Why do fruits and vegetables 'count' in smoothies and juices?
The difference between drinking vs eating fruit
Fruit and most vegetables are ZeroPoint™ foods when you eat them. But once they become part of a smoothie, the experience of eating them changes. Research shows that liquids don’t promote the same feeling of fullness as solid foods do. When you drink something, it eliminates the act of chewing which may impact the signals between your belly and your brain. This means that the smoothie or juice you’re drinking will not promote the same feelings of fullness between meals, as eating the fruit or vegetable might.
On the left: It would take a while to eat all the ingredients on the left of the image above. Afterwards, you’d probably feel quite full, like you’ve eaten a main meal.
On the right: In a smoothie it's possible to consume the same amount of fruit in just a few sips. The result: you may feel hungry again sooner, and be more likely to eat more later, as a result.
What if the fruit is in my soup or stew?
If it’s something you’ll drink, like a juice or smoothie, the nutrition data for fruits and vegetables counts towards the total SmartPoints value of the drink. If fruit or veg are included in something you’ll eat, like a salsa, sauce, stew, or soup, fresh fruits and most vegetables are ZeroPoint foods, in those recipes.
Are smoothies good for you?
The WW program encourages you to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Statistics show that only seven per cent of Australians eat enough vegetables and only one in two eat enough fruit. Similarly, only one in three NZ women and one in five NZ men eat the recommended daily serves of fruit and vegetables.
Eating 5 serves of vegetables and 2 serves of fruit may have protective properties against major chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. They also help to keep you full for longer which helps to manage your weight. That’s why most fruits and vegetables are ZeroPoint foods, whether it's fresh, unsweetened frozen, or canned in its own juice and drained. When a fruit has added sugar, such as fruit canned in syrup or in its own juice but with extra sugar added, or when there’s less water content, as with dried fruit, the SmartPoints values count.
Can I eat too much fruit?
At WW, our nutrition guidelines encourage you to eat two serves of fruit and at least five serves of vegetables daily because they are nutritious, satisfying and tasty.
If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables than you used to, and you’re using them as snacks, to bulk up your meals, or as a tide-me-over, then great! If you’re eating more than two serves of fruit every day, purely because it’s a ZeroPoint food, you might want to pull back a little. Learn how to let your hunger guide you.