Smoothies are a great way to give your digestion a break! I mean that is what every health guru says, but from my own experience, it made my SIBO worse. If you are healing from SIBO, I highly recommend putting the blender away for a bit.
I do want to disclose that smoothies are a great option for breakfast. If your gut is working properly and you have no gut dysbiosis, keep making those smoothies! However, if you are healing from leaky gut, SIBO, candida, and so on, smoothies may be harming you. I highly recommend getting tested to ensure you get the proper supplements and protocols.
Anyways, I was doing this course all about mistakes people make when going paleo. To my surprise, smoothies were on there. After learning more about why smoothies can actually cause more issues, it all made sense.
From an ancestral point of view, they didn’t eat an excessive amount of fruit. They definitely ate some when foraging, but not as a main meal. A lot of smoothies can be full of high glycemic fruits, dates, juices, and dairy. This can trigger blood sugar spikes, disrupt your hunger signals, trigger inflammation, and cause GI distress (i.e. bloating, gas, etc).
Smoothies Can trigger sibo symptoms
For those of you who don’t know what SIBO is, it is small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Which means that there is bacteria growing in the small intestines that shouldn’t be there. Some symptoms of SIBO are:
What smoothies can do is trigger these symptoms. This is very similar to those who have IBS, Candida, and other gastrointestinal disorders. Due to the high amount of sugar and fiber, the yeast (in Candida) and the bacteria (in SIBO) are having a feast.
This can prevent you from healing as the bacteria isn’t being eliminated. However, depending on your severity, this can be beneficial for the kill phase. The reason is it will cause the bacteria to come out, in which the anti-microbial or antibiotics can kill them.
smoothies skip the first step of digestion
Not only can smoothies feed your SIBO, but it skips an important piece of your digestion. A lot of people believe that digestion starts once the food enters our stomach. However, digestion begins in our mouth.
Once we begin chewing our food, our body releases amylase, which is an enzyme to break down carbohydrates. With the addition of saliva, it helps to turn out food into mush. Ideally, we all should be chewing 30-40 times per bite.
But, with smoothies, a lot of individuals chug them, in which our digestion is not primed for the incoming nutrients. This can also cause low stomach acid as the stomach doesn’t produce it due to the delay release of amylase. Therefore, I recommend everyone let the smoothie sit in their mouth and chew to stimulate your digestive juices.
A great tip is to add something like nuts, cacao nibs, or something crunchy so you are forced to chew your food.
smoothies can create an environment for SIBO to grow
This one shocked me when I was going through the course, but due to how cold smoothies creates the perfect environment for bacteria. This makes sense as when we have a fever, our body is trying to remove the bacteria through heat. Therefore, when we have a smoothie, the bacteria are able to grow as it has the environment to.
This is mainly a concern for those with IBS or SIBO as there is already a bacterial issue. I would also avoid smoothies during the healing phase of SIBO. The reason is the digestive tract is very vulnerable and the goal is to build your gut flora not hinder it.
smoothies can be high fodmap bombs
A lot of the ingredients in smoothies are often high fodmaps unfortunately. Fruits such as bananas, apples, berries, avocados, and coconut are high fodmap foods after a specific measurement. The same can be said for vegetables like cauliflower, zucchini, and sweet potato. These fruits and vegetables are common in smoothies as they add sweetness, but also make them thick like ice cream.
However, this can cause severe digestive issues due to the high amount of single-chain carbohydrates. The small intestines already struggle to digest these, but with the issue of bacterial overgrowths, it causes more issues. Does this mean you can never have them again? Absolutely not as after the healing phase, it is important to reintroduce as much as you can.
smoothies are loaded up with raw foods
Even though the fruits and vegetables are frozen, they are still raw. If you steam your vegetables then freeze them, it makes them easier to digest. However, you still run into the issue of either them being high fodmap and the cold temp.
Between SIBO and IBS, raw foods are significantly harder to digest. Our bodies are actually able to absorb more nutrients when the food is cooked. This is also very individualized as some can tolerate certain foods raw and other ones have to be cooked.
But when healing from SIBO, I would stick to warm meals to make it easier on your body to digest.
The biggest thing is that I don’t want you to be scared of smoothies. I am not trying to trigger any sort of food fear! The purpose of this blog post is to educate you on what may be triggering symptoms or preventing you from healing.
Some great meal ideas instead of smoothies are soup, gluten-free oatmeal (if you consume grains), casseroles, or leftovers that are easy to reheat.
Thank you so much for reading and I would love it for you to share this with anyone struggling with digestive issues!