulin resistant. No one who is insulin resistant should be drinking extracted juices and blended smoothies until they correct their problem. This correction is accomplished best through a low-fat, vegan diet of whole foods. It can take anywhere from eight weeks to two years to fully correct the Metabolic Syndrome, which includes insulin resistance. Therefore, taking aim on a low-fat, whole-foods vegan diet is the only sure approach to re-establishing homeostasis in the body.


Why Share this Information?

Many fads and new dietary trends come and then go when it comes to the way we eat. Some of these fads produce a lot of good and become propagated fairly quickly through anecdotal testimonies. When it comes to new and popular dietary trends, the best caution I’ve heard was given by the insightful and ever-pragmatic colonizer, Brigham Young. He advised, “One person’s medicine is sometimes another person’s poison.” Just because something is good for you, does not mean it is good for everyone and he advised of the importance of understanding mitigating circumstances that cause one person's medicine to be another person's poison.

Too often when one person greatly benefits from a particular dietary regimen, we are too quick to assume it must be good for everyone. One of my favorite all-time meals is a simple green smoothie. I can enjoy it without any elevations in blood sugar levels. It is a wonderful option for my children and for many people I know; however, it is a dangerous option for others I know, because their bodies simply cannot process the sugars as quickly as needed when they consume their food in a smoothie. When a diabetics blood sugar levels remain too high over time, it causes damage to specific cells in their body. Most of their 30 trillion cells are fine. These are the ones that require insulin to enable sugar to pass through the cell wall. However certain cells in our eyes (optic nerve), and in various organs, and in nerves throughout the body can absorb sugar without insulin being present. This means when blood-sugar levels are dangerously high, these cells become overloaded with sugar to the point that irrepairble damage can occur. The blindness, amputations, and organ failures associated with diabetes are caused by high blood-sugar levels. So you see, while the smoothie may be great for you, a diabetic or anyone who is insulin resistant should view a smoothie entirely according to their unique condition.


Diabetic and Weight-loss Tips

I’ve simplified below seven of the best recommendations I know of for diabetics, for those seeking to lose weight, or for those seeking to improve their diet. Each of these tips help to maintain appropriate and stable blood sugars:

  1. Cooked and raw leafy greens and other green vegetables of all kinds can be eaten freely by diabetics and those who are overweight to better their condition considerably.
  2. Non green, non-starchy vegetables such as beets, peppers, cauliflower, raw carrots, mushrooms, onions, and tomatoes can be enjoyed similarly.
  3. Most diabetics can enjoy two or four whole fruits daily if they are consumed spread throughout the day, rather than eating them all in one sitting.
  4. Most other caloric needs should be met with any variety of beans (red, white, kidney, pinto, navy, adzuki, garbanzo, etc), as well as all varieties of lentils. All legumes, such as those just mentioned, have a tremendous stabilizing effect upon blood sugars.
  5. It is best to eat your grains whole and to limit their intake to one cup per day as you overcome poor health conditions.
  6. Overt fats such as cooking oils create a thin film around each and every blood sugar molecule in the bloodstream and disrupt insulin’s ability to move excess blood sugars out of the bloodstream. They are believed by some researchers to be the leading cause of dangerously high blood sugar levels among diabetics and the overweight population today.
  7. All sweeteners should be eliminated by the diabetic and by those seeking to lose weight.

As you enjoy the many recipes found on this website or from other good websites, consider your health condition and become personally responsible to determine what your medicine is and what is poison to you. And always remember that based upon the physiology and metabolic requirements of the body, it is always most natural to eat foods whole from the garden. When eaten in other manners, do so only for medicinal short-term purposes. The former Secretary of the United States, Ezra Taft Benson, taught that the closer we consume food in its whole and natural state, the better it will be for our bodies. Again, the popular green-smoothie example used in this article is not to demonize what is a good food for some people, but is intended cause you to think and to further enable a culture of thought on this health network that is neither faddish nor dangerous, but which helps you to always consider and be discerning regarding your unique condition.

Original Fast Foods was so named because the most healthful foods in the world are not blended, milled, or ground, they are eaten whole and chewed thoroughly, which initiates the release of enzymes in the mouth that begin the entire digestion process. There is a place for blended drinks, juiced whole foods, and even whole-food herbal supplements, but whole foods are and will always be the foundation to a healthful diet. They are the foods that were ordained for our best use and our good health and which are most ideally suited to human metabolism. Enjoy them and please share your favorite creative ways to enjoy whole foods from God's Garden!

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I have to disagree on one point about this though. You are right, we aren't really supposed to mix fruit and veggies, and in fact, most fruits should be eaten alone, especially bananas, and many more veggies than fruit. But for me, juicing every day, seeing an ND, eating whole foods, with a bit of good grains, a bit of raw cheese, and yes, legumes, etc, saved my life. I had Inflammatory breast cancer, the worst of all breast cancers, and I didn't seek Medical help, no poison chemo, no drugs, nothing! I did it all naturally! First let me clarify that God healed me, then led me on the path to keep the healing. I juice because there is no way that we can get the nutrition we need, just from eating the foods whole. We would be chewing 24/7 trying to get the amount we needed. Juicing allows me to get the extra boost over the period of the day and it's so "normal" for me now to do this, that I don't think anything about it.
If people want health improvement, they need to think PH balance. Most diseases, and even cancer, can't survive in an alkaline body, only in an acidic body. And most diabetics, unless they are juvenile diabetics, bring this disease on themselves from the food they put into their mouths. It can all be undone, if you have good guidance, such as I have had, and God on your side. He most certainly doesn't want his children sick, right?
BTW, to me, juiced veggies are whole foods! And the thing is, they are just as nutritious as other whole foods, they are simply blended up. A little note here though. When you drink the smoothies, you have to use kind of a chewing motion such as you do with food, for you to actually produce the enzymes they need to digest the food and you are right, no guzzling. : - ) I also found that adding about a 1/4 of a cup of sauerkraut to the drink before I juice it, helps me to digest, because it actually helps the body to produce hydrochloric acid which I greatly lack.
Eating whole food is great for anyone, even diabetic. We should all eat as Jesus would eat, and it wouldn't be McDonald's or Taco bell or any of that garbaged processed foods out there today that appears to be killing everyone : - )
I appreciate this article very much. My husband was very recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, and suddenly the nutritional information I have learned from OFF and this website have become more important to him than they previously were. I am so thankful that I found it all and have had time to learn so much, so I am better equipped to help him!

We haven't used smoothies much. I think perhaps if we had a Vita Mix I might have, but my blender doesn't make them all that well, with the result that we don't enjoy them. Now since reading this article, I won't be so concerned about making smoothies, since they wouldn't be all that good for my husband, anyway. Instead, we are loving salads and the wonderful salad dressings from the book!
This website does not exist to protect any particular idea. It exists to help each of us make dietary error irrelevant in our lives by building a solid foundation of truth. Ask yourself why there is no product line associated with this website. It's simple--I don't want an inventory of products that could become obsolete tomorow if I happen to do a 180 degree turn as I better align myself with truth. I'm not vested and therefore do not have to defend any errors that remain inside of me; rather, as I discover them, I can simply move toward greater truth.

This article begs you to think in a manner that can enable greater truth for each of us. I could have used so many examples; this was just a fun one to tackle with you. Who'd of thought that there is good and bad to Green Smoothies? What a fun example because most of us enjoy so many benefits from them that I was hoping it might take you by surprise and cause us to think.

Folks, LDS Health Today is a place to gather dietary and other health truths and to distribute the practical application of truth into your lives. This article speaks to the way truth seekers must think, if truth is the greatest prize to them. Truth seekers must acknowledge all good and all bad within any subject, and seek to undersand what causes the differences.

The example of Green Smoothies was used because it is an example of a topic where most people would assume that there is nothing to offer but good. In fact, there are some problems associated with green smoothies that truth seekers should seek to understand, so they can be sure to enjoy the good without experiencing the bad. It's the perfect example to help us understand the kind of thinking that enables the greatest truths to flow. All my best!
You may have missed the primary point of the article. This article encourages you to see all sides of an argument in order to gather the greatest truth into your life. It's not about you, but about the way you see your experiences and the experiences of others. For example, If ten diabetics had serious trouble with smoothies or juices, would you say, "No they didn't have trouble and I know they didn't because smoothies and juices cured me from cancer," or would you say, "that is interesting; I wonder why the same thing that helped me was so hard on them?" If you think like the latter, then you will more easily learn the truth in all things.
Okay, so I'm wondering how to do this by following your 7 rules above. I am not diagnosed with diabetes but I know that I have sugar/insulin issues. I am also overweight especially around the middle. How do I go about making the salads etc. without using any sweeteners? I've invested in a large stock of agave, but I am hearing conflicting reports about its benefits. I'm to the point where I don't know what to eat anymore and I just eat junk a lot of the time because I have gotten overwhelmed by so much information that is conflicting. The one thing I have done for myself is to make green smoothies, but I think you are right about how it affects me. I have guzzled them because I'm in a hurry. I don't think I would sip them throughout the day.
Maybe an extended fast and I wouldn't have to think about food?
First, you don't have to throw away your investment in agave; its a good food storage item. When your health suggests that you can move from a healing to a maintenance mode, a sparing use of sweeteners can be added successfully to complement dressings and so forth, although sweetners are not at all necessary to make salads enjoyable. When it comes to the mixed messages and confusion regarding sweeteners, remember this simple rule; when your body is sick (diabetic, cancer, etc), don't use them; when your body is healthy, use them sparingly or not at all. If you use them sparingly, choosing one over the other will not make any significant difference.

There are many options for salads, raw vegetables, and even cooked vegetables that require no sweeteners. For example, my family enjoys Kirkland brand Balsamic Vinegar from Costco. It's inexpensive, packed with good flavor and ideal for diabetics and for weight loss because it contains only 5 calories per tablespoon and is derived from grapes, compared to 120 to 220 calories for a typical serving of many store-bought dressings. Yesterday morning, my nineteen year old son and I dipped and ate over a pound of leafy greens together as we talked. We didn't even break up the leaves, but just rolled them, dipped and enjoyed, our prefered way of enjoying our greens. There are a lot of dressings that could have provided the same enjoyment for us. Check labels or make your own.

Whole fruits and blended fruits also tastes wonderful over leafy greens, with nothing else added. Many of our whole-food dressings contain no sweeteners at all. Again, think in terms of healing versus maintenance. Do you want to complicate the process of healing and actually feed the problem, or do you want to solve the problem by using natural whole sweetners (whole fruit) that will enter more slowly than blended fruit? Try some ripe mango, banana, and ripe strawberries over some leafy greens. Be creative and inspired. In otherwords, if you hate mangos, disregard my suggestion and use a ripened fruit of choice.

Ponder each of the seven recommendations and consider on a personal level ideas for enjoying cooked and raw dishes that employ these recommendations, and enhance your ideas by looking over recipes within the book. I will be adding some more fun videos this week. My computer totally crashed and it has taken me awhile to rebuild and get everything functioning properly, including video editing. I will be adding videos that may offer you some fun and practical ideas. However, you don't even need specific recipes once you grasp the principles. Just ask my kids; I invent new stuff daily and impose no limits on creativity, except that I am seeking to apply correct principles to my creatity.

Also, really study Health and the Laws of Holiness; recognize that you personally are at a crossroads with your health. As you renew your baptismal covenant to live the Word of Wisdom fully, and humbly ask God for His help, you will receive that help, and it will be customized to your personal needs and understanding. I've spent a great deal of time to help you and others consider some true principles and have provided several ideas. Add to those ideas, thoughts from the purest source of help you can receive. In seconds he can help you dispel confusion.
Can you clarify please.
#7 "All sweeteners should be eliminated by the diabetic and by those seeking to lose weight."
Does this include honey, cane sugar, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners?
As you can see I am looking for an acceptable sweetener.
See comment directly above your comment. Nearly all sweetners are acceptable in sparing amounts for those who are not suffering from a health crisis (diabetes, cancer, arthritis, heart disease, etc); other than whole foods, they are best left alone when suffering from a crisis of health.

For example, dates are a whole food that can be cut up and added to salads and so forth. However, if you blend a date into a million pieces with a high-power blender, the sugar in the date will absorb extremely quickly into the blood stream, leading to the imbalances spoken of in the article. The article speaks of extrinsic factors and how they change the glycemic affect, or in other words, they change the natural speed at which sugar of a food enters the bloodstream to a less healthful and accelerated pace. Anytime you significantly alter the surface area of a whole food, beyond chewing and masticating it, such as using a high-power blender to process it, the increased surface area then comes into direct contact with the villi in the small intestines and begins to absorb into the bloodstream. When the particle sizes do not have nearly so great of surface area, absorption slows to a more healthful pace, especially for diabetics. You want to chew your food well, which also releases important digestive enzymes that initiate digestion, but chewing and masticating food creates a far different overall effect than blending. Give it some thought!
Exceptions to Every Rule:
With a little creativity, once you understand a principle, you can create healthful exceptions to even diabetic rules. Colleen and I whipped together the following supportive video, just for this forum discussion to show you how to turn a potentially problematic drink for diabetics into a blood-sugar friendly drink. Watch, comment, and ask questions. Above all, keep having fun! See if you can tell us why this creative solution works, based upon the principles taught in the article above. Click on the following lnk or video:

Fruited Veggie Water

Find more videos like this on LDS Health Today
I think your article on the thread is fabulous! Well said there and in EACH of your follow-up comments. And thanks for all of the above!!! I had come to this same thought on my own just recently (about the green smoothie issue for me in particular) as I am trying to figure out what was going so very wrong with my health and weight issues!

You are incredibly right about the biochemical individuality we each have to recognize within ourselves. We each face our own challenges. One size does NOT fit all with diet as your quote from Brother Brigham says so plainly!

I think that the two presentations on this link are also fabulous!


The first one is extraordinary in explaining the reasons why Americans (and the world really) are suffering SO horribly with weight gain and the increase in diabetes. It is an audio file only. The fellow, Dr. Richard Johnson, being interviewed by Dr. Mercola, makes it all so easily understood. The second presentation on the page this links to is a video of a lecture by Dr. Lustig (I hope I have remembered his name correctly). It is also great, although parts of it are VERY technical. However, if you just stay with him, and just follow along as best you can, the payoff is SO very well worth it! The information of the two taken together is complimentary and extremely compelling!

Again, Jim and Colleen, thanks for all you do! It IS appreciated so much.
Does the addition of a fat make a difference in the way that the sugars are absorbed? I always throw some cashews, almonds, or sunflower seeds in any green smoothie I make. . I remember hearing that for folks drinking carrot juice, the addition of a small amount of fat could slow down the absorption, also?? I'm not diabetic, but I don't particularly WANT to be, either!

As for the video--other than watering it down, and drinking it slowly, I can't figure out what would make it better. Seems like blending rather than juicing the apples would also help.

Edited to add: I have noticed that the Queen of Green Smoothies, Victoria Boutenko, has put some SERIOUS weight back on the last couple of years, and I have wondered if there is an insulin resistance situation happening there, or what.
Funny title, but an interesting topic to consider. I had a terrible time with hypoglycemia, before starting green smoothies. It didn't totally go away until I eliminated animal products and ALL refined products from my diet. Your article is well thought through and should be taken into consideration. However, it does leave out a key point. If you chew your liquids, the saliva mixing with the food predigests some of the sugars, changing the chemical make-up. This is true of whole foods as well. Chewing our foods thouroughly definitely allows the body to digest them properly without skewing the blood sugar balance. Learning this truth, allowed me to leave off having blood sugar lows at all with very little food consumed. Also, green drinks made with whole fruits instead of juices leave the fiber in additionally slowing the absorption of sugars.

In our quest to care for these marvelous temples that God blessed us with, we must consider all thruths, pray about them, and adopt those that we are inspired to follow. Daniel's Challenge has been a huge blessing to me, but I also make it my own.

This is important to me, because my grandmother died in her 50s from complications of diabetes. Her autopsy showed all her internal organs decaying with a type of gangrene. She literally rotted to death, while she was alive. This is why I'm so careful about what I eat, that and seeing my other grandmother's heart on a video monitor during her angioplasty.

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