When I add fruit to the smoothie recipes I create, it counts SmartPoints® values for it. I thought fruit was zero!
Most fruits and 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.¹ When you drink something, it eliminates the act of chewing which may impact the signals between the belly and brain.² This means that the smoothie or juice you’re drinking will not promote the same amount of fullness between meals as eating the fruit might.
Take a look at the diagram below. It’ll take some time to eat all of the fruit on the left-hand side and afterwards, you’ll probably feel like you ate a full meal. But this smoothie will be gone in a few sips. The result: you may get hungry sooner and be more likely to eat more later.
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So, what’s the bottom line? If it’s something you’ll drink, like a juice or fruit smoothie, the nutritional data for fruit counts towards the total SmartPoints value. If it’s something you’ll eat, like a salsa, sauce, stew or soup, most fresh fruits and vegetables have a 0 SmartPoints value.
Are there other situations when I need to count the SmartPoints values for fruit or vegetables?
The SmartPoints plan encourages you to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet. Studies have shown that about 70% of Brits do not eat enough fruits and vegetables.³ That’s why most fruits and vegetables are ZeroPoint foods, whether they're fresh, unsweetened, frozen or canned in their own juice and drained.
When a fruit has added sugar, such as fruit in syrup or its own juice, or when there’s less water content (as with dried fruit) the SmartPoints values will count.
Can I eat too much fruit?
Fruits and vegetables aren’t calorie-free just because most of them are ZeroPoint foods. We encourage you to eat fruits and vegetables because they are nutritious, satisfying and tasty.
If you’re eating more fruits and vegetables than you used to, and you’re using them for healthy snacks, to bulk up your meals, or as a tide-me-over when you’re down to the last few SmartPoints values for the day or week, then great!
If you’re overeating fruit because it’s “free,” you might want to pull back a bit. In a nutshell, let your hunger, and your weight loss, be your guide.
NOW READ: How to tell if you're actually hungry
¹Cassady BA, Considine RV, Mattes RD. Beverage consumption, appetite, and energy intake: what did you expect? Am J Clin Nutr 2012;95:587-93.
²Migquel-Kergoat S, Axais-Braesco V, Burton-Freeman B, Hetherington MM. Effects of chewing on appetite, food intake and gut hormones: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Physiol Behav 2015;151:88-96.
³Public Health England, (2014). National Diet and Nutrition Survey: results from Years 1 to 4 (combined) of the rolling programme for 2008 and 2009 to 2011 and 2012. National Diet and Nutrition Survey:. [online] Public Health England, p.10.