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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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Well, I would say that there are a number of factors.

It is diluted, so equal volumes would contain less "sugars" than a regular green smoothie.
Colleen says to sip it, so you are extending the "sugar" load over a much longer period of time, than gulping down a smoothie.
The lemon boosts the flavor with only a very small amount of fructose, while adding Vitamin C and bioflavinoids and alkaline minerals to list only a few of its' benefits.
The two greens are two that have especially large amounts of fiber, and don't add tastes that you need to cover up with a LOT of fruit. All that fiber has a number of reasons that it would help out with the sugar load!!!
Ginger has a truckload of health benefits plus tasting good, is anti-inflammatory, and aids in digestion perhaps being helpful here, I don't know for sure.
Apples for taste and nutrition, certainly, but juicing them would "up the sugar load", since the fiber is removed for the most part...

I have not looked up any nutritional info on these foods, but I do not think that there is enough fat in this to slow down the uptake of the sugar load.

So, I would also reckon that for many people this WOULD be a great drink. I think it would be like many other things, try it and see - use a trial and error approach. For those who are super sensitive to carbohydrates, it just might still be too much of a sugar load. So, biochemical individuality rears its' head once again. If it works for a person it sounds great!

BTW, Victoria Boutenko, has recently admitted to not being totally raw anymore. So maybe with her dietary changes there are a number of things going on with her, I have no idea. I am sure we all wish her well though.
She's also going through a divorce.
I had heard that about them getting a divorce, then heard that it was not true... It sounds like you do know it is true. How sad...

Back on topic, I would like to hear how other people respond physically to drinking this diluted green smoothie beverage.
Some practices are medicinal in nature, others are more general. Chewing our drinks is more medicinal. Day-to-day it is fairly non-intuitive to both the physiological and phsychological make up of our bodies. When considering all truth, again the point of this article is to know where to use that truth and where not to use it.

For example, Brigham Young taught that if we want to better understand our natures and the nature of God's Kingdom we should study the habits of animals. This has been easy for me to do because I was raised on a farm. In addition to being a true lover of animals, I had the good fortune to be able to make a home for many. Animals always chew their food and drink their drinks. Their physiology is designed to get them to do exactly that, just as an infant's body is designed to get them to drink their mother's milk naturally. Although chewing our drinks is a helpful medicinal practice, I do not believe it is a practice that we were designed to do always; if it were, our physiology would be entirely different.

The entire digestive experience with food includes anticipation, sight, smell, the texture of food, and is stimulated further by savoring, and slowly chewing of our food. Think of a cow standing in the pasture slowly chewing her cud; she is not in a race; rather, she is producing digestive enzymes at about the same pace at which she chews her cud--nature's way. When we or animals drink, fluids cause us to swallow spontaneously, unless we force ourselves to do otherwise.

The glycemic index science is built around three factors, the index itself, the glycemic load, and the intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Smoothie making introduces an extreme extrincsic factor that introduces sugar into the blood at a super-accelerated rate. You mentioned that all we did was add water. That's not all we did; we cut the carb load in half; we created a 64 oz of drink instead of a 32 oz drink; that can be enjoyed throughout the day 8 oz at a time. Each glassful has a low carb load and combined with the water insures wonderful hydration. Proper hydration is a primary cure for obesity because it overcomes false hunger that is triggered by thirst. While the diabetic could also chew this drink, he or she can simply drink and savor each glass, according to the natural physiology of the body, and without introducing high carb loads too fast. And, in response to your point, the diabetic will certainly benefit if he or she also remembers to chew this drink as a home medicinal remedy.

It's a fun topic and I love the many contributions to this topic. Mostly I hope in all our sharing we can remember one thing. As we consider all truths, we need to ground ourselves to the best use of each truth for our own personal circumstances, avoiding the "One Size Fits All" mentality, and at the same time, reign ourselves in sufficiently to never go beyond the mark with any truth. That's a mark each of us must come to on our own and I respect and admire the inspiration that you and others use to attain the blessings of health that you enjoy.

Again, this topic was added to encourage a culture on this site that fosters personal thought and personal responsibility. Following like sheep is only wonderful if the true voice we follow is the Master's voice when it comes to the application of any truth in our personal lives. Thank You!
Yea, I got it. I was just simply relaying my thoughts, not thoughts of anyone else, of course, because I am not in their mind nor do I know them or their health issues or how many drugs they are on, or if they drink the nasty aspartame filled drinks. All these play a huge role in your health. I also have diabetes's on all sides of the family and have been told I was diabetic. Most smoothies should consist of lots of greens, and very little fruit and all berries are very low glycemic. The greens don't taste too yummy without a bit of added fruit to them, sorry to say, but my taste buds have adapted to that over time. I have seen folks make a miraculous recovery with diabetes's, simply with a big diet change. That's really what it's all about, what we put in our mouth. As I stated before, a juvenile diabetic is entirely different as they have a pancreas that doesn't work. They have to really be diligent with what they eat, drink, or whatever, and yet they can still struggle, but I also know one who's the picture of health, simply because she eats healthy, and works out, drinks lots of water. These are probably things we should all be doing on a daily basis, not just diabetics though. To smoothie or not to smoothie, that is the question. : - ) I choose to drink them, as I have seen miracles in my health from doing so. But if others don't think they can handle them, that has to be their choice, right?
Absolutely Sue!

Thank you for getting the ball rolling with this discussion; it will help many diabetics, like those from my weight-loss class who choose to drink smoothies, to be more aware of how to maintain safe blood sugar levels while using smoothies. Also thanks for mentioning berries. The are most friendly of the fruits to our blood sugar levels. Also, included among the top 30 most nutrient-dense foods are strawberries, pomegranate juice, blackberries, plums, raspberries, blueberries, papaya, and oranges.

We enjoy whole fruit and smoothies in our home almost daily. This topic will hopefully give diabetics plenty of ideas that can enable them to keep their blood sugars dialed to safe levels. Again, thanks for helping to get the ball rolling in a manner that has stimulated a helpful and pertinent discussion.
I was wondering if adding flax seeds to smoothies if this would reduce the spike in sugar.
Wow! I can't believe that you both 'whipped' this video up today. It actually brought tears to my eyes because I could sense that you really care. I was really overwhelmed and not ready to even try to change because of my frustration, but after seeing the effort you went to on my behalf, how can I not put forth effort on my own behalf. I am ready to try again. I will now take more time to watch the videos, and read more carefully the sections of the book you outlined. I just went and bought two more copies of your book because I keep giving them away and don't have one myself. I've learned my lesson and bought an extra one this time.
Your sweet gift of yourselves to me and others has helped me more than I can say.
I hope you have a wonderful anniversary and may God bless your inspired efforts.
A similar question was posted about adding other seeds or nuts. Of course if we have 20 volunteer diabetics to test this theory on, we would be able to see quite quickly what kind of difference it would make. However, based upon what I have seen already with diabetics, the issue comes down to how thoroughly blended the combination of foods become. Perfectly blended foods absorb so much more quickly. The real issue is, how quickly do the sugars in the smoothie fully enter the bloodstream. If whole fruit requires two to three hours and blended fruit requires just 15 to 20 minutes or so, the sugar load is all in there far too quickly for a diabtetic to process in a safe manner. I believe a similar problem would occur, even with the flax or other nuts and seeds being blended up with the fruit. Again, I've not tested this personally; it only stands to reason. Once any food is broken down as completely as occurs with a blender, that food has many many times the surface area that it had before being broken down. It completely coats the villi where absorption takes place. Perhaps we can do a more thorough test of this in the near future with diabetic volunteers.
Thank you Mindy for sharing your thoughts. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, especially when in the midst of critical change we begin to get confused. We wish we could do more; I am going to share your comments with Colleen, who truly sacrifices a great deal each time she prepares to allow me to film these videos. It will mean a great deal to her to know it has made a difference to you personally. And thank you for sharing the book with others.

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